Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will urge his stars to try to bounce back at the Emirates Stadium tonight (Thursday) against Dundalk in the Europa League after the disappointment of a Premier League reverse last time out.
Arteta watched on as the misfiring Gunners fell to a second-half Jamie Vardy goal in the 1-0 defeat at home in the top flight on Sunday. It was a game which saw the home side dominate the first half but fail to break down a stubborn and resolute Foxes outfit. Arsenal did appear to have broken the deadlock very early on in the proceedings but the goal was chalked off for what looked like a contentious offside decision.
And so it is that the Gunners go again tonight against the low-ranked Irish opponents. But head coach Arteta believes the visitors have “cohesion and organisation” in abundance and that they should in no way be taken lightly. The Spanish coach has even taken to picking the brains of his staff who might have intimate knowledge of the opponents given that they are from Ireland.
“We’ve got some Irish staff here and there are a lot of positive things about them. From what I’ve seen they’ve got a really determined coach that has found a really good cohesion with the team. You can see in every reaction when they are playing, how united they are. They’re very well organised, they make it really hard and they will be coming here with incredible passion.”
Arteta concedes that the visitors are indeed underdogs but that said he believes that they will run on high levels of energy and that he expects them “to be at full gas, trying to beat us”.
Meanwhile, Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi believes that the team will continue to grow in both efficiency and strength under Arteta. The German World Cup winner has seen a methodology that can only enhance the performances on the pitch.
Mustafi says he has witnessed a new, confident process being laid down by the manager and that it especially comes through during training sessions, with the planning leaving no-one in any doubts as to their particular roles in any given game play.
He said that from day one, everyone believed in what Arteta was trying to put on the pitch, how he wanted his team to play:
“I think it made it easier for every single one of us because when you know what you have to do, when you know exactly what’s going on during the game and how you have to play your part to make the team strong, it’s what helps the most.”
Mustafi came on during the Premier League defeat against Leicester when Samba ace David Luiz was forced off with an injury. And the former Everton, Sampdoria and Valencia star admitted:
“I went on the pitch and I knew exactly what I had to do, I knew exactly what the coach wants from me and this made a lot of things easier.”