The three things Mikel Arteta wanted to change when he arrived at Arsenal and what he’s achieved

Mikel Arteta has been in charge at the Emirates Stadium for almost two months.

The Ex-Gunners’ player replaced Unai Emery in the hot seat in the middle of December after Arsenal went five league games without winning, losing two and drawing three.

Arteta was a contender to take the role before the club opted for Emery in the summer of 2018, but the 37-year-old spent another 18 months learning his trade as assistant manager to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City before arriving at the Emirates.

The new head coach has taken charge of nine matches so far at Arsenal, but the Gunners still sit in 10th place in the table, 10 points adrift of Chelsea in the last Champions League position.

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During the Spaniard’s first press conference Arteta outlined three areas of the team he wanted to change.

But has he managed to make a start to achieving his goals during his short time at the club?


“The first thing is a little bit to change the energy,”  he said.

“Last week I was here with Manchester City and I was a little bit down after the game when I felt what was going on. So we have to try to engage everybody, I have to try and convince the players about what I want to do, how I want to do it, they have to start accepting a different process, a different way of thinking, and I want to get all the staff and everybody at the club with the same mindset.”

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The numbers do not lie. Arsenal are working far harder under Arteta than they did under Emery.

Per Twenty3, with Emery at the helm the Gunners completed fewer accelerations, fewer pressing actions and fewer progressive runs per 90 than they are doing under their new head coach. Most notable of all is how they press – Arteta has already established effective patterns and got buy in from his players, attempting 35.7 pressing duels per 90 compared to 27.2 previously.

Meanwhile players like Mesut Ozil are running further and faster than they ever did under Emery. Against Manchester United he ran 11.53km, more than he had in two years in an Arsenal shirt.

(Image: IAN KINGTON/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images)

If numbers do not convince then one only needs to look at the state of Arsenal players in the final 20 minutes of early games under Arteta. They were knackered, scarcely able to cover the ground to hold off their opponents but this is all about short-term pain for long-term gain.
Arteta was shocked by the fitness levels and energy displayed when he arrived at the club. He has already set about fixing it.


“We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest,” Arteta added.

“If you don’t have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live, and if you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms…