Arteta: ‘We are building leadership’

Mikel Arteta believes the Arsenal squad is beginning to show signs of leadership and is impressed with the recent defensive displays. The Gunners have performed well in their last two games, winning 1-0 against Norwich in the last two rounds of the Premier League.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup game against Wimbledon, Arteta discussed the recent form of the team, highlighting the defence:

It’s the whole unit that has to be compact, that has to stay compact at all times.

The only way to do it is when the ball is moving, that everybody is moving. If somebody starts to work, if the distances get split and the unit starts to break, there is nothing.

There is a lot of coaching now going on around the team. Young players are starting to talk and communicate, and that facilitates a lot of things in the defensive phase.

Martin Odegaard returned to the club after his brief loan spell and has immediately settled into the team, becoming an important part of how Arsenal play and Arteta was asked if the Norwegian playmaker is leading by example:

I think we are building some leadership in the group. It’s a really young group, with a lot of players under 23. Martin is the captain of the national team and Sambi (Lokonga) was the captain at Anderlecht.

Martin has this capacity to do that with his talent, taking the ball in moments where others probably refuse to, but as well with his attitude, his rhythm and the way he presses and puts people under pressure.

He’s probably the first to do (the pressing from the front). I was also really impressed with (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang as well – I think his rhythm and high pressing was fantastic.

It was a real commitment and purpose because you can go to try and win the ball or put pressure – but you can tell when you are really doing it or when you’ve been told to do it.

There was a big meaning behind it and when you go to places like that (Burnley), when you are having difficult moments and you want to start to get results, I think you have to go to those basics and have every single player do that.”