Arteta's patterns for Arsenal shed light on Ole's united strategy in the battle for the top 4
LONDON: It was a game to relive the entire Arsenal season, but also to kill Ole Gunnar Solskjaer He previously believed strongly that Manchester United can finish in the top four without new signings. That has been a backstage discussion. Mikel Arteta Meanwhile, the discussion about Arsenal has already changed, and you can certainly feel that the first four are suddenly at your fingertips.
This tight is this league. So influential can any kind of career be. Arsenal can now generate momentum, because they have a clear pattern of play and movement. United doesn't have that game pattern, so it can't generate any momentum. That is already a notable difference between these sides, which could still show a difference this season, and this match offered many proofs of that. Above all, there is the hard statistic that 348 days have passed since United won three consecutive league games. That last race itself came in the middle of the initial burst of Solskjaer's confidence of six wins at work, since the only type of career has been to stop the start. Lately, this has been linked, both in results and at stake: occasional explosions of exciting rhythm, usually by Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial, amid much lethargy.
The fact that they have given Arsenal a first home victory in 87 days and only a second victory in 15 is completely indicative of what modern United is, especially in recent months: they broke records incorrectly. But this was obviously not only due to United, nor was it totally endowed with a lazy and complacent display. Arsenal took what was offered, and much of that was reduced to Arteta.
It's early, yes, but you can already see an initial effect. There was a sharpness in Arsenal, and a clear pattern of passes that sought to play through United and reward them. This is precisely what United lacks. There is much more to this than the absence of a pin like Paul Pogba or Mesut Ozil.
Very often it seems that Solskjaer has a reactive way of playing and if that is rumbling, or just doesn't work in the first place, it has little else. This was sadly summed up in the fact that this was another game in which he refused to make key changes in the break, just like in Watford.
Of course, it is completely fair to say that Solskjaer doesn't have much on the bench and that Pogba's problem has left him dry and high. But the only reason why this is relevant is because of the great need to make signatures this January. United is asking for extra individual creativity, especially in the midfield attack. That is why one of the goals like Christian Eriksen, James Maddison or Jack Grealish is a must. The absence of such a player, or Pogba, does not excuse the absence of any type of proactive attack game. United simply doesn't seem to know how to build a coordinated attack, which gradually pulls an opposition out of place through the pass and imagination to hurt them. If they can't play fast and straight, they can't do much. That is why it is unfair to blame a midfielder so much that he has been as unimaginative as Lingard for so long. He is somehow a victim of the system.
None of this is the case with the Arsenal of Arteta. Immediately there was a feeling that the side is learning these patterns and trying to execute them. They created a lot of opportunities at the beginning of the game, often cheating on United and pressing David de Gea, who was out of shape.
Arsenal inevitably dropped, and it seems to be a feature of the first months of Arteta, because it is not yet a squad physically conditioned to this type of modern game. Spring may well bring a bad run and some injuries. However, that should be something to keep in mind, and it is worth keeping the faith.
It implies a sharpness and alertness that has just been lacking in Arsenal, and since the time of Arsene Wenger. Mesut Ozil chasing 88 minutes is a clear sign of this. Arteta was getting more out of his most imaginative player, as he made sure that the rest of the team offered more imagination.
Solskjaer insisted after the game that we will recover again, but that is the problem. They do not have a game idea that gives them a sophisticated movement or adequate momentum. However, Arsenal can finally have something like that. It was a difference at night, and I could still make a difference even this season.