How Arteta’s Arsenal steadied ship during manager’s ‘best 10-15 days in football’ after shaky start to season – The Athletic



Behind closed doors, at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground, manager Mikel Arteta has been known to compare his team to a rowing boat: all the oarsmen must pull in the same direction, at the same time, if they are to get where they want to go.

The first season of his management, then, was about plugging a hole in a sinking vessel after arriving mid-voyage in late December. The second, one which saw considerable turnover in personnel, about streamlining his crew and chucking a few mutineers overboard.

The third, then, should be about making some good progress to safe harbour — but any sense of a serene journey through calm seas disappeared in August as each of Arsenal’s first three Premier League games ended in bruising defeat.

Since then, however, things have improved.

The tumult of those opening few weeks has been washed away by a 10-game unbeaten run in the league and Carabao Cup that has them fifth ahead of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool, and with the team looking focused and functional, that destination is perhaps coming faintly into view on the horizon.

There is, of course, a long way to go. And in fairness to Arteta, he is first to say that Arsenal “haven’t done anything”.

“We won a couple of matches,” he said after the 2-0 win at Leicester City on October 30. “We are not where we want to be still. There are a lot of things to improve. Let’s keep humble, working hard and go game-by-game.”

That humility is both admirable and appropriate. In one respect, he is right: his Arsenal haven’t achieved anything as yet.





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