Back in the early 2000s, Arsenal fans raved about the vision and slick one-touch football and how they executed exquisite counter-attacks, which usually resulted in a Henry goal. For brief patches in the last five years of Wenger’s reign, Arsenal offered glimpses of that type of quality but it was unsustainable, undermined by a desperately incompetent defence and gradually, the type of football that defined the Gunners deserted them.
Under Unai Emery, the main objective appeared to be to play out from the back, which in fairness, Wenger’s teams did instinctively, but once it became an obsession, it looked impossible to achieve, mainly because the majority of the Spaniard’s defence were strangers to the concept.
Wenger had many defensive issues that he failed to correct, but with his second-best defensive line-up of Laurent, Toure, Campbell, and Cole, he managed to install a robust core of centre-backs with a real physical presence that could play out, flanked by attack-minded wing-backs. After that period, the defence was never the same, with only Koscielny being the most memorable name from a collection of second rate alternatives.
On his appointment, Arteta inherited a defense in shambles, that shipped too many goals and which had cost Emery his job, but there are now signs that the Wenger football philosophy and vision is alive and well at Arsenal, even with defenders that perhaps, lack a little quality.
In the 14th minute of the FA Community Shield against Liverpool, Martinez began a seven pass move which saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unleash a superb strike to obtain the advantage. Liverpool’s plan was to press hard on a mismatched Arsenal defence and wait for a mistake and during the move that followed, it could have indeed ended badly but the composure and belief of the defenders was a joy to watch.
The ball was played down the right to Saka, who delivered a quality, inch-perfect cross to Aubameyang. On the menu was a counter-attack of sublime quality and from the pass, the Gabon striker took a touch, cut inside, and curled the ball into the net.
Had there been a ravenous crowd of Arsenal supporters at Wembley, this goal signified fine dining. More than that, it indicated the style that Arteta wants, the vision he has for Arsenal, which isn’t too far removed from the Wenger teams of old but before we get carried away, Arteta has missing components from his own masterpiece and they may not be available to him before the season commences.
If you compare this goal to Arsenal’s second in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, another Aubameyang masterclass, you can see how far this group of players has come on and that they have the ability to cause an upset in major games.
Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool have all fallen to Arteta’s Arsenal, how long has it been since we could say that? A long time ago, further, than I can remember, but I’ll leave that for you to research and add to the comments box.
The Arteta defence could be the most exciting since ‘The Invincibles’ line-up with Bellerin, Saliba, Maghales, Tierney, Mari, and Soares. The potential to have that robust but athletic heart in defence with the pace on the flanks is a mouth-watering prospect. We now need creative options in the middle and it’s rumoured that Ceballos is due for a second loan spell with the option to buy, which the majority of fans would be happy with.
More changes will come next summer but at present, Arsenal look less likely to get thumped and appear more difficult to beat with Arteta in charge. I’m looking forward with confidence to the season ahead and to seeing something that resembles the best ever period in my career as an Arsenal supporter.
- Time is Running Out :- Arsenal Need to Ensure Some Signatures Next Week or Not at All - 17/09/2020
- Arsenal’s Next Transfer Window Will be Even More Important Than The Current One - 17/09/2020
- Willian on fire, Elneny Comes Good and Gabriel Shines : What Arsenal’s First Match vs Fulham Has Taught us - 17/09/2020