It may have taken a few matches for Mikel Arteta to earn his first victory as Arsenal manager, but changes at the club are clearly evident. The Gunners essentially dominated Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. The win was the north London team’s first home Premier League win in nearly three months and arguably their best performance of the competition over the entire season.
The much-needed victory against one of their rivals was a big deal. Not only do the three points come at a desperate time for them, but Arsenal look like a completely different team with their new boss at the helm. In fact, the last time that the Gunners won by at least a 2-0 scoreline in league play was April 1st, 28 matches ago.
Following the massive match against Manchester United, defender David Luiz claimed that Arteta has brought “happiness” back into the club. “We are going to do big things in the future, but step by step,” said the defender. “Mikel Arteta is a great coach, he knows football, he was a great player. He brings things and I believe in his philosophy. I think he can improve every single player.”
“In life when you are happy the results can be totally different,” continued Luiz. “If you work with happiness and believe what you are doing it is totally different, so I’m happy with everybody. But you need to understand our season is not there, we started very badly, I have to be honest, but things can change and there are still some titles to fight [for] and improve for the team for the future.”
Arteta appears to be doing (and saying) the right things early on in his managerial career. The players seem to be impressed by the young coach and are implementing his preferred style of play on the pitch. Arsenal outplayed Manchester United, as well as Chelsea prior to the New Year, and the change in the dugout is a significant reason for this.
High energy and directness are clearly areas of improvement under Arteta. While this team looked lethargic and out of attacking ideas earlier in the campaign, the Gunners look sharp going forward in recent matches. Although the energy levels have teetered of late in the games with Arteta at the helm, the busy holiday period surely plays a major part and fitness should return when the schedule soon thins back out.
The Arsenal brass made a big gamble in selecting the inexperienced Spaniard as the club’s new head coach, but if these few games are an indication of what’s to come, the Gunners appear to be in good hands moving forward. The bright, young coach has seemingly lit a fire under the squad. Arteta has not only brought happiness back into his players, but also to the fans as well.