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Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Mikel Arteta’s vision and tactical prowess has won over Arsenal’s players.
The Spaniard replaced Unai Emery at the Emirates last December and he inherited a fractured dressing room, with senior members like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka looking likely to leave.
However, despite being a novice in management, Arteta has taken to the role with consummate success and guided the Gunners to an FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, as well as Community Shield success over Liverpool.
Aside from a string of impressive results, it’s been the manner of Arsenal’s displays that has surprised Ferdinand and he believes Arteta’s got the players on side by displaying his tactical acumen.
‘I watched Arsenal at Craven Cottage against Fulham and, man, it was a breath of fresh air watching that team,’ Ferdinand told the Five YouTube channel.
‘I’ve always moaned about there’s no one taking responsibility. The defenders don’t defend well enough, they are a bit wishy-washy, and they’d always come up against teams especially against teams you’d expect them to win and they’d fall flat on their face.
‘Under Arteta we are in a new world, it seems to me. ‘It’s easy to say, ‘it’s Aubameyang’ because he’s getting the goals. But I think you look at the similarity between the goal in the Community Shield against Liverpool and you look at the goal against Fulham at the weekend – they were almost identical goals.
‘And what that does is reinforces again to those players. I can see him [Arteta] playing those two goals side by side in a team meeting and saying, ‘listen boys, this is what we’ve been doing in training and in our last two games it’s coming to the fore on the pitch in the 90 minutes’.
‘And there’s no better reinforcement for what he’s trying to put to them tactically but also as a manager and his ethos. That’s the best way to get them [the players] to believe and to understand and say, ‘you know what, I have bought into this now, I’m in’.
Arsenal kicked off their season with a 3-1 win against the Cottagers and their week got better with the announcement of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract extension.
The 31-year-old put pen to paper on a new three-year deal to end the speculation over his future.