Four things Arteta got right as Arsenal maintain title challenge at Leicester
For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter
We have more newsletters
Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the table to five points, courtesy of a hard fought 1-0 away victory over Leicester City.
Gabriel Martinelli slotted in the winner at the start of the second half, and took a whack while doing so, to secure a vital three points for Mikel Arteta’s side. Arsenal thought they had taken a vital lead in the first half when Leandro Trossard pounced on a weak punch from Danny Ward and fired the ball into the top corner, but the eagle eyed officials on VAR saw Ben White tug at the Leicester goalkeeper’s arm in the buildup.
Mikel Arteta was even more furious moments later when Leicester defender Harry Soutar appeared to drag Bukayo Saka down to the floor when a cross was fired in. Neither VAR nor Craig Pawson deemed the challenge to be enough for a penalty. But after they took the lead through Martinelli, the League leaders got hold of the ball and produced a very professional second half performance to grab the victory. Daily Star Sport considers four things Arteta got right.
READ MORE: 'Little prankster' Marc Overmars' fart machine at Arsenal had Arsene Wenger speechless
Arteta rang the changes in his forward line for the trip to Leicester. A front three of Leandro Trossard, Eddie Nketiah, and Bukayo Saka led the Arsenal attack during their recent 4-2 away victory to Aston Villa.
However, Arteta opted for pace on the counter attack, dropping Nketiah to the bench in place of Gabriel Martinelli, and moving Trossard into the lone striker position. Nketiah score four goals in four appearances when he initially took on the role Gabriel Jesus vacated when he was injured, but he has failed to score in his last four Premier League matches.
Were it not for VAR, Arteta's decision would have been immediately vindicated by Trossard's fine strike in the first half. However, his decision was justified when the Belgian fed Martinelli in behind, allowing the Brazilian to emphatically slotted the ball into the far corner.
Do you think Arsenal will win the Premier League? Let us know in the comments section below
Finding the gap in Leicester's defence
Brendan Rodgers' sides always want to play on the front foot. Arsenal's frontline was clearly designed to make use of any green spaces that appeared behind the Leicester defence.
While the Foxes were hardly playing a high-tempo offside trap, they were not packing ten men into their own penalty area either. Instead, the Leicester backline routinely found themselves neither high nor deep.
Arsenal took advantage of this lack of decisiveness when they opened the scoring through Martinelli. Arteta has always had a clear philosophy and entertaining playing style, but he is now able to spot weakness in opposition defences and exploit them at will.
Make no mistake, when you are fighting for the Premier League title and cannot afford to drop any points, Leicester City away is a very tough game. The 2016 Premier League winners may have endured a very inconsistent campaign, but Rodgers knows how to give so-called 'Big Six' a bloody nose.
Arsenal created very little in the first half and saw a goal ruled out for a contentious foul and one huge penalty appeal waved away. Other sides could have lost their temper and their composure, yet the Gunners simply got back on the ball and played their game.
There was no franticness, panic, or fear in their attacking performance against the Foxes. There is a very long way to go, but this was an impressive display against a very difficult opponent.
Integrating Jorginho and Trossard
Of course, were it not for the injuries of Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey, Jorginho and Trossard's appearances may have come exclusively from the bench. However, Arsenal do not appear to be any weaker when their midfield and forward talismen are away from the team.
Most teams have to overhaul their game plan and formation when they are losing their most important midfielder and attacker, but Arteta the duo are not playing like second string players. Jorginho may not be as mobile and aggressive as Partey, but he is always free to receive a pass and, contrary to tired old criticisms from his days at Chelsea, he is not afraid to pass the ball forward, into the feet of the attackers.
Many thought the wheels would come off when Partey and Jesus became were consigned to the sidelines. Fortunately for the North Londoners, they can play their game when the circumstances are against them.
Ray Parlour would love to sink pints with current Arsenal 'party animal' Gabriel Jesus
Footballers who lived stunning double lives – from rally driver to billionaire entrepreneur
AFTV's Robbie Lyle planning to throw 'biggest party' if Arsenal win the league
Ex-Arsenal star Kieran Gibbs to embark on career change after MLS contract is cancelled
Arsenal 'leaked' kits for 2023/24 season show plenty of gold as they battle for title
- Arsenal FC
- Leicester City FC
- Mikel Arteta
Source: Read Full Article