Arsenal’s last three opponents have hardly recalled Barcelona in its prime, but there’s no doubt Mikel Arteta will be happy to see the Gunners’ clean sheet streak hit three.
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Arsenal entered the day having blanked Burnley at Turf Moor and Newcastle United in London to run its shutout streak to 270 minutes.
Given that the Gunners allowed 28 goals in a 14-match run without a clean sheet that stretched from Oct. 21 to Dec. 21, that’s good stuff.
Here’s Arteta, via Football.London:
“I told them they have to enjoy defending. If you give the ball away you better run back. The team instead of splitting are coming together and the wide players are doing different things than before. It’s a big effort.”
Arteta seems to have a perfect storm going for him. He’s one manager removed from Arsene Wenger, somewhat clear of the looming legend but also connected to him by his status as a former player.
He’s also, of course, linked to Pep Guardiola, and there’s more than a hint of the Man City boss in Arteta’s press conferences.
Take his words on the match in Pireaus on Thursday.
“It’s tough to come to a stadium like this and come away with a win. There are some great things for our development as a team. The first 10 minutes we suffered and were completely poor.”
Soon he’s going to be saying they were “so, so good” and perhaps even rocking a bulky sweater. We doubt he’ll be shaving that jet black mane of hair any time soon, though.