Saturday reading: Arteta on defending, Beth Mead, Irish Arsenal

Morning all, let’s have a quick Saturday round-up.

Without too much focus on tomorrow, because we’ll obviously preview the game fully in Sunday’s blog, Mikel Arteta didn’t give much away about team news in his press conference yesterday. When asked about the three Gabis and Bukayo Saka, he played a straight bat, saying:

There is a chance. They haven’t trained but tomorrow we have another session so there is a chance that they can be available.

I smell some obfuscation here. Players who haven’t trained until a day before a big match are usually not available, but have they trained or is Arteta just saying they haven’t?! Perhaps more will emerge over the course of today, but we probably won’t know for sure until the teams are announced an hour before kick-off.

Elsewhere, there’s a typically excellent interview with Arteta by Nick Wright on Sky Sports. It’s well worth a read, he talks about the title race, Kai Havertz, and lots more, and I particularly enjoyed the bit about instilling a love of defending in all of his players, not just the ones in those specific positions. He says:

The key is that everybody goes 100 miles per hour for every ball. Our strikers, our wingers, our attacking midfielders, they have a love for defending.

Installing that within the players is something really important. Applauding and paying compliments to that as well, so when those defensive actions happen, they are valued as much as the attacking ones. If you want to win consistently, that door has to be shut.

If Arteta put a list of his non-negotiables on a whiteboard, I’d bet that players working hard in both directions would be pretty close to the top. The commitment to defensive work is so important. A player who doesn’t track back, or whose effort isn’t sufficient even for a split second, could easily be the difference between conceding and not, but it takes time to make that part of your team’s DNA.

Another aspect of this Arsenal side that doesn’t get…


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Publish date : 2024-03-30 08:31:09

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