Arsenal vice-captain Hector Bellerin has opened up on the one key change Mikel Arteta has brought into the club since his appointment.
Arteta has been at the helm at the Emirates for 18 months now. He had his high when we won the FA Cup and Community Shield in his first few months as a manager, while our performances in the league last term has to be viewed as a low.
Arsenal still trust Arteta and it looks like the Kroenkes are ready to back him this summer. The Spaniard is very highly rated by everyone who knows him, including one of the greatest managers in the history of the game in Pep Guardiola.
Some fans, however, still have their doubts on Arteta. A few even claim that Arsenal have gone backwards under the Spaniard, but Bellerin has shed light on one very important change that our boss has brought to the club.
Hector Bellerin: The one thing Mikel Arteta has changed at Arsenal
He said on The High Performance podcast last week: “I think personally at Arsenal, that’s something (emphasis on off the ball movement) that has changed a lot. I think the ethics and the way they work since Mikel has been the manager of the club has completely changed. And these behaviours – our behaviours – have been awarded by them.
“There’s more emphasis on that behaviour, so the way we run back or the way we create space for a player. Because you know you can move to receive the ball, you can move to get a player away or you can move into space. There’s so many ways you can move and sometimes a goal is created not by the player that passes the ball or by the player that scores, but by the player that actually created the space.
“And many people like the fans in the stands or even the pundits sometimes, they won’t see that. But truly that’s what we’ve practised, that’s what the coach has asked, and by the player doing that we’re able to score.
“I think even sometimes for the players it’s hard to see, when other teams do it and stuff, but we know in our dressing room and in the way we play, that we scored that goal thanks to that player.”
The Insider’s View:
Bellerin is spot on. Fans and pundits usually focus on the player who scored the goal and the one that assists him. However, a lot happens before that in Arteta’s system and that never really gets the credit it deserves.
Under Unai Emery, Arsenal suffered at times because of how little movement there was. Most of our players remained stationary during transitions, and that made it really easy for our opponents to defend.
That has completely changed at Arsenal now, but we’re far from perfect. Results aside, Arteta has truly improved us, but we still have a long way to go. A lot has to change – both on and off the pitch – before we can reach the top, but there definitely is progress.
However, at the end of the day, a manager is judged by results, and Arteta didn’t have a lot to be proud about on that front last term. That will have to change next season, but it won’t be easy, especially if our new signings don’t hit the ground running.