When Arteta was announced as the manager of Arsenal, there were hopes of a cultural shift, but doubts were voiced about his lack of managerial experience. Almost two years into his reign, those doubts have prevailed, but he has enjoyed his share of glory days. In this article, we will take a look at the top five games of Mikel Arteta as Arsenal manager.
#5 Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea, 26 December 2020
Before facing Chelsea at the Emirates on Boxing Day, Arsenal had gone seven Premier League games without a victory. They were clearly the underdogs going into the contest but controlled the game effectively against their neighbors. Lacazette opened the scoring for the hosts after Tierney was fouled inside the box by Reece James.
Xhaka scored a wonderful curling free-kick just before half-time to give Arsenal a two-goal lead. Bukayo Saka scored an absolute peach of a flicked goal, albeit it could have been an attempted cross. Although Chelsea enjoyed more possession, Arsenal created more clear-cut chances and their finishing was exquisite.
#4 Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United, 1 January 2020
Arteta was still searching for his first win as Arsenal manager when United travelled to Emirates on New Year’s Day, 2020. Right from the opening whistle, Arsenal looked like the better team and within eight minutes Nicolas Pepe scored to give them the lead. Arteta fielded Torreira and Xhaka in front of the defense and both of them justified their manager’s selection.
Arsenal’s second goal came from a corner, and the unlikely scorer was Sokratis. United looked a better team in the second half, but Arteta made some smart substitutions to ensure Arsenal kept a clean sheet.
#3 Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur, 26 September 2021
For the first 45 minutes of this game, fans at the Emirates witnessed some of the best football ever seen in North London. Arsenal were a disoriented mess coming into this fixture, which makes this performance even more intriguing. It was one-touch football at its finest, as Arsenal kept progressing the ball forward with relative ease.
Emile Smith Rowe scored the opener after a fine assist from Bukayo Saka. Minutes later, Aubameyang started a counter-attack with a glorious back-heel, got the ball back and applied the finishing touch. Saka added a third before half-time to send Emirates into jubilation. Arsenal were more cautious in the second half, although Son scored for Spurs, they were never really in the game.
#2 Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City, 18 July 2020
When PL resumed after the pandemic, Arteta endured one of his worst defeats as Arsenal manager against Manchester City. But in the FA Cup semi-final, Arteta exacted revenge against his old master, just three days after defeating Liverpool.
Arsenal sat back for the majority of the game and allowed Manchester City to maintain possession. But they were lethal on the counter as Aubameyang kept finding pockets of space to run into and wreak havoc. He registered a brace and Arsenal qualified for the final.
#1 Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, 1 August 2020
Arsenal’s trophy drought finally ended in Wembley against Chelsea when they claimed their record-extending 14th FA Cup. Arteta chose a three-man defence comprising Luiz, Tierney and Holding, effectively neutralizing Chelsea’s front three. Just five minutes into the game, Pulisic scored a wonderful goal to give Chelsea the lead.
Aubameyang earned and scored a penalty, continuing his wonderful goal-scoring form in the FA Cup. He scored the winner, too, after a brilliant run and a sublime flick over the head of Caballero. The optimism created by this victory is yet to die down, and Arsenal fans will be hoping for more silverware this season.