Saturday’s draw at home to Manchester United answered far more questions than may have seemed obvious to those associated with Arsenal.
Four points from two games against a United side who are currently fighting to win the Premier League title is no mean feat and shows the mass improvement made under Mikel Arteta after a torrid start to the season.
However, one aspect of the Gunners’ game stood out among many after the fixture and that was the improvement off-the-ball.
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Arsenal haven’t been the best pressing side in recent years, however, back-to-back games against Southampton and the Red Devils has shown that the Spanish coach is indoctrinating the concept of winning the ball high up the pitch in the current first-team squad. Arteta may not have got the free-flowing football down to a tee, however, he’s got his Arsenal players working incredibly hard in order to win possession back.
However, the Croydon-born youngster hasn’t been alone in his efforts off the ball with even Nicolas Pepe leaving people in disbelief with his hard work. The Ivorian made the joint-second most interceptions against the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men tracking back on numerous occasions.
I can carry on night and day about the shift in mentality by listing various players, but, I wouldn’t want to bore you. The fact of the matter is, when a coach can provide a shift in how hard players work, it’s a clue that maybe, just maybe, he’s destined to reach the top of football.