Manager Of The Week – Premier League Gameweek 9: Mikel Arteta

Manager Of The Week – Premier League Gameweek 9: Mikel Arteta

Despite the wide appreciation of Pep Guardiola’s exceptional Manchester City side, its Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal who are leading the Premier League table after 8 games. Since the start of the season, Arsenal have been arguably the best team in the league.

Of course, the best-attacking team has been Manchester City, but Arsenal are much better defensively and are more balanced. Their possession game has been excellent, and the way they slow games down and control the tempo has also been impressive.

However, one question was if they could do it against the big sides as well. Their first big test of the season was away at Old Trafford as they lost 3-1 to Eric Ten Hag’s Manchester United. To be fair, Arsenal dominated the game and had plenty of chances to score, but United’s efficiency on counter-attacks was rather telling. After that result, a lot of doubts were raised as they failed their first big test of the season.

In the second major test, it was Antonio Conte’s Spurs side who also had a flying start to this season and have been one of the best counter-attacking teams in the league, something that Arsenal have struggled against. All eyes were on the game as the fans wanted to see if Arsenal could show their quality against the big sides.

As good as Conte is when it comes to big games, Arteta absolutely nailed it this time around. Arsenal were on a different level compared to Spurs in all aspects of the game, and the intensity with which the Gunners played was too good to handle for Spurs.

Mikel Arteta’s Impact At Half-Time

Comparison of Arsenal’s statistics in the first half and the second half.

Arsenal were by far better than Spurs in the first half but gave away a cheap penalty, and out of nowhere, Spurs were back in the game. At halftime, Arsenal went into the dressing room level despite being the better side.

Of course, we don’t know what Arteta said to his players, but this chart above gives us an idea about it. Against United, Arsenal dropped points because of not being efficient, and a similar pattern was taking place against Spurs. Arteta must have been unhappy after the first half and, one way or the other must have told his players not to repeat the same mistakes.

Quite visibly, Arsenal took it up a notch after the restart and Tottenham’s counter-attacks were also mitigated. Arsenal’s possession went up to 71% in the second half compared to 59% in the first. The Gunners created 2 big chances in the second half while none in the first half.

Impressively, the interceptions also increased as they made 2 in the first half but 4 in the second, along with a considerable hike in shots with 13 in the second half and 9 in the first.

Mikel Arteta Praised His Side & Gabriel Jesus

Speaking to BT Sport, the Arsenal manager said, “From the beginning, we went for it. With amazing support, we created a great energy in the stadium and we deserved to win the game.”

“We were free, we were courageous, brave and we went for it. This is what we demand the players to do.”

“Again, Gabriel Jesus’ winning mentality, the way he trains every day, the confidence he brings to the team, he has taken us to a different level.”

“You could feel the connection with the players, the staff, and the crowd. I am so happy because it was a beautiful game, a beautiful day, and we’ve made our supporters very happy.”

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