What Mikel Arteta has done to bring stability in Arsenal’s defence
Arsenal have long had defensive issues but former captain Laurent Koscielny led from the back with grit and determination for the past few years. Since his departure, the Gunners’ defensive crisis had intensified under then-manager Unai Emery.
Experienced campaigner David Luiz was brought in last summer but the Brazilian failed for the majority of the season, being prone to errors. And his partner Sokratis also faced difficulties throughout the campaign, while Shkodran Mustafi never made it beyond the bench.
Last season, they conceded 51 goals in 38 games, followed by 36 already so far this term. However, since the arrival of Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have put in better performances as they have lost just one league game under the former Manchester City assistant.
Though both Emery and Arteta have used a back-four, there has been a lot of difference in their performance. One significant change under the new boss is the starting point of the back-four. The backline have started in a slightly higher position whereas, under Emery, the defence line started from a much deeper position.
While starting from a higher position, there has been little space for the opponents to press the Gunners, whereas under Emery, a lot of space made the opponents press a lot and at the same time, they conceded a lot of shots.
In the 10 games under the new manager, they have kept 4 clean sheets but in Emery’s era, they managed just 2 clean sheets in 13 games. The space given by the Gunners under the former boss allowed the opponents to shoot at will but Arteta has managed to stop that by making his defence line start higher up the pitch and stop the opponent’s attack with ease.
Though they have not been at their best, the Gunners’ defence has improved and they have conceded two or more goals in a single game in only two fixtures under Arteta. Whereas, prior to the change in the management, Arsenal had conceded 2 or more goals in 8 different league fixtures.
In addition to that, Luiz now looks to have gained confidence and Mustafi has also put come back stronger, starting in 5 of the last 6 games. And the inclusion of Pablo Mari has also been a huge boost to the squad. He was brilliant in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup.