Mikel Arteta has discussed Arsenal’s need to ‘generate defensive stability’ as the club look to put together a consistent run of results this season.
Arsenal return from the Premier League‘s inaugural winter break with a home clash against Newcastle on Sunday, the club currently on a run of four consecutive draws and having registered 13 stalemates so far this season – a record at this stage of the campaign.
Despite winning just one league fixture since his arrival as head coach in December, performances have generally improved since Arteta took charge at the Emirates, though recalling a previous visit of this weekend’s opponents to north London the Spaniard has discussed his side’s need to find balance in their play.
Arteta was involved in the Gunners’ 7-3 win over Newcastle back in 2012, and when asked at his pre-match press conference what was more important, attacking or defending, Arteta said: “It’s winning.
“Obviously, that game for the crowd is great but for the manager it’s not great because balance-wise we suffered. But I love scoring goals for sure.
“I love attacking football, but I like attacking football where you control what the opponent does to you in your own box.”
Arsenal have long been viewed as defensively vulnerable, though Arteta does not believe the club must sacrifice their forward flair in order to gain the desired solidity.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think we have to generate some defensive stability, but not by defending deep. I don’t like that.
“It’s by defending high and pressing the opponent as much as possible. But the process – together as many times as possible in the most efficient way – has to be done properly from here.
“If not, in two passes when you arrive there, that transition is impossible to control because you are too far from the opponent. So we need to do that well first to be able to generate and sustain our attacks as many times as possible during the games.”
This weekend’s clash will come too soon for new signings Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari, the defensive duo not yet ready to make their debuts following their respective arrivals from Southampton and Flamengo last month.
Soares is still a fortnight away from returning to full training as he recovers from a knee injury, though centre-back Mari could be in contention for the club’s Europa League clash against Olympiakos on Thursday night.