Sokratis Papastathopoulos gives much of the credit for the recent defensive improvement at Arsenal to head coach Mikel Arteta.
Sokratis is right to point out Arsenal are on a positive run of games defensively under Mikel Arteta. The 37-year-old took charge 11 games ago, and he’s already up to five clean sheets, which is as many as Unai Emery’s total in 20 games this season.
Obviously this goes hand-in-hand with a significant reduction in goals conceded. Arsenal are letting in 0.73 goals per game under Arteta, down from 1.45 with Emery. A few decimal points above half as many.
Sokratis says this isn’t just down to the defence, but a team effort thanks to the guidance of the head coach.
“When all the players defend, the defence is better,” the defender began (via The S*n). “It’s not down to four or five of us – it’s down to the whole team and now we do that a lot better.
“We’re not allowing opponents to have a lot of shots like we were earlier in the season and much of this is down to the work of the manager.
“From his first day, he spoke to us about what we had to do better. There is still a lot of room for improvement but every week we look to take another step forward.”
The weekend’s fixture against Everton provides another stern test for the defence. Whilst Arteta has Arsenal defending better, Carlo Ancelotti has Everton scoring more. They have eight goals in their last three games, despite conceding five.
If Arsenal can come out of the match with another clean sheet, it’ll do wonders for confidence.