Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Chelsea highlights Mikel Arteta’s impact | Football News


Mikel Arteta poses with FA Cup after Arsenal win over Chelsea

Mikel Arteta clenched his fists and punched the air. His players summoned a last burst of energy to strike their arms together. The final whistle had sounded at Wembley and with it a wave of exhilaration and relief. Arsenal’s grueling season ended with a record.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was their hero. Another winning brace to follow on from the one that took Arsenal past Manchester City in the semi-finals – “great games require great moments from great players,” Arteta said afterwards – but that’s Arteta him – even who deserves the greatest credit.

Arsenal were in a mess when they took over in December. He inherited problems in the field and many more.

But one only has to compare their performance against Chelsea on Saturday to the one they played against the same team in last year’s Europa League final to see how far he has taken them.

The Premier League table does not of course reflect this progress. Arsenal’s lowest result in a quarter century underscores the room for improvement. But they are already a different proposition under Arteta. He brought spirit and unity, structure and discipline.

It feels like something is moving and everything was there to be seen at Wembley on Saturday night. Arsenal’s header may have fallen after Christian Pulisic’s early goal. This is certainly what happened after Chelsea opened in Baku last May. But instead, they produced what Arteta later described as the “best 30 minutes” since his appointment.

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lifts FA Cup at Wembley

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lifts FA Cup at Wembley

It was an impressive response and it wasn’t the first time his Arsenal side have fought from a position of adversity.

In their previous meeting with Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge in January, they recovered a draw despite being reduced to 10 men in the middle of the first half. They showed a similar determination to see Sheffield United and Manchester City on their way to this final. In between those two games, they came from behind to beat Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

Belief has resurfaced, among supporters as well as players alike, and Arsenal’s recent record against the high opposition underscores the manager’s tactical sense. At Wembley, their improvement after his team’s speech during the first half drink break was no coincidence. It wasn’t the first time his instructions had changed the tide of a game, either.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said Saturday’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea was the proudest moment of his career

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said Saturday’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea was the proudest moment of his career

It’s already understandable why he was so beloved by Pep Guardiola, the man he foiled in the semifinals last month, and it’s also easy to see why Arsenal players lined up to congratulate him. “I think he is a manager who will be among the best in the world in the future,” said Dani Ceballos in a recent interview with Sky Sports.

Ceballos is not the only player to have benefited from the nomination of Arteta but he is certainly a good example. With the advice of his compatriot, he thrives in an unknown role at the base of the midfielder. At Wembley on Saturday he was excellent again. He looks like a much better player than he was when Arteta took over, as do many of his teammates.

Another example is Granit Xhaka, Ceballos’ midfielder partner. The Switzerland international looked to have little future at Arsenal after being removed as captain by Unai Emery in the first half of the season, but Arteta restored his confidence and good form followed. It was a similar story with Shkodran Mustafi.

Dani Ceballos kisses Mikel Arteta after the final whistle

Dani Ceballos kisses Mikel Arteta after the final whistle

Arteta persuaded performances from players others had canceled and Arsenal’s FA Cup win of the season is even more impressive considering that the options available to him are even more limited now that ‘they were not when he arrived.

There is no Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi, both frozen for being wrong about his “non-negotiable”. Even Pablo Mari, the central defender recruited to strengthen their defense in January, has been ruled out due to injury and he is not the only one to have ended up in the treatment room.

Despite all of this, Arteta has created a platform to build on. He transformed the mood around the club and inspired hope that, despite all their struggles this season, there is a bright future ahead.

Winning the FA Cup should contribute to this future.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalizes on penalty

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalizes on penalty

The financial implications of the coronavirus outbreak are such that Arsenal could hardly afford to miss European qualification. But that income is now guaranteed and that will certainly help as the transfer market approaches to strengthen the squad this summer.

It will also help them, as they will try to convince Aubameyang to sign a new deal. The 31-year-old offered no update when pressed on his future after the game, but Arteta certainly seems upbeat on that front – “I think we’re going to get a deal with him,” he said. he declared after the match – and why?

He inherited a club in crisis, a team that had lost their identity, but in the space of just eight months, and under circumstances that could hardly have been more difficult, he made them an attractive proposition again. He gave clear direction to a fan base that desperately needed it. He made sure that a long and difficult season will be remembered as a success – and maybe even as the start of something special.

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