EPL

Arteta demands more improvements despite Arsenal's upturn in form

By Sports Desk October 14, 2021

Mikel Arteta is still demanding more improvements as Arsenal continue their recovery from a poor start to the season and prepare to face Crystal Palace.

The Gunners were winless in their first three Premier League games but responded by winning their next three before a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion took them to five games unbeaten in all competitions.

Initial calls for Arteta's sacking have somewhat faded away, at least temporarily, as Arsenal look to defeat the Eagles for just the second time in seven top-flight meetings between the pair.

Arteta, who was named September's Premier League Manager of the Month, has been impressed in the upturn in form but still wants more from his side as the domestic season returns.

"We managed to turn things around a little bit [during the previous international break] but there is still a big margin for improvement," Arteta told reporters at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"But we got important results that were very needed in that moment and we just need to think about doing things better, progressing up the table and focus on winning our next match.

"It is the opportunity that this game gives you and you have to stand up, keep believing, work hard, be critical and analyse things to try to change them and improve them. Football always gives you another opportunity.

"When you're in a good moment, you want to carry on playing as quickly as possible. When the confidence is there, and the momentum is there, you want to continue, but again, we knew that we had to stop after that game.

"[We knew] that we had to get as many points as possible, and we did well enough to do that and be in a different position than a month ago, and now we have to just improve it."

Arsenal have mustered just five goals from their opening seven league games – their fewest at this stage since 1986-87 – and Arteta implored his side to improve their finishing.

"It is certainly something we can do better and improve in our efficiency in front of goal, and when we get that balance right it will obviously help us to win more game," he continued.

Patrick Vieira, who made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, returns to his former club with Palace – becoming just the fourth man to play for the Gunners and manage against them in the competition.

Arteta – aware of Vieira's legendary status, with only five players appearing more in the league for the north London club – expects a warm welcome for the former France midfielder from the Emirates Stadium crowd.

"He is an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did for the club, not only as a player but also what he transmitted as a person," he added. 

"He was a captain of the club in the most successful era in the last many years and it is great to have him back."

Related items

  • MLB playoffs 2021: Soler cleared to return for Braves ahead of NLCS Game 5 MLB playoffs 2021: Soler cleared to return for Braves ahead of NLCS Game 5

    Former World Series champion Jorge Soler has been cleared to return for the Atlanta Braves ahead of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

    The Braves opened up a 3-1 NLCS lead with Wednesday's 9-2 victory, leaving the World Series champions needing to win three elimination games to progress.

    Soler has been absent for the Braves after testing positive to COVID-19 during their National League Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

    The 2019 American League run leader hit .269 with 14 home runs and 33 RBIs across 55 games for Atlanta after his trade deadline deal from the Kansas City Royals.

    "He's been working out on his own," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I think he's good to go. That's a great weapon off the bench right there."

    The Dodgers have lost third baseman Justin Turner to a hamstring injury, with Andy Burns added to their roster to replace him.

    Turner hit .278 with 27 home runs, 87 RBIs and 148 hits across the regular season.

  • Gerrard: Rangers close to perfect after kick-starting Europa League campaign Gerrard: Rangers close to perfect after kick-starting Europa League campaign

    Steven Gerrard says Rangers were close to perfect as they claimed an important victory over Brondby in the Europa League.

    First-half goals from Leon Balogun and Kemar Roofe sealed a 2-0 win at Ibrox – and the hosts' first points of this season's competition.

    That helped Gerrard's team move off the bottom of Group A at the halfway stage, while closing the gap on second-placed Sparta Prague to just a single point.

    The Rangers boss admitted the pressure was on his side, who began their campaign with defeats against Sparta and runaway leaders Lyon.

    But he was ultimately delighted with the way his players rose to the occasion on Thursday.

    "I thought it was a strong home performance in Europe," Gerrard told BT Sport.

    "We've kick-started our Europa League campaign. The first two results haven't been good enough, which put a lot of pressure on us tonight.

    "But we've got to go and replicate this performance and result [away at Brondby] in a couple of weeks' time.

    "I thought the fans were magnificent. The game plan we set out to do, the players have delivered.

    "It's really close to the performance we're looking for. 

    "We've played well for halves and 60 minutes, but tonight was really close to a perfect 90-minute performance."

    Gerrard also hailed the display of Joe Aribo, who provided a constant threat to the reigning Danish Superliga champions with his pace and power.

    No Rangers player was involved in more duels (15) than the winger, who also completed 58 of his 62 passes and only James Tavernier (111) among the hosts' team bettered his tally of 93 touches.

    The 25-year-old has recently been linked with a move away from Ibrox, with Gerrard admitting it will be difficult to retain his services should he continue to perform to a high level. 

    "He's a great kid; he wants to learn and he wants to grow," the Rangers boss added.

    "What I've said to Joe is: 'you're a much better player when you play angry in a nice way. You're a big strong lad; go and put yourself about' and when he does, he's a joy to watch.

    "I thought his first 45-minute performance was outstanding. That's probably the reason why he tired a little bit, but he's played a lot and he's been away on international duty [with Nigeria]. 

    "But if he can find that performance consistently over 90 minutes, we'll be lucky to keep hold of him."

  • Mourinho hit for six in Norway as Roma boss says: 'Blame me!' Mourinho hit for six in Norway as Roma boss says: 'Blame me!'

    Jose Mourinho said he would shoulder the blame for Roma's humiliating 6-1 defeat to Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League.

    The shock result in Norway came as a largely second-string Roma side crumbled woefully, although they still sit second in Group C after three games.

    It was the first time in his 1,008-game coaching career that Mourinho has seen one of his teams concede six goals.

    Mourinho said he expected more from his players, but told reporters they now knew why he usually selected the same group for games, rather than being a coach who rotates his squad.

    On the night when his former team Tottenham also lost in the competition, Mourinho was left to accept responsibility for his Serie A outfit's embarrassing away trip.

    "I decided to play with this team. The responsibility is mine," he said. "Obviously I had done it with a good, double intention. On the one hand, giving an opportunity to people who work a lot and don't play a lot. On the other hand, consider our squad and all the games we have to play, I let people who play practically always have a rest.

    "Then, we lost against a team who have more qualities than us. It's simple. The main Bodo team is better than ours who started the game.

    "If I could always play with the same men, I would. I believe that doing so is a great risk, however. In a group-stage game, with six games and six points already acquired and two more games to play in Rome, I decided to make these changes.

    "I knew about the limitations of some of our players, it's nothing new, but obviously I expected a better response. But as the decision is mine, so is the responsibility."

    Bodo/Glimt lead the way in the Norwegian Elitserien, and Mourinho saw his team go into half-time trailing 2-1, with a flurry of second-half goals showing the Portuguese the limitations of his fringe players.

    Mourinho added: "I had never hidden it, I knew that the team had many limits. The good thing is that now at least none of you will ask me why I always play the same players."

    Two-time Champions League winner Mourinho said Roma would face pace-setters Napoli in Serie A on Sunday "with the weight of a defeat that I would define as historic".

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.