Another year without Champions League football will hurt the Gunners once the market opens, but saying: “a lot of players want to play for Arsenal still.” on July 14, the head coach stands by this statement heading into the final three games [in all competitions] of the season.
“I don’t think we should bring players that need a lot of convincing,” Arteta said after beating Manchester City.
“The feeling I get when I talk to a lot of people is that the players still want to come to the club because of the history, the way we do things, our values, the fans we have, our stadium. That’s a really attractive thing, that’s my feeling.
“That is the challenge [building on the progress made vs Liverpool and City]. The challenge is to do that for long periods in a season.
“From now we have a challenge, after a beautiful week winning against the best two teams in Europe in my opinion, how do we react? Do we back off, or do we go again and are we ready to against Aston Villa.”
Although a place in the FA Cup Final with Chelsea is a very tangible sign of the progress Arteta is making at the club, this has been littered across more minor aspects of the game that won’t show up in a trophy cabinet.
The way in which he got the side to attack with more freedom before lockdown was key to lifting the mood at the club. His man management of Granit Xhaka, for instance, was exceptional as any prior shortcomings were forgotten and he has since become one of, if not the most important player in the side.
Arteta’s major improvement, however, has been with the Gunners’ defence. Before his arrival, the backline was far too reactionary. Rather than looking assured in their performances, they always appeared rushed in their approach. Much more pro-active under Arteta’s staff, however, they have been incredibly dependable aside from slip ups at the Etihad, Amex Stadium and Stamford Bridge.
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Speaking on how he’s turned around the state of the defence so quickly, Arteta said: “Every game has a different plan. We have to be very analytical and realistic with our options, where they are and how we can make them better. The resilience we showed at the back today was enormous and the efficiency up top as well, because you need that. I am really happy with that.”
“I don’t know… A lot of talking to them, showing them images, doing individual work. And then it’s up to them, they are so willing. They want to ask questions, they want to do more and more and when that happens normally, slowly, you keep improving.
“For me it is a huge win because our obligation with this club is to fight for silverware, to be with the top teams. We have reached the final. I put that pressure on myself. To beat the best team in the country is great.”