Gunner Thoughts

Arteta looks ahead to Leicester City

Arteta looks ahead to Leicester and Rodgers

On Sunday, Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media once again in preparation for the game against Leicester City. There is no rest for the Arsenal manager who is moving from one game to the next with no time to relax. Just over 24 hours after beating Wolverhampton Wolves, Arteta faced questions covering team confidence, Leicester City and Vardy, Lacazette, Martinelli, and more.

Read the full transcript from Arsenal here.

After storming through their last four games with 4 wins, 10 goals scored, and only 1 conceded, Arsenal will begin the daunting final stretch of games in their attempt to get something from this season with 3rd place Leicester City.

Under Brendan Rodgers this year, the foxes have been a revelation that only began to show a few cracks in the system late on. While it is something Arteta will hope to take advantage of, Leicester will be looking to finish strong and maintain their spot in next year’s Champions League competition.

Sitting in 3rd on 58 points, they would have have fall apart pretty badly in the final days to miss out, but their form since the restart has been less than impressive. With 5 games played, they have managed 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 losses with their win coming against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Rodgers will look to get them back on track to keep this one-game momentum rolling and it is something he is capable of. Arteta had some praises for him in today’s conference saying:

“Well, I think Brendan and his staff have completely changed the style of play and the way they approach the games. It’s very clear what they are trying to do. They are very dominant. They’re one of the teams that has better possession in very difficult areas as well. In the Premier League, they’ve been really consistent – even though they’ve had some difficulties in the last few weeks – but since they joined, they completely changed the way they are playing and I think they proved against big teams as well that they’re going to sustain that influence against the stronger teams as well. Credit to them for what they’ve done.”

There have been two reasons for this success – a defense that has concedes few goals at poor times and only 31 on the season, and the scoring power of Jamie Vardy who sits atop the Golden Boot leaderboard. With 21 goals, his scoring rate is astounding for being 33 years of age.

Vardy brings a lot of raw energy to the game and was able to figure out how to score in the Premier League quickly upon his arrival with Leicester, years ago. This ability to make everything ‘click’ is the mark of a great goalscorer and his consistency is something Arteta commented on.

“When I look at the games of Leicester, there is still the energy that he has in every single game. It’s incredible to be consistent in the way that he’s done it in the Premier League. Credit to him, he is doing so well.”

While Leicester’s veteran has been there to finish off their attacking quality, Arsenal has found begun to find consistent production and performances from their youth. When asked why this is, Arteta simply stated:

“Because they’ve been really well prepared. Credit to all of the academies in the country and the systems that we have in place now in England, that are giving really good formation and education to the players. Because, at that age it’s not just about having the qualities or the game knowledge or whatever. You need a structure around the club to support that path for the young players and as well, with how well they are mentally prepared for the pressure that they have to deal with every day.”

The youth movement at Arsenal has stolen the show along with the hearts and minds of Arsenal fans looking ahead to the rebuild. Names like Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Joe Willock are three of the first names to come from people, coupled with slightly older stars in the making like Kieran Tierney or Nicolas Pepe.

It’s important Arsenal find this pillars to build around and I suspect we will continue to see them make appearances and grow in value during this upcoming stretch.

First up – Leicester City.

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