Arsenal put a dominant display against a poor Everton side to beat them 5-1, but sadly proved too little too late in their bid for Champions League qualification. The Gunners knew that Norwich City had to do them a favor. Unfortunately, Tottenham took an early advantage through Dejan Kulusevski’s goal and from there on it was clear it was not going to happen with goals from Son and Kane sealing a 5-0 win.
Arsenal manager Arteta still had to come up with some tactical masterclass to deal with the low block of Everton. They dominated from the start of the game and were deservedly in front when Gabriel Martinelli scored a penalty given by VAR after a handball by Iwobi. Eddie Nketiah doubled the lead for Arsenal, poking home a flick on from a corner, but Everton got back into the game as Donny van de Beek slotted home with the last kick of the first half.
The Gunners resumed the second half like they had begun the first half and when Cedric turned home a smart finish from a corner into the net, the game was finished. Defender Gabriel Magalhaes then went on to add a fourth almost straight after, and there was time still for captain Martin Odegaard to slot home a fifth goal. The Gunners could have scored several more goals, owing to the disinterested nature of Everton’s display. Here are three things we learnt from the Arsenal vs Everton game:
1. Arsenal Have Improved A Lot From Previous Seasons
Arteta’s side fell at the final hurdle, with injuries, and perhaps, inexperience taking their toll at the crucial moment. The Gunners managed to get 69 points this season compared to the 61 points last season when they failed to get European football. This is their highest points tally since 2018/19 and the Arteta project seems to be taking shape.
Arteta has worked hard to build a connection between the team and fans and the style of play became more defined as the season progressed. Arsenal are back in Europe next season and they have achieved that feat with the youngest team in the Premier League.
The club have cut the wage bill, reduced the average age of the squad and scored more points and goals despite strikers not performing well. And with the club set to spend on centre-forwards this summer, the team will only improve further during the 2022-23 campaign.
During the post-match press conference after the Arsenal vs Everton game, Arteta said:
“I think the team tried to give back what the supporters in this stadium, the away fans are giving us all season. Which is some emotion, goals, play the way we want to play, and then yeah, we came short for a few points, and the way it happened it’s painful.”
2. Arsenal Need To Maintain Squad Depth For Both European And Premier League Football
The top-four race this season has been an inconsistent one. Chelsea, Man United, West Ham, Spurs and Arsenal themselves have dropped points throughout the season. The advantage for Arsenal was the lack of European football which gave them time to recover and play lesser number of games.
Arsenal certainly don’t have the squad depth to compete in four competitions next season and win a trophy. Injuries to Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu caused a huge drop in form against mid-table teams. Arteta has had time to work with the squad and identify the weaknesses, but they need to invest in multiple areas heavily in the transfer window to ensure all this hard work doesn’t go to waste.
3. Arteta To Receive Support From Owner Kroenke And The Board
Josh Kroenke has told manager Mikel Arteta that he will support the club in the transfer market this summer. The Kroenke’s have been criticized for failing to supply enough funds in the past, but Josh says he trusts Arteta to bring in the right players. Speaking in the Arsenal matchday programme, the American owner said:
“There have been a lot of changes in our squad in the last few years and I know the work still isn’t done”
Mikel Arteta signed a three-year contract extension with Arsenal football club. The deal keeps the Spaniard at the Emirates until the end of the 2024-25 season. Since taking over from Unai Emery, he has coached the side for 127 games and managed 72 wins and 20 draws which is impressive, considering it was a rebuild.
Arteta has used more than 25 players for his starting eleven this season. Due to injuries and suspensions, he has had to rotate the squad regularly, but he certainly has his starting eleven in mind for next season with a couple of reinforcements. The Spaniard has been talking about the need of squad depth for next season with replacements required for Elneny, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Kieran Tierney’s injury issues also pose a problem, while Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, and Bukayo Saka could also have better rotational options.
Since Arteta arrived at the club, he has sought to fix Arsenal’s mistakes in recruitment by bringing in young players. The likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard and Ben White were signed last summer and have become important players in the side. Fringe players like Ozil, Aubameyang and Bellerin have been moved out of the club.
However against the bigger sides, the lack of a strong captain and experience has cost them the Champions League spot. The Gunners have been linked with moves for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Lautaro Martinez this summer. Josh Kroenke has explained that Edu and Mikel Arteta only want to sign players who are passionate about the club. The American believes that, along with players who are elevated through the youth academy, promotes for a healthy culture at the club.
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This season has been easy for Arteta in terms of fixture congestion with the team getting ample rest due to no European football. Thus, even the injuries to big players have not affected their top-six charge. Next season, with European football under their belt, it will be a mighty challenge and they will need to invest heavily in squad depth.
After Aubameyang went to Barcelona, Lacazette was made captain for the rest of the season temporarily. With Lacazette’s departure, it is time for the Spaniard to decide his future captain for many more years to come. Saka, Ramsdale, Gabriel and Tierney are all great options for the armband.
Arteta will need to make a strong start unlike previous years. They need to get their business in the transfer window done in advance and sell unwanted players like Pepe, Cedric, Leno, Bellerin and Lacazette. They need to invest heavily on strikers and a right-back to remain competent next year.
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