Arsenal are getting there. Whether one feels it’s taken too long or not is a valid matter of debate but the case is that regardless of that standpoint the manager is here to stay. Mikel Arteta is going nowhere.
Any club that sticks with their boss after the insipid football on show last season and abysmal results that followed is probably going to hold on a little bit longer. Throw £150m worth of new players at the situation and hand him the keys to a manager position and that confirms it.
It would have to get extremely toxic and results would have to plummet to relegation levels for a change to be made. So, fortunately, that isn’t the case.
With it now five games unbeaten in all competitions following the 0-0 draw with Brighton last time out, it might just be time to say a corner is just about being turned. Well, we can at least start murmuring about it, as opposed to shouting it from any rooftops.
Arsenal: 3 improvements still to make under Mikel Arteta as the international break comes following win over Brighton
From day one of the Premier League season to now, there is a different team on show. From the personnel point of view that’s obvious, and having his full complement of players available has had a transformative impact on performances since.
Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City seem a world away, even if the away trip to the south coast was a timely reminder of where this team is.
But this team is far from there. For all the improvements made there are still areas of this team that will require further fine-tuning.
All of which will take time under Arteta. With each midweek spent on the training ground and not overseas is eastern Slovenia, these areas will be meticulously worked on. As the Arsenal train starts getting back on the tracks, there are a couple points to look at.
1. Bring the Goal Difference Back Up
This can be framed in a number of ways: chance creation, chance completion, in game management, team selection. You name it. This could just read ‘score more’.
There are a host of factors involved that will make Arsenal score more goals and the manager needs to be picking and choosing his battles, so to speak.
Kicking the campaign off with goal difference of -9, steps are being made to bring that closer to reasonable figure but whether it’s going for the jugular in matches the side are dominating or selecting a team that can prey on certain weaknesses, it can never be ruled out in the Premier League that positions in the table come down to who has the better goal difference.
Arteta is aware that while results are important, the performances have to merit them in order to be sustainable. A team reliant on fine margins last season can no longer hang its hat the rub of the green.
How Arsenal attack and how frequently they do so will produce goals with the calibre of forwards they have, and Arteta needs to find a way that claws back the handicap they gave themselves early doors.
There is sympathy, however, as so long as the team get into the right areas, something Arteta is improving, it’s down to them to actually kick it in the back of the net. Still, the goal tally has to rise with Brighton changing nothing.
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