Arsenal’s playing squad have notably improved under Mikel Arteta according to former Chelsea and England striker Chris Sutton.
The Premier League winner with Blackburn in 1995 has picked out four elements which helped in their narrow 3-2 win over Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on Sunday, and how they might not have won had Unai Emery still have been in charge.
The former Sevilla and PSG boss lost his job in late November after a torrid run of seven games without victory, which was the Gunners worst run since a stint in 1992 under George Graham.
Manchester City coach Arteta was then chosen as his replacement, and Sutton reckons they are finding their feet after a period of uncertainty at the Emirates.
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He questioned in his column for the Daily Mail: “Are Arsenal back on track?
“They still have some way to go under Mikel Arteta, but there was a steeliness to them against Everton — and I don’t use that word just because of Shkodran Mustafi’s new silver hairdo!
“There was a determination to their performance, a real will to win among their players.
“I saw courage, hunger, organisation and togetherness — four traits that weren’t always evident under previous boss Unai Emery.
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“The Arsenal of old might have crumbled under the pressure from Carlo Ancelotti’s visitors, who are improving themselves.
“But the hosts held on, despite tiring legs, and saw it out for a win which takes them up to ninth and the fringes of the European places.
“Arteta will not be pleased with the two goals Arsenal conceded — both from set-pieces — and Everton had further opportunities to score through Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“But this is an Arsenal team on the rise. Under the guidance of their new boss, they are slowly but surely making themselves difficult to beat and remembering what it takes to win.”
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The former Arsenal and Everton midfielder has now overseen six wins from his 12 fixtures with ties against Olympiacos and Portsmouth on the horizon, and he insists that his new squad is still adjusting to change.
“What I can tell you is I am really proud to manage this football club at the moment and really happy with how everyone is reacting around the club,” he said.
“The players – the passion and energy they are showing every day and the same with the staff and everybody who works here.
“We have a lot of things to improve and it feels like it was eight months ago but it was not that far away.”
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