Mikel Arteta has turned Arsenal into a “completely different proposition” since taking over, says Jamie Carragher, ahead of their Monday Night Football clash with Liverpool.
Arsenal’s third game of the Premier League season sees them travel to Anfield to take on the defending champions – a fixture which comes at the exact same point in the campaign as it did last season.
However, while Unai Emery’s side were soundly beaten 3-1 in August 2019, Carragher told the Pitch to Post preview show Arteta is now getting far greater results and performances out of this Arsenal side, despite their limitations.
“There’s no doubt Arsenal are on the way back under Mikel Arteta,” he said. “I think he’s been a brilliant signing.
“I’m so impressed with how he’s managing that squad. I think we’d all say that squad still needs a lot more work doing to it to get back to the level Arsenal supporters want.
“But what he’s done with the squad he’s inherited is fantastic. To win the FA Cup, beat Liverpool a couple of times in the league and Community Shield, that’s something Liverpool will want to put right. But it’s a completely different proposition this Arsenal team coming to Anfield than it was last season when Unai Emery’s Arsenal came very early in the season.”
Arteta steered Arsenal to a 2-1 win in the sides’ last Premier League meeting in July with just 31 per cent possession, and the Gunners similarly spent long periods without the ball in the Community Shield, when they prevailed past Liverpool on penalties.
Carragher says it is testament to Arteta’s coaching skills that he is able to win matches in that manner despite having a defensive unit which has previously been criticised for errors and conceding too many goals.
“That’s what has impressed me about Mikel Arteta,” said Carragher. “We know his upbringing in football, in Spain, and he’s worked with Pep Guardiola as a coach as well. He wants to be involved in teams that dominate the ball and dominate the game.
“But he possibly realises now he doesn’t have the players to do that, to take on the big teams, and he’s done it a different way and got results. I think that’s great management.
“He did it against Man City, in the semi-final of the FA Cup, taking on Liverpool a couple of times, when Liverpool have dominated possession in both games but not been able to break through.