Marcelo Bielsa gave Arsenal a run for their money as the Gunners managed to scrape a 1-0 win against Leeds in their FA cup game. Mikel Arteta did not mince his words when expressing his disappointment in Arsenal’s first-half performance.
Leeds dominated the first half of the FA Cup game and it was only by chance and a whole lot of luck that Arsenal did not find themselves down by a goal, if not more, by the half time break.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta did not hide his feelings during the halftime break, going on to tell his team what he thought of their effortless first-half performance.
Leeds were able to get off 15 shots in the first half with a very close near miss from Patrick Bamford that saw the ball hitting the bar.
“I wasn’t happy at all with the first 30, 35 minutes, how we started the game, how we approached the game,” Arteta said in his post-game interview.
“When I see what I don’t want to see, and I’m not talking about technically or even tactically, I cannot be happy and I have to let them know.”….
And let them he did as Arsenal finally woke up in the second half and finally decided to pitch up to the game.
Reiss Nelson scored the only goal of the game for the Gunners in the 55th minute of play giving the home side the 1-0 win they needed to progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
Yes, a win is a win, but Mikel Arteta pointed out that the first half were warning signs of a complacent Arsenal which could prove to undo all the progress they have made.
Their recent successes and improvements under the helm of the new manager has gotten the team to relax and there can be nothing more dangerous than that as Arteta went on to say:
“I think it was a big release for them when they won against Manchester United and they took a little bit of that pressure off,”
“Then your body and your mind try to relax a little bit for one or two days. And now we are not in a position to relax because we are not good enough to relax.”
Arsenal are in no position to relax as they still have an uphill battle ahead of them to make up for the first half of the season’s dismal performance which has left them 10th on the Premier League table with 27 points.
With 9 points between them and a spot in the top 4 this is not the time to take the foot off the gas and enjoy the view and Mikel Arteta is trying his best to make sure they understand that.
Leeds who currently top the EFL table and could see a return to the Premiership under the guidance of manager Marcelo Bielsa after a 16-year absence put on an exemplary performance in the first half.
Arteta came out in full praise of the visitors. If they maintain their current course they will truly be a team to watch when they feature in the Premier League once again.
Arteta went onto share the following thoughts about Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds after the game:
They are a nightmare for every team to play,”
“I said before the game, to play against them is like going to the dentist.”
“It’s tough. They make it really hard. They are a great team.”