Ian Wright thinks Mikel Arteta is already improving Arsenal’s defending and getting more out of the likes of Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi.
After Arsenal’s draw against Burnley at the weekend, there were some signs of discontent from the club’s fanbase. That’s 13 draws in the league now for the team in 10th place. Ian Wright thinks there are positives from the spell under Mikel Arteta so far though.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, Wright argued the head coach is turning some individuals at Arsenal around. He believes the team are going in the right direction, starting with more defensive stability.
“He’s turned Xhaka right around,” Wright said. “He’s got something out of Mustafi, Mustafi played well against Burnley the other day. Things are happening but it’s going to take its time.
“Unfortunately, our defence was poor leading up to it (Arteta taking over). Now the defence is getting a little bit more solid, couple of clean sheets we’ve had. Now we just need to convert the chances.”
It’s pretty much impossible to argue against the claim that Arteta is getting more from Xhaka. This is a player who was close to leaving the club when the new head coach joined, now strongly in the running for Arsenal’s Player-of-the-Month award.
Mustafi is more of a work-in-progress. He played well against Burnley, Bournemouth and the final hour against Chelsea, but that only came after his major error led to a goal and a red card in the first 30 minutes of the match at Stamford Bridge.
Still, the progress Wright mentions is evident. We just need more of it in the coming months.