Arsenal put in a very smart, organized and responsible performance as they beat Liverpool at the Emirates on Wednesday evening, booking fresh three points which could be vital in their bid to secure European football for next season. It was only the third Premier League defeat the newly crowned champions have suffered all season, the second after their title was confirmed and their own performances became mostly bleak.
Nonetheless, the Gunners showed that they are capable of achieving a victory very unlike those we’re used to seeing – through good defending and making the most of the few chances presented, rather than trying to outplay an undoubtedly top team. Arsenal had no more than 32% of possession in the match, with only three shots in total, two of which hit the back of the visitors’ net.
But not all news of the evening was good.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, head coach Mikel Arteta said he is proud of how far the team have come in a short time when it comes to responsibility, energy and commitment, and he believes those are the traits where Arsenal are now equal to the best, but he also stressed a need for a bigger squad to be able to compete properly throughout a whole season in the Premier League.
Arteta pointed out that Liverpool’s recent success started coming when they made well-timed big-money signings, and he expressed concern about Arsenal’s ability to make such additions to the squad this summer and uncertainty over the size of the funds that will be at his disposal to that end this summer. In the end, he added that it will be a ‘massive job’ to take the next step and come closer to the teams currently at the top end of the table.
Given what we’ve seen from this Arsenal team since the former captain took the reigns, it seems like Arteta really knows what he’s doing and knows what he wants from his players, but the players simply haven’t been doing that with nearly enough consistency. The feeling is, he certainly should be backed in the transfer market this summer, as hard as possible. Only then would it be right to hold him accountable for the achievements over the course of the season.