Mikel Arteta hopes Arsenal can stay off the roller coaster during Matchday Two | Arsenal

TThe question was met with rolling eyes and exaggerated trembling. Fun like Arsenal in the end Convincing victory over Manchester United Kan, will Mikel Arteta battle five white-knuckle equivalent rounds during the remainder of the tour?

“I hope not,” he replied, after the small theatrical performances that anticipated his point of view had calmed down. “But the last games of the season tend to go a little bit like this, [because of] Overworking players, stressing various elements. It’s possible. So we have to deal with this mess as well if that happens.”

Arteta described United’s match, which was hardly a blatant endorsement of either side’s ability to put a steady hand on the player even if Arsenal It was superior, like a roller coaster. That was one of the phrases the coach used from as long ago as February when he predicted the nature of chasing places in the Champions League, and he knows he’s not too surprised when, within minutes of a match kick-off, he’s more cautious. Laid plans turn to dust.

But it is not published with pleasure. Arteta, the articulate manager who controls every move of his team if he can, has a natural aversion to chaos but knows that his team must develop mechanisms to adapt to any loss of control. “It’s something that’s part of our training, part of our plan in every match,” he said. “How do we control the situation, how do we take the situation to our advantage. But in football, there are a lot of things that are unpredictable and we need to know how to respond to them.”

Ideally, though, Arsenal would have been on a more stable path to the elite in European football. It’s rarely sustainable to convert games into high-octane coin throws over a long period, even if you have enough quality to feel confident playing the odds. This is even more dangerous when you are facing close rivals although West Ham, who are eight points and three places behind, have been more or less seen in the battle for the top four places.

For Arsenal, what was once a knife-edge London derby now looks like an occasion to assert authority and avoid doing anything stupid. Nobody gets an easy ride from David Moyes, as his former pupil Arteta knows exceptionally well, but the prognosis looks favourable given the task West Ham face in Frankfurt on Thursday and the lung-breaking efforts Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and the company have tried to turn them around. Europa League semi-final first leg Till the end.

If the results go their way this weekend, Arsenal will secure a place in the top six and, in fact, be certain to return to Europe in some form. On Friday, Arteta was quick to point out that their ambitions don’t end there. An intriguing run, the one that edged out United and Chelsea after baffling defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton, ended with Arsenal on the verge of retaining their top spot in fourth. They veered up and down as Arteta feared, though the demands placed on his team offered plenty of reason.

Eddie Nketia
Eddie Nketia’s two goals at Chelsea secured a streak in the side. Photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal/Getty Images

At the London Stadium, Arteta will almost certainly start with Mohamed Elneny in midfield and Eddie Nkeitia, who Two goals at Stamford Bridge He may have put a question mark over what appeared to be a dry summer exit, leading to the streak. Nuno Tavares, an entertaining loose cannon who clearly irritates Arteta at times, will continue at left-back.

He at least knows what he’s getting from the first two things: a consistent and secure hold from Elneny; The power and ability to scrape off the scraps in and around the six yard box of the nickel. Neither player has been particularly close to the starting line-up in the Premier League until the past two weeks, and both have had to fill in the blanks, caused by injury in the middle and the chronic striker. The goal of choosing Elni was to mitigate the absence of Thomas Partey, who is unlikely to play again this season and whose Arsenal presence has a much more consistent record.

“The winning rate when Thomas is there is higher and that’s not good for us,” said Arteta. Talk about “using [alternatives] In a different way, changing the composition and finding ways to compensate.” It’s a fancy way of saying Arsenal had to correct and fix, which is not a case conducive to maximum levels of control.

When Barty played alongside Granit Xhaka, usually teaming up with Martin Ødegaard at the front and taking possession from Ben White from behind, Arsenal looked like a finely tuned machine born from working hours on the training ground and bundles of natural talent.

Kieran Tierney, whose injury eventually convinced Arteta to trust Tavares, would intuitively know when to step forward and receive one of Barty’s passes. In the case of Tavares, no one is quite sure of the next move, although the first goal was the first against United. Improvisation necessarily means renunciation; Arteta was given few options but to put up with his shortcomings, let go of some late-season uncertainties and hope Arsenal can cross the line.

If they take advantage of West Ham’s aberrations and take control of the London stadium as they please, and score another win, they will come close to what seemed to be an unimaginable turnaround in fortunes. Last March, Arsenal lost three goals in the same spot before scoring a point and almost evading them all; Arteta would be horrified at the idea of ​​repetition, but you should know by now that no celebration in three weeks will be won the easy way.