Bold Arteta calls revive Arsenal hopes
- Credit: PA
At the end of another wildly unpredictable week in the Premier League, Arsenal have leapfrogged Tottenham to claim fourth spot following back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Manchester United.
After three defeats on the bounce against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton, the Gunners looked in trouble with Mikel Arteta struggling to stabilise after losing Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey to injury.
But the Arsenal manager made some bold calls against Chelsea, continuing with Eddie Nketiah and Nuno Tavares, and bringing in Mohammed Elneny and Rob Holding, and stuck with the former trio against Manchester United.
The result was two excellent wins with seven goals scored and a spot back in the Champions League places.
Nketiah has injected energy up top, pressing from the front, which saw him rewarded for his opener against Chelsea, and taking up dangerous positions in the box - a glimpse of what Arsenal will hope to see from their incoming striker next season.
Meanwhile, Elneny has provided an experienced screen for the defence in the absence of Partey, but crucially helping the shape of Arsenal’s midfield.
The past two games against Chelsea and United have crucially seen Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard return to taking up the positions they occupied during Arsenal’s strong run in February and March.
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Xhaka is able to push higher up the field on and off the ball, allowing him to progress the ball into the frontline, and make an extra man in attack, evidenced by his stunning goal against United, whilst off the ball he is able to press higher up the pitch during Arsenal’s spells of pressure.
Meanwhile with defensive protection and ball progression behind him, Odegaard has once again been pulling the strings for Arsenal this past week, dictating the tempo of the game and creating chances for the forwards.
The recent boost for Arsenal has placed the top four firmly back in their control, starting with a trip to face West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm).
The Hammers are currently engulfed by the Europa League semi-finals and are short at the back with Craig Dawson suspended, leaving Arsenal a prime opportunity to continue to build momentum.