Mikel Arteta discovers unlikely solution for Arsenal project that shows promise


Mikel Arteta is leading Arsenal to six consecutive Premier League wins without a loss. His side is showing significant improvement over last year.

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Pictures: Arsenal v Aston Villa

Arsenal’s last season was plagued by an excessive reliance on individual talent rather than a united team effort.

Bukayo Saka, Emile Rowe, and Kieran Terney were some of those who took on this burden when the Gunners finished eighth in the Premier League.

Tierney’s demands were particularly concerning as Tierney had to fulfill his defensive duties and be a key creative outlet for his side.

Full-backs are of course more important in attacking build-up these days, but the likes Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo, Andy Robertson, Andy Robertson, Reece James thrive on the front foot due to their strong midfield platform.

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Arsenal didn’t have such a strong base last year, and Tierney’s reliance on him as a key offensive and defensive player was quite stark when he was forced to retire from the team with groin injuries.

Cedric Soanes had difficulty deputising on the left side of defence while senior players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette suffered sub-par seasons.

Mikel Arteta’s team has shown signs of improvement since early September. They have also emphasized the importance of togetherness.

Arsenal have won four of their six top-flight matches, despite losing their first three games.

Arteta always had an option available, ready to grab the chance when injuries struck the Emirates.

Following Granit’s knee injury, Albert Sambi Lokonga moved into midfield. Nuno Tavares was then on the line when Arteta broke some shocking news about Tierney.

The Spaniard said he now knows how long the ex-Celtic star will be out of action due to bruising at his ankle.

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This update would have made Arsenal fans anxious last season. Many supporters were also likely worried about Aston Villa’s fine attack and the possibility of Nuno Takares, a Premier League full debutant, facing them.

The Portuguese arrived from Benfica for a modest sum of £8million in July and he remained a relatively unknown factor after four substitute appearances in the top flight.

Tavares, however, proved why Arteta was following him this summer. He displayed a dynamic left-back display as Arsenal won convincingly 3-1.

Arsenal finally have a Tierney-quality back-up, according to the 21-year-old’s performance. It also speaks volumes about their recent progress as a team.

Thomas Partey and Lokonga’s dynamic midfield partnership gave Tavares freedom to move forward. He even came very close to scoring.

Arteta will expect more from Arsenal as they take on Leeds United on Tuesday, with a place in the Carabao Cup quarterfinals at stake.

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