BBC pundit Alan Shearer says the work rate of Arsenal’s players has improved dramatically since the arrival of Mikel Arteta as head coach.
The Spaniard’s style of play relies heavily on ‘counter-pressing’ in order to win the ball back from opponents as soon as possible, and Shearer has noticed a marked change in how the Gunners close down the opposition further up the pitch:
“Well, he has definitely got them working harder. We saw signs of it in the game against Chelsea. But they are actually doing it now. This is against Manchester United and just watch the intensity and aggression. The work rate, closing down, they are much higher up the pitch. Every player seems to be on the same page.”
It was certainly not in evidence during the first half against Leeds last night, but after an earful from Arteta at half time, the player’s work rate improved noticeably in the second 45 minutes to secure their passage into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
This team is still a work in progress under Arteta, and it will require more time and some personnel changes in order to get the desired results, but there is definitely good signs out on the pitch that the manager’s words are being listened to.