Arsenal Vs Wolves: Mikel Arteta unveils a new trick

Arsenal, Mikel Arteta (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Mikel Arteta (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Arsenal produced an excellently professional performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Wolves. Mikel Arteta has unveiled a new trick as his impact continues to grow.

Mikel Arteta was meant to fix Arsenal’s tactics. Hailing from Pep Guardiola’s coaching systems, it was thought that Arteta would be stringent and detailed and demanding of the approach he implemented at the club. And while there have certainly been signs of that, Arteta has shifted gears and focused on other issues.

As his initial press conference outlined from the off, Arteta has zeroed in on the non-negotiables. Characteristics like commitment, attitude, confidence, a high work-rate, togetherness. For Arteta, he is establishing a culture and building a team. That goes far beyond systems and shapes.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Arsenal proved it in Saturday’s win over Wolves. They controlled the game in the first half, without ever truly threatening bar Bukayo Saka’s opening goal, and then they battled and scrapped in the second half, repelling growing Wolves pressure and eventually nicking a second goal late on to wrap up the victory.

In his post-match press conference, Arteta praised the win with respect to the work-rate his team showed:

"“I think the reason we can win against any team is because at the moment we are enjoying suffering together. In difficult moments, if you can enjoy doing that then you will get rewarded because we have the ability afterwards to hurt teams. At the moment, we don’t have the ability to batter teams for 95 minutes. If you are not able to do that you have to be very able to compete and be a team. A team means that the 11 who started and all of the subs really make a difference in the game.”"

There was a real spirit and drive about Arsenal’s performance, from those that started the game to those that were introduced from off the bench. Every player was fully committed, working relentlessly hard for the collective cause. This was the attitude that Arteta demanded of his squad, and he saw it with great impact.

Arteta also unveiled a new trick which allies itself with the greater effort and intensity of his team: game management. That Lucas Torreira received a booking for faking a corner kick as he wasted time late on was the type of cynical play that Arsenal have lacked in the past. Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette won fouls and chased down loose balls. Ainsley Maitland-Niles took the ball to the corner. Silly passes in deep areas were nowhere to be seen while no players burst forward in attack to leave an exposed defence.

As Arteta said in his post-match interview, the team does not have the quality to dominate opponents for a full 90 minutes, especially opponents as dangerous and well-coached as Wolves. As such, managing the game at different stages, pushing at the right moments and remaining more conservative at other moments, is vital.

Next. Arsenal Vs Wolves: 5 things we learned. dark

That is what Arsenal did on Saturday so perfectly. They managed the game, and when allied with the steel, bite, and work-rate that Arteta demands, it yields excellent results.