Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp has given his thoughts on Mikel Arteta’s time in charge of the Gunners, pointing out a flaw he noticed in one of his early games that he needs to fix (Daily Mail).
Arteta was confirmed as Arsenal’s new permanent head coach just before Christmas last year, the Spaniard replacing compatriot Unai Emery after the latter was axed by the Emirates Stadium side.
At the time, Arsenal were stuck in a rut, languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table with a meagre five wins all season amid some poor results, including a draw with relegation strugglers Norwich City.
Things have since looked up for Arsenal under Arteta, and at the time of the Premier League’s suspension, were sitting ninth in the table, unbeaten in their last eight league games.
When asked by Martin Keown what he made of the former Manchester City coach’s efforts so far, Bergkamp told the Daily Mail: “I watched Arteta’s first game in charge at home (against Chelsea). In that game it was clear to see what his intentions were with the team. The front four would chase the ball and put pressure on the opponents, but the midfield stayed behind.
“There was a big hole. I don’t know if you remember the AC Milan of Arrigo Sacchi, with Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. In training, they’d have ropes between them, so the distance between the players was always similar on the pitch. That was fantastic in our team as well. There was always a connection. There were no holes.
“He’s working on it, but it needs time and maybe different players. Slowly you can see them trying to play a possession game. Everyone on the ball has three options, triangles on the pitch. It’s much better than before. But it’s a different culture which will take time. You have to put the hours in, like how we did with Arsene.”
Although Arsenal lost 2-1 to Chelsea on that day, the Gunners were impressive for much of the game – indeed, they dominated the Blues early on, and even though the pendulum soon swung the other way, they were hanging on until the latter stages, when individual errors proved their downfall.
However, with Arteta now having been in charge for just over five months, things had been coming along nicely and, with teams now back in training to see out the campaign and the close season not too far off, the improvements should keep on coming.