What does Mikel Arteta mean when he talks about “live” Arsenal games

Mikel Arteta has developed a vocabulary that can be referred to during interviews.

“Fineness” is one of his buzzwords, used when talking about players he admires.

Since the return of the Premier League, it has adopted a new style: the method Arsenal “Live” matches.

His words could be interpretable, but watching Arsenal’s progress over the past 12 months the Spaniard’s meaning is clear.

For context, he used the phrase in full when asked about his feelings on the touchline in the goalless draw against him Newcastle United on January 3.

“It’s not about where you are (in the league),” he said. “It’s about how you play the game. It’s always been me. Sometimes you get frustrated and you don’t think that’s the right connection and you live the game that way.

“We ask our players to live the game with passion and our fans to live the game with passion. This league is getting stronger, so it is the result of many things.”

It’s all about how Arsenal “live” with that intensity on the pitch, which they struggled to do last season.

a Damaging trend for Arsenal in 2021-22 He often failed to dominate matches after teams prevented them from settling down early.

Defeat 3-0 away from home to Crystal Palace April was a clear example. Arsenal were under pressure all over the field. of pressing hard on Cedric and Ben White Within minutes of kick-off to bring Alexandre Lacazette out of the game, Patrick Vieira’s side were in control.

Losing 2-0 against Newcastle United in May was even more traumatic. From the first minutes, Newcastle crashed Aaron RamsdaleDistributed and the game Arsenal never started.

In recent weeks, there has been an improvement in dealing with similarly harsh approaches by the opposition. But what is the role of “live the game”?

After the Newcastle defeat, Arteta said: “It’s how we deal with moments when we lose control, we can reset the game and move it in the direction we want and find different ways to do that.

“It comes back to that. It’s not about leading the team. It’s about understanding certain situations in the game, not continuing to put the game in that mood.”

like Premier League Leaders, Arsenal are more courageous and composed with the ball.

In the 0-0 draw against Newcastle at the Emirates earlier this monthEddie Howe’s team tried to disrupt Ramsdale distribution (again).

in the first minute, Callum Wilson And Miguel Almiron went behind William Saliba Ramsdale…

Despite a couple of Newcastle players closing in on the goalkeeper in his penalty area, Ramsdale remains calm and plays towards him. Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Zinchenko receives the ball and is also under immediate pressure.

But by going deeper, Eddie NketiahArsenal’s position helps overcome Newcastle’s pressure and control the situation.

This composure is played a little differently against spurs. Some of these moments, when Arsenal were able to “live” solidly, came from their buildup. Others came as Spurs lost the ball in Arsenal’s defensive third. But the idea is always the same: make swipes to invite pressure, then escape from it.

Here, Ramsdale, Thomas Partey Saliba tied the front hat-trick for Tottenham with sharp passes for the first time, before going to Granite Shaka (right, at the edge of the photo).

Spurs look well organized, but Xhaka is able to find Zinchenko.

While Zinchenko steps back a few yards and gets pressured Matt DohertySpurs continue to climb, leaving Xhaka with more space to receive Zinchenko’s reverse pass.

After the spurs were caught out only Peter Emil Hojberg In the defensive midfield position, there are only three more assists (Xhaka to Martin Odegaard; Odegaard to White; and white l Bukayo Saka) before Arsenal won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.

When faced with (literal) pressure, every Arsenal pass has a purpose. This is in direct contrast to Arsenal’s teams of recent years – when pressed, an element of panic will immediately set in.

There now seems to be a greater presence of mind across the field. Players know what spaces they should occupy at certain moments and how the opponent’s players will react.

Arteta’s side have been hampered by the playing styles described in the past – namely the 3-4-3 system for 2020 – but what they are doing now is a more free form, with rotations across the pitch.

Opponents don’t just hate it: they can’t live with it.

On the other hand, Arsenal have learned to “live the game” better.

(Top photo: Clive Rose via Getty Images)

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