That Performance was Nine Years Coming – Thank you MIkel Arteta!

Nine years coming

Arsenal 2 - 0 Man City - Match Report & Highlights



February 2011, I was truly impressed. Barcelona were peak. We were good but they were arguably the best team of all time.

I always prefer to feel my football with my heart and the last time I was so impressed was this Barcelona game.

We’ve won bigger games and won FA Cups under more pressure. The difference yesterday was that this was an opponent on fire facing an Arsenal team lower in the league, with a clearly inferior group and most importantly reliant on the one area of our game we haven’t solved since we sold the Invincibles…. being defensively solid.


When we beat Chelsea to win the Cup in a similar stellar defensive display, we weren’t being bombarded for 97 minutes. We had a better team who could keep possession to give us relief. This group has lent into the weakest area of our team and decided to value and even enjoy suffering.

The key word there is enjoy.

We had a ‘bring it on’ attitude. ‘Send in another cross’ mentality.

Chest thumping solidity!

What an incredible foundation for Arsenal to now build on!

This victory is what happens when you raise your standards.

Our players have simply improved their focus, belief and most importantly they care significantly more than they’ve done before.

More and more people are asking the same question now…. what could Mikel Arteta do with really good players?




Master, mastered by Arteta

* Mikel Arteta. No doubt.

There is no way that our collection of decent players would’ve cared anywhere near enough to enjoy that level of constant suffering without the huge impact of the coach.

I’ve seen many defensively solid teams get results against City, but they have had to ride their luck.

I didn’t feel like we were lucky at all.

Extremely well organized and disciplined. There’s a big difference.

The big tactical success was blocking the ball slid between the full back and centre back leading to the cutback. Never happened without being tracked.


Mikel Arteta will get respect from the world of football for this one performance.

The biggest change will be seen the more he has to ask his team to do more. Modern players need to be fully convinced before fully buying in.


This group look fully convinced.


* David Luiz and Granit Xhaka.

I can’t possibly believe that any my previous critique of these two is listened to if I can’t recognize the huge impact, they had a game like this.

Both are very much imperfect and seem to represent our issues clearly, but their leadership illuminated Wembley.

Both played with a seriousness that they’ve been accused of lacking in the past. Block after block. Constantly organizing and keeping others focused.

Leadership by example as well as by voice.

David-Luiz Arsenl-e1595110227286

Luiz – A Leader yesterday

* I think that Aubameyang’s personality is a huge help to his finishing.

He wouldn’t have needed to be told that he didn’t need to lace his first effort. He seems to brush it off. Two shots later, 2-0. Impressive mentality. Many forwards wouldn’t recover.

* I will be hugely disappointed if AMN leaves.

For a guy who rarely gets asked to play in his position and rarely gets to play he has yet again stepped in from the cold to shut down an elite player in a position he hasn’t played in months.

It’s also a wonder why he isn’t the starting right back. If he’s had a shaky moment or two, I’d add that Bellerin has had 3 for his 1.

If we are selling him to make money, I’d try much harder to sell elsewhere before I looked anywhere near Maitland-Niles.


Hope he is convinced to stay

* If Pepe never becomes consistent over 90 minutes, he will need a handful of big moments in each game. Yesterday, he was consistently focused defensively and had an important hand in both goals.

* This was also one of Lacazette’s best games.

His role has evolved to becoming like the first soldier over the top. He has to hurdle, dodge and avoid before he can often create for others and he did it very well.

Yet again, after wanting Arsenal to sell Xhaka, Mustafi and not bother retaining Ceballos, I’m questioning whether I’d still sell Lacazette.

* You can just smell that Tierney could go on to be an Arsenal legend.



* Simple.

The Arsenal players need to see the great value in repeat performance.

Arsenal’s board need to recognize this unique opportunity to invest, not just because we need to challenge again, but because they have a jewel in a coach.




* I learnt many years ago in my coaching career that you don’t necessarily practice how you wish to play.

It’s that you have the same attitude to practice as a game.

Teams like City and Liverpool have automatic. Much that they do is easy as they have such a high standard in practice, I’d imagine.

Arsenal give off this vibe now, but interestingly it’s in how they defend.

Who would’ve thought that this statement was possible without an overhaul and Carlos Puyol beating his chest weekly to extract this level of passion?





Dear Arsenal,


Recognize the moment you have.


The Fans.


Shout out to LivyLea McDonald who made my title better. She’s smarter than me 😊



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2 Responses to That Performance was Nine Years Coming – Thank you MIkel Arteta!

  1. allezkev July 19, 2020 at 11:28 am #

    Very good analysis, there’s always something memorable about a victory borne from adversity, so beating Bayern for the first time a few years ago at the Emirates springs to mind, arguably Ozil’s best game in an Arsenal shirt, Parma 1994, FACup final 2005, Anfield 1989, Juventus (a) 1980, I’m sure everyone has their favourites.

    We really have something special in Arteta, he has the potential to be an outstanding manager and coach and I think he is both, Emery was just a coach, Arteta is more. I hope that Josh realises what we have in Mikel and convinces Stan to maybe push the boat out in this transfer window this summer, it could be seminal if they do. The right business could accelerate our development by a year, with so many clubs desperate for funds its a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Is LivyLea now your editor?

  2. Victor Thompson July 19, 2020 at 11:40 am #

    As always Mike, accurate and concise assessment. It was a joy to watch. I don`t know if you see our “Match of the Day on BBC. They have a presenter named Alex Scott who is one of the best commentators to make a post match comment.. She was a Captain of Arsenal Ladies and she was beaming last night. Just to blow my horn a bit; she demonstrated the tactics which we used against MC. The main feature is that the whole defence moved in unison and when a player got the ball, there were two players attending, one of whom would receive his pass. I advocated that in one of my blogs some time ago when I said that when a player receives the ball there should be two players making themselves available to pass two. Alex used the description that last night the players worked in triangles all over the pitch. It is great when you see something you said ages ago actually appear as a virtue later. I`m not a coach like you but I am sure you know what it is like to see your advice bearing fruit. More of the same please Mr. Arteta. The first time since Wenger left that a manager of his intellect should produce a display like that we saw last night

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