Mikel Arteta must be brutal in order for Arsenal to improve! There were 717 passes, but only three shots were successful. Arsenal didn’t look like the squad who snatched the Premier League title from Nottingham Forest and roared into contention, but they did look like a side that knew it was all over. When it comes down to it, the nature of the performance—lackluster and devoid of any purpose or imagination—raises more issues about their character; yet, Mikel Arteta should focus this summer on adequately reinforcing the squad. Arsenal never looked like taking anything from the game after Taiwo Awoniyi’s early goal. Their main players were physically and mentally exhausted after a season in which Arteta claims he had to “squeeze everything” out of them in order to win.
His reliance on those players, particularly Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka, is owing to a lack of depth, as seen by the paucity of options on his City Ground bench. It was unlikely that Eddie Nketiah, Fabio Vieira, or Kieran Tierney would change it. When all of Arteta’s pieces were in place, his carefully assembled team appeared unstoppable. However, the team’s collapse was caused by injuries to William Saliba, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Oleksandr Zinchenko, and a ruthless plan is required to avoid a repeat. Some of those who have helped them get to this stage will have to be let go in order to create a place for recruits who can take them to the next level. In almost every case, greater depth is required.
Mikel Arteta must be brutal in order to improve Arsenal!
Arteta and the club’s decision-makers should be reminded of that fact by this performance, which comes after a period of only two victories in eight games at a vital juncture in the season. It’s common knowledge that Steve Cooper’s position as Nottingham Backwoods’ head trainer was in jeopardy at times this season. As Forest’s form deteriorated, there was much speculation regarding his job, and the club officially supported him in October and April. The club’s owner, Evangelos Marinakis, even stated on Saturday that his decision to maintain Cooper at crucial periods in the season may have been influenced by a lack of a competent option.
But, whatever the cause, Forest has profited from Cooper’s backing. The man who led the team from the lower half of the table to their much-awaited return to the Head Association last season has now confirmed a second season in the top flight. It is an accomplishment that should be recognized with a clear mind. The ability of Aston Villa to limit Liverpool at Anfield is unusual among teams. They were the first team under Jurgen Klopp to prevent Liverpool from taking a single shot in the first half at Anfield due to their defensive organization and unity.
Liverpool had only scored 0.42 goals, which would be their lowest total at Anfield in more than two years.
That is until Roberto Firmino appeared with his farewell goal. Of course, he grabbed the headlines, but Aston Villa delivered a mature and impressive performance. But should we be surprised? Unai Emery has consistently implemented this method since taking over as manager. Villa has defeated Newcastle and Manchester United, triumphed at Brighton and Chelsea, and defeated Tottenham both at home and away. Only Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool have scored more points since Emery’s debut game in charge than Aston Villa (46).
With a win over Brighton, they would also be guaranteed a place in the Europa Conference League the following season. What a fantastic job he’s doing. He’s back with a vengeance. Aleksandar Mitrovic returned from suspension as if he had never left, scoring three goals in two games. It just goes to show: Where would Fulham be now if he hadn’t been banished for eight games for hitting a referee? Mitrovic was an issue for the centre backs again when Crystal Palace visited Craven Cottage. His first goal was a straightforward penalty, but the real reason they’ve missed him is his excellent hold-up play to set up Harry Wilson for the game-winning penalty.