After Sean Dyche’s team dug out an iconic Sean Dyche performance in his opening game for Everton against the Gunners we look back to three previous set-backs Mikel Arteta has faced over his time at Arsenal and what he did to get the perfect response.
Arsenal still hold a great position at the top of the Premier League, especially after Tottenham’s 1-0 win against Manchester City yesterday which keeps Mikel Arteta’s five points clear with 18 games left to play.
Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal (March 2022)
This is a significant performance because, at this very given time, the Gunners were excelling with a great run of form and a 3-0 loss was the last thing to expect at this point of the season, as well as this, the 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace started a series of losses against Southampton and Brighton. This game saw the Gunners come up against an old friend, Patrick Vieira. Arsenal had won five games on the bounce before the devastating loss at Selhurst Park.
In a post-match interview, Arteta explained: “We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologise to our supporters. We didn’t have the presence today or composure to dominate the situation so that is what I’m most annoyed with.”
Another setback in the game is that Kieran Tierney was announced to be side-lined for a further period due to his knee injury at the time as well as Thomas Partey also sustained an injury during the defeat, which had a knock-on effect on later fixtures.
Arsenal might have lost three games in a row, however even without Thomas Partey & Kieran Tierney, Mikel Arteta got his side back together and they went on to win the next four, including big victories against Chelsea & Manchester United.
Due to the string of results after this game and the injuries obtained during this period of time, come the Summer they recruited a few extra players which later turned into the quality side that we’re currently seeing.
Arsenal 1-2 Man City (January 2022)
A heartbreaking game all around after a late winner from Manchester City holding man Rodri. The New Year defeat wasn’t exactly happy, despite the performance Arsenal put on against the team who went on to win the Premier League last season. The reason this fixture was so revolutionary is because of the amazing tactical display the team put on this fixture. Largely outplaying Pep Guardiolas squad.
The game left the players and fans of Arsenal hard done by, which was also seen in their performances after this match-up, losing 1-0 in the FA Cup to Nottingham Forrest, losing on aggregate to Liverpool in the League Cup Semi-Finals and finally a 0-0 draw against Sean Dyches Burnley which was played three weeks later.
The headache of a game was a step in the right direction for Arteta, so despite it being a setback that followed a rough patch of form, it did show that the Gunners can put on a huge performance against arguably one of the best teams in the world.
After this painful defeat, Arsenal went the following six games unbeaten in the league & Mikel Arteta’s side showed once again that they have the character to bounce back perfectly from any type of setback.
Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal (September 2022)
One of the early matches of the current Premier League season, a game where Arsenal where undone by devastating counter-attacking play from the Red Devils. Saka drew things level and Martinelli had a goal chalked off, but other than this, Rashfords pace was just too good for Arsenal’s defence on the break.
Despite the counter-attacking play that ultimately saw Manchester United take all three points, it was another game that Arsenal showed their improvements with a dominant display at Old Trafford. They put Erik Ten Hag’s team under an immense amount of pressure and created a number of big chances, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for the gunners and Arsenal left Old Trafford empty-handed after getting caught out trying to find a second goal.
The result was Arsenal’s first defeat of the current season after a string of great results from the opening day, ultimately being an eye-opener for the Gunners due to their almost perfect start to the campaign. At this point, no one believed Arsenal could win the league, but a lot of people started to see visions of Arteta’s process and where it could lead.
What made this setback so significant is the fact that after this fixture, the Gunners went on to take 26 points out of a possible 30 after the United result, showing courage and a factor of resilience in letting the defeat at Old Trafford get to the heads of the Arsenal squad.
In conclusion, Arsenal are used to facing setbacks & have shown under Mikel Arteta that they have what it takes to bounce back straight away. They’ll need to show that again this weekend if they want be serious title contenders come the end of the season.
Arsenal face Brentford this weekend, followed by the biggest game of the season so far… Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.