‘Back to basics’ for Arsenal in crucial win
Mikel Arteta revealed he has got his Arsenal players doing the basics right after their win at Leicester City kept them top of the Premier League table.
An early second-half strike from Gabriel Martinelli earned the Gunners a 1-0 victory at the King Power Stadium a week on from a last-gasp win at Aston Villa.
Those six points followed the only rocky patch of Arsenal’s season to date where defeat at home to Manchester City saw them slip off the Premier League summit.
Now they are firmly in charge of their own title tilt and host Everton – who they lost to at Goodison Park earlier in the month – on Wednesday night looking to move further clear of their closest challengers.
Asked about winning twice on the road since the City defeat, Arteta replied: “It was really important because it creates more belief in the players, around the club and externally.
“But I had the belief the players could do it. It was coming back to some details and basics that get games away from us that we made much more. The last two games – especially today – we have done it much more.
“Against teams like Everton, the way we conceded the goal and some set-pieces was very avoidable.
“Sometimes the wave is created very far from the beach. Then it’s too late to avoid what is going to happen. We had to improve on those things and today we’ve done that really well.
“(We conceded) some sloppy goals with individual errors which are part of football.
Our matchwinner ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EUcR2VB3a5
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 25, 2023
“But the fact that we are not conceding goals and giving away chances is really important if you want to be constantly winning matches.”
Arteta opted to play January signing Leandro Trossard as a false-nine with Eddie Nketiah rested and the Belgium forward thought he had broken the deadlock with a fine first-half strike.
The effort was ruled out following a VAR check for a foul in the build-up but Arteta was delighted with the performance from one of his latest recruits.
“I think he was really good,” he said of Trossard’s afternoon. “He got involved in many situations that could have led to many more big chances.
“He was involved in that incredible goal that he scored that was disallowed. He was involved in the goal of Gabi with the pass that he played to him.
I had the belief the players could do it. It was coming back to some details and basics.
“He’s so good in tight spaces and small spaces with that creativity to open people up. I’m really happy we have him.”
Leicester toiled on an afternoon the hosts will want to forget in a hurry as the Foxes now sit worryingly close to the relegation zone.
“They were clearly better than us,” boss Brendan Rodgers conceded.
“They kept the ball really well. We are disappointed with the goal we gave away. We had good possession and then Martinelli breaks away and scores.
“That was the defining moment in the game. They are at the top of the league for a reason.”