The Gunners boss knows his side must tighten it up at the back, despite two successive clean sheets, ahead of Sunday’s North London Derby with Tottenham
Mikel Arteta does not want to talk about it.
Yep, Arsenal ’s bizarre inability to keep things tight at the back in the opening 60 seconds of home games is beginning to grate with the boss big time. It happened again in midweek with new Emirates keeper David Raya called upon to make his only save of the Champions League rout over PSV Eindhoven…in the first minute.
The Gunners have conceded three such goals in their previous ten league outings at their place – so Arteta is understandably upset to have witnessed another potential disaster at the back. Ahead of Tottenham ’s visit to N5 on Sunday afternoon, the Spanish coach admitted: “Yes, I noticed that. And I didn’t like it! We have to react and we have to be sharper and more on it. Right from the beginning, especially at home, with what has happened there a few times.”
As to how you safeguard against such sloppiness straight after kick-off, Arteta confesses he has no idea – save for everyone buttoning the lip on the issue. The Spaniard responded: “I don’t have a clue. That is the reality with certain things.
“We used to have a lot of people being sent off. And we used to always talk about it a lot. But the more we talked, the more we made it worse. And then we needed to keep more clean sheets. So we stopped saying about that and then we just get a first clean sheet in 13 games. So, I really don’t have the answer yet.”
Maybe not but, perhaps, here lies the clearest clue as to why former Brentford stopper Raya is Arsenal’s new number one at the expense of axed England ace Aaron Ramsdale. Last season the latter failed to save his first shot in a match on no fewer than 12 occasions.