Leandro Trossard and Jorginho help Arsenal regain momentum as Mikel Arteta goes back to basics | football news

Mikel Arteta was optimistic about Arsenal’s title chances after their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City saw their opponents roll over them at the top of the Premier League table.

The defeat was Arsenal’s third in four games in all competitions. In the space of 11 days, they dropped more points than they had in the previous six months of the season combined.

Arteta, however, dismissed any talk of loss of momentum. While many outsiders doubted his side, the manager went the other way. “I believe more than before the game,” he said.

Two weeks later, it appears that belief was justified. Arsenal could be five points clear again when they face Everton on Wednesday. But it took more than belief to put them back in that position.

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Watch highlights from Arsenal’s victory over Leicester

Focus on boxes pay off

Arteta spoke of “getting back to basics” after Arsenal followed up their 4-2 win over Aston Villa with a 1-0 win over Leicester on Saturday. “It was about going back to some details and basic principles that took games away from us,” he said.

He elaborated in his pre-match press conference for Everton’s visit. “We talked about boxes,” he said when asked about his improved form. “We’ve been much more efficient in both boxes.”

City’s game best summed up the problems as he saw them.

Arsenal performed well, for the most part, limiting Pep Guardiola’s side to the lowest possession totals (36 percent), passing accuracy (73 percent) and successful passes (219). “It’s a shame because we really had them,” Arteta said afterwards.

Bukayo Saka pictured during the 3-1 loss to Manchester City
Bukayo Saka pictured during the 3-1 loss to Manchester City

But what happens between boxes only matters if you deliver inside them.

Manchester City’s performance was a relentless display, with Kevin De Bruyne’s instinctive finish for the first goal, after a mistake by Takehiro Tomiyasu, setting the tone. Arsenal, on the other hand, lacked a clinical edge, opening City up but failing to capitalize.

The same waste can be seen in their previous games against Everton and Brentford, when they took a total of 38 shots on target and only found the net once, through Leandro Trossard.

The Belgian’s first goal in the 1-1 draw with Brentford was the Belgian’s only goal in open play in all three games.

The problem was compounded by sloppiness and lack of efficiency at the other end. Arsenal, so hard to crack at the start of the season, were suddenly missing a lot of chances, the underlying data suggesting they were lucky to only concede twice in the two games against Brentford and Everton.

In fact, against Brentford, Arsenal’s total expected goals were 2.01, making it their highest of the season up to that point. His totals against Manchester City (1.80) and Everton (1.67) were not far behind, his third and fourth highest respectively.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has played down the row between Gabriel and William Saliba following Saturday’s victory over Leicester

The response has been emphatic. Arsenal conceded two goals against Aston Villa and had to wait until stoppage time to clinch the win, but a closer look at the numbers shows the dominance they had over their opponents.

Arteta’s team conceded just 0.51 expected goals against at Villa Park. On the other hand, his chances were worth 3.28 expected goals, the highest single-game total all season.

Their attacking figures weren’t quite as impressive against Leicester, but Gabriel Martinelli seized his chance when it came along and defensively they were again much safer, their efficiency in protecting their area evident in the fact that Leicester only managed a solitary shot – and this was a speculative effort at a distance.

Trossard and Jorginho show what they are worth

The game against Leicester saw a significant change in personnel at the end of the pitch, with Eddie Nketiah dropping to the bench for the first time since his injury to Gabriel Jesus.

The 23-year-old had played every minute in 11 consecutive games in all previous competitions, but having scored seven goals in seven games initially, he failed to score in five.

A change was needed and, fortunately for Arsenal, a new option emerged in the signing of Trossard in January, whose impressive early performances convinced Arteta to use him as a false nine.

Of course, it was Martinelli who scored the decisive goal at the King Power Stadium, but the Brazilian’s role in the victory owed much to the presence of Trossard, rather than Nketiah, at number 9.

While Nketiah is a complete striker who rarely leaves the opposition box, Trossard is much more inclined to go down the flanks and specifically to the left.

Leandro Trossard played No 9 against Leicester but dropped to the left
Leandro Trossard played No 9 against Leicester but dropped to the left

That’s good news for Martinelli, who loves to cut inside and switch positions with his striker, just as he did for Saturday’s win when Trossard pulled out and fed him inside with a clever pass through Harry Souttar’s legs.

Gabriel Jesus, like Trossard, is an itinerant centre-forward whose movement to the flanks helped Martinelli thrive in the opening months of the season, but the 21-year-old proved far less effective when paired with Nketiah.

Indeed, before his goal from the end of the bench in the victory over Villa, Martinelli had not found the net in eight games in all competitions, all of them with Nketiah in the starting line-up.

Now, however, as Jesus continues his recovery from injury, Arteta knows he has another alternative in the absence of his main striker – and, crucially, it’s one that could allow Martinelli to regain the form he was showing earlier in the season.

Trossard’s £27m arrival from Brighton did nothing to quicken Arsenal fans after their unsuccessful pursuit of key target Mykhailo Mudryk, and the same could be said for the man they sought after failing to protect Moises Caicedo.

Second-half substitute Leandro Trossard celebrates his goal
Leandro Trossard scored his first Arsenal goal against Brentford

Like Trossard though, Jorginho quickly conquered any doubt and played a key role in Arsenal’s comeback, earning praise even as Arteta lost for his debut performance against Manchester City, later excelling against Villa and Leicester.

The victory over Villa, during which Jorginho’s long-range strike led to Emiliano Martinez’s crucial own goal, was particularly significant in the sense that it was the first Premier League match they had won without Thomas Partey since August.

In the past, the Ghanaian’s spells out through injury have hampered Arsenal’s progress, but Jorginho has brought depth in a vital position, his pedigree and Premier League experience allowing him to fit into the squad and fill the void.

“He’s a great player, we saw that from day one when he came here,” said Martin Odegaard after the victory over Leicester, during which Jorginho could be seen orchestrating Arsenal’s building game and helping to secure near dominance. ball total.

Jorginho has impressed since joining Arsenal from Chelsea
Jorginho has impressed since joining Arsenal from Chelsea

Indeed, in the three Premier League games that Jorginho has started, Arteta’s side have averaged 65 per cent possession, up from 58 per cent in their other games. “He brings a lot of quality, he’s very calm on the ball, he finds the right passes and dictates the game,” added Odegaard.

The Norwegian also spoke about the impact of Jorginho’s experience and winning mentality on the younger players in the team and it is also worth mentioning that, although he does not offer the same physical level as Partey, he also played an important role in defence.

In Arsenal’s last three games, Jorginho has made more tackles and interceptions combined than any other player. He is also the best in ball recoveries and possessions won in the middle third.

It remains unclear whether Partey will be available to start against Everton upon his return from injury, but it is a testament to Jorginho’s impact that he no longer looks pivotal. Like Trossard, Jorginho proved his worth, helping Arsenal put the Premier League title back on track.

Watch Arsenal vs Everton live Sky Sports’ digital platforms from 6 pm on Wednesday; kickoff 7:45 pm; free highlights available right after full time

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