Arsenal’s ‘culture’ of Arteta to examine in Liverpool showdown
Mikel Arteta was unable to provide an apology on Sunday, after Arsenal withdrew from the FA Cup with a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.
“We are out of competition and we have to apologize.”
Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record 14 times, with their last triumph coming in Arteta’s first half-season. But while they lament being on the end of a giant murder, they have the chance to bounce back after just their second third round outing in the past 26 seasons when they face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday in the first leg of a semi-final. -final of the other major England national cup competition.
Initially, the Anfield game of that EFL Cup draw was to be played in second place, but Liverpool’s coronavirus crisis, which Jurgen Klopp revealed was ultimately due to several false positives within the squad, has resulted in the postponement of the first leg at Emirates Stadium, originally set to be played on January 6.
The Gunners lost 4-0 at home to the Reds in the Premier League meeting in November, as Arteta’s men faced a tough dose of reality after a 10-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Ten more games have passed since then, with Arsenal losing four and winning six.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having been stripped of his captain’s post and ostracized before leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations, Arteta has again turned mainly to young people as he seeks to continue to develop a new “culture “to Arsenal, which occupies fourth place in the League.
Claiming some measure of revenge from Anfield might just prove that Arteta’s plan is the solution to long-term success, and four players seem crucial to that plan.
Super-sub Smith Rowe
Aubameyang’s omission for violating club rules caused unnecessary noise in December, although the results were not immediately affected. With the 32-year-old not playing since December 6, Alexandre Lacazette has become the spearhead of Arsenal’s attack, but behind him Arteta has an abundance of talent to choose from.
Emile Smith Rowe started the season brilliantly, but has only started one league game since November. That hasn’t stopped the 21-year-old from being effective, however, with three of his eight league goals this season on the bench in his recent wins against West Ham, Leeds United and Norwich City.
Smith Rowe has only played 63 league minutes since playing 70 in the December 2 loss to Manchester United, meaning he averages one goal every 21 minutes during that span. .
Asked about Smith Rowe’s playing time before the loss to Forest, which the midfielder completely missed, Arteta explained he was injured, which also means he’s uncertain for Thursday’s clash.
“The only reason that changed the dynamic was that [injury], and obviously now there are others who are doing well and performing well. It was a game-changer, but I’m very happy with him, “Arteta told reporters, adding that the competition for places can only be positive.
“That’s why we need this, we raise the standard. Every player raises the level of the player next to them, and that’s how you grow as a team, how you create a culture around the team. “
Few could say that Smith Rowe does not embrace this “culture,” with his recent hot streak on the bench reflecting a commendable demeanor.
Martin the maestro
One of the “others” Arteta was referring to will surely be Martin Odegaard, who signed definitively from Real Madrid after a brilliant loan last season. Given that the Norway international burst onto the scene at the age of 15 in 2014, becoming the youngest footballer to ever play at his country’s top level, it would be easy to forget that he just turned 23.
Only Bukayo Saka (38) has created more chances than Odegaard (34) in Arsenal squad in all competitions this season, with the midfielder surpassing that metric every 90 minutes for players with played more than twice, producing 2.1 chances on average. .
His eight direct contributions to goals rank him fifth on the team while his 18.2 conversion rate is good for a midfielder. Indeed, only the excellent Smith Rowe, who has converted 32.1% (nine goals) of his 28 attempts, can boast better among the Arsenal midfielder contingent.
Still, with Smith Rowe’s recent spell as an impact player, Odegaard started behind the striker in Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1, his eye for a pass and his knack for finding. space at the edge of the area a key facet of a smooth attack play.
This playing ability was demonstrated in Norwich’s 5-0 defeat on Boxing Day, Odegaard providing the assists for Arsenal’s first two goals and a key role in their final strike.
While Odegaard (33) had fewer hits in the opponent’s box than left-back Nuno Tavares (35) and made just 10 dribbles compared to Smith Rowe’s 23 and Saka’s 27, none Arsenal player no longer attempted passes in the opposition. half of Odegaard (523), with 80.9 percent (423) success.
Odegaard’s ability to keep Arsenal in possession with crisp, sharp passes has been crucial for the Gunners. Indeed, only center-backs Ben White (933) and Gabriel Magalhaes (822) found a teammate more often than the playmaker (703).
Wizards of the wings
Alongside Odegaard (or Smith Rowe), Saka and Gabriel Martinelli both head to Anfield in superb form. While Saka scored the opener in the 2-1 loss to City on New Years Day, Martinelli directly contributed to six goals in 18 appearances.
Martinelli’s devastating turn was demonstrated in a 4-1 loss to Leeds United last month, although the Brazilian driver missed a golden opportunity to put Arsenal back in the lead in their loss to City, cutting an open goal – if we ‘being generous, he may have been put off by the referee. Still, he should have scored.
Nonetheless, his four goals came from an xG value of 4.2, which puts him roughly in a tie based on the quality of the chances he has been given, although that contrasts with Saka.
The England winger’s seven-goal tally is just behind Smith Rowe (nine), but they have come by 4.6 xG, suggesting the 20-year-old is finishing chances that the average player does. normally should not convert.
For example, his effort swept into the corner against City was only the seventh best chance of the game, while a magnificent solo strike at Norwich (his second goal of the game) recorded an xG of just 0.03 – essentially , this translates to a three percent chance of scoring.
Saka also sets the stage for created big chances (defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player should reasonably score) with eight, three more than any of his teammates, and only Nicolas Pepe provided more assists. decisive (five to four).
Not only is Saka already a proven opportunity maker, but he now tidies them away with unerring precision.
Arsenal received a tough lesson on their last visit to Anfield, but with a home second leg to wait and with key Liverpool duo missing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, on Thursday could see Arteta’s young counter-attackers thrive, with a North London derby against Tottenham after that.
Even though this once again proves one step too far, there is no doubt that the future is bright.