A Significant Win for Arteta
Martin Ødegaard scores from a free kick
San Francisco / September 19, 2021
Arsenal won 1-0 against Burnley yesterday. This was very significant for this team and Mikel Arteta. For the past many years, Arsenal did not win scrappy matches like this. I want this Arsenal team to evolve into a defensive side that wins matches 1-0 and 2-1. Arteta should look at Thomas Tuchel's strategy at Chelsea. It is possible to get to the top of the Premier League and Champions League by playing defensive football.
Mikel Arteta took a couple of risks yesterday that worked out. He picked Aaron Ramsdale over Bernd Leno. This gamble worked out. Ramsdale played top tier football. He should be the No. 1 choice goalkeeper. Arteta should still rotate in Leno, but Leno should start to explore other opportunities for regular first-team football.
Give Arteta credit for picking Takehiro Tomiyasu. He played very well. Tomiyasu should start regularly. He adapted to the Premier League very quickly.
I want to propose another thought -- Mikel Arteta should introduce more rotations into this squad. Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Tierney, Gabriel, and Odegaard played very well. Everyone else played just okay. Arteta should keep the players who are playing top tier and rotate out the players who are just okay. Rotation creates competition and that can raise the day-to-day performance.
For example, Saka looked tired. Perhaps if he is on the bench for 1-2 games, that will light a fire under him. Aubameyang has not played well consistently in the past 12+ months. Arteta should put Gabriel Marinelli or Folarin Balogun in the starting XI. The younger guys are hungry. They want to prove themselves. That can make a difference. We need hungrier players to rise in the Premier League.
Arsenal is now ranked 13 in the Premier League. If we get scrappier, I believe we can finish in the top 6. This club must get back to European football.