Mikel Arteta has been breathing better for the past few weeks. The disastrous start to the season for his team (editor’s note: 2-0 at Brentford, 0-2 against Chelsea and then 5-0 at Manchester City) is almost an old memory. Since then, Arsenal has chained six wins and two draws to return to the leading pack (5th). And if the absence of the European Cup can help the Spanish coach to put his ideas in place, this renewal is also that of several players. Elements that changed the face of the Gunners. It’s time to salute their impact before seeing more clearly in the coming weeks with trips to Liverpool and Manchester United over the next three days.
Aaron Ramsdale, the reassuring guardian
His parade against Leicester has made the rounds on social networks. But as sublime as it is, summing up Aaron Ramsdale’s performance at this stop is a bit reductive. This season, the former Sheffield United goalkeeper is changing a lot. It’s simple, Arsenal have not lost in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta fielded them for the Gunners’ goal, eight matches! Today, it is unanimous. And no one can fault the 28 million euros invested this summer to snatch him from Sheffield.
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At 23, Jordan Pickford’s lining in the England team surprises in particular by his ability to direct his surface as well as his kicking game – a key element for the philosophy desired by Mikel Arteta where building from behind is essential – . Its presence almost looks like a real revolution. Because if Bernd Leno is not a bad goalkeeper, he was not reassuring all the time. And Aaron Ramsdale’s outings exemplify everything Arsenal have needed in the post for years.
- The talking stat: Five. Like the number of clean sheets made in the Premier League since he was in the Gunners’ goal. In 8 matches …
Emile Smith Rowe, the nugget of the Academy
When Mikel Arteta makes his eleven, he must be one of the first names to lie down by the Catalan coach, if not the first. A pure product of the Arsenal academy, Emile Smith Rowe was loaned to Leipzig then Huddersfield to continue his progression. But since last December, he has become quite simply a must-have for the Gunners. Because the mid-21, shifted most often to the left side to leave the axis to Martin Ødegaard in particular, is a nugget for Arteta.
It’s simple, a lot of Arsenal’s creativity comes from their feet. And he seems to keep growing in his role to allow the Gunners to improve their attacking game. Summoned for the first time with England during this month of November to reward his start to the canon season, he has a bright future ahead of him and is having a blast in the Arteta system. Much to Arsenal’s delight.
- The talking stat : Six. He has been involved in six goals (4 goals, 2 assists) in his last six league games.
Gabriel – White, the hinge that solidifies everything
A team needs a solid foundation to shine. And any Arsenal fan could talk to you about it for hours on end, as the last few years have shown in North London. But in recent matches, hope has returned thanks to Gabriel and Benjamin White. After a first exercise upset by the Covid, the former Lille, who had missed the first three matches, is more comfortable with the language of Shakespeare according to Arteta this season, which improves his impact. On the field, he thus stands out as a key player at the height of his 23 years. « When he is there, Arsenal always looks different », summarizes on the BBC Garth Crooks, the former Tottenham striker.
At his side and after missing two of the first three matches, Benjamin White shows him that Arsenal did not necessarily do anything by putting nearly 60 million on the table to bring him from Brighton & Hove Albion, as some had suggested it to his signature. The ability to revive the English international, very comfortable with the ball at the foot, does the Gunners a lot of good. And given their youth, his association with Gabriel can become one of Arsenal’s strengths in the long run as Arteta often struggled to field a stable central hinge in the last exercise.
- The talking stat : Gabriel has not lost with Arsenal in the Premier League for 14 matches …
Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Leicester, England. (Photo b
Credit: Getty Images
Takehiro Tomiyasu, the « panic buy » which is not one
It looked like a « panic buy ». Recruited by the London club just after the end of the summer transfer period, the 23-year-old Japanese international defender left more than one in the Kingdom skeptical at his signing even though Tottenham or Everton were in the running. But since then, this relentless but discreet worker has never ceased to seduce with his fighting spirit and his invaluable contribution to the aviation sector. If he can play in the axis, Arteta only aligns him for the moment in his lane where his express adaptation has allowed him to resolve the lack of consistency of the right-back position following the decline of Hector Bellerin.
- The stat that speaks: Since his first game where he was taken out in the 62nd, Arteta does not go without a second. He has played every minute in the Premier League since.
(With Ibrahim Mustapha, in London)
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