Just two goals conceded in the past seven Premier League matches is a conversation supporters would only be having in their dreams this time last season.
How and why Arsenal are suddenly an improved defensive unit comes down to a host of reasons, starting with the manager. Having underwent a variety of stylistic transitions with how the team operates, Arteta reverted to a defensively solid setup to counter the leaky back four, one that resulted in abject attacking displays.
With new blood in the side to boost creativity in the final third, the fine balancing act that a manager has to find in this lineup is at its best since the Spaniard arrived. Of course, Saturday could easily have ended in defeat if Cavani’s curse of missing sitters against Arsenal wasn’t still weighing him down, but the Gunners are showing the closest resemblance of Arteta’s vision to date.
Besides structural composition, Leno continues to produce point-winning saves, while the faith bestowed in Holding this season is paying dividends. David Luiz deserves praise for his best performance of the season, yet so much of that is credit to Holding‘s incredible reliability in high pressure situations. William Saliba is due back in the summer, and at this rate he’ll be Holding’s back up.
Various ingredients have come together to shape this newfound solidity, structurally, personnel-wise and with the manager. All need praising.