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21/22 First Team General

7 Best Arsenal Games Under Mikel Arteta

Sunday’s narrow 1-0 win over Watford marked Mikel Arteta’s 100th game in charge of the famous red and white. The win gave the Spaniard his 54th win, with 26 losses and 20 draws.

Arteta’s record is hugely impressive and actually outstrips that of the legendary Arsène Wenger and second only to George Graham.

In light of Arteta’s 100th game, let’s take a look at the 7 best games that Arsenal have played under Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United
Where it all began. Well, not really, but close enough.

This was Arsenal’s first win under Mikel Arteta and what a win it was too! Manchester United never really looked at the races on the day and Arsenal were able to slice through them with no real issues.

The opener was beautifully constructed and marvellously put away by Nicolas Pépé, before Sokratis fired in the second just before halftime.

It wasn’t the greatest performance Arsenal have ever given, but it was a strong one and it was the start of Arteta’s winning ways, especially after coming close to beating Chelsea barely a week prior.

Arsenal 4-0 Newcastle United
Following their win over Manchester United, Arsenal failed to win a league match for four straight weeks. Draws against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Burnley had proven to be frustrating and Arsenal were in need of a big performance.

And that’s exactly what they got.

The first half had been a frustrating affair. Arsenal had come close on one or two occasions, but their efforts were in vain as they slumped in at halftime 0-0.

The second half saw Arsenal kick into overdrive, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbing the opener, before Nicolas Pépé doubled the lead 3 minutes later.

Having endured a barren run, Alexandre Lacazette was able to get him back into the goalscoring form, when Pépé squared the ball for the Frenchman’s scuffed effort, which bounced into the net.

The scoring was rounded off nicely by Mesut Özil, who was appearing in his antepenultimate league game. Perhaps his effort was a little lucky, but it finished the game off nicely and meant that Arsenal had scored more than 3 goals at home in the league for the first time in nearly 2 years.

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

Arguably the crowning glory of Arteta’s tenure thus far.

Arsenal were handed a tough run to the FA Cup final. Games against Leeds United, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Sheffield United were then punctuated with a semi-final against Manchester City.

The semi-final could arguably have been a worthy entry on this list, but the final was something truly special.

It seemed like a total collapse to begin with as Christian Pulisic predictably gave Frank Lampard’s Chelsea the lead. However, Arsenal fought back.

Nicolas Pépé’s disallowed spectacular was made up for minutes later when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, brought down by the pursuing César Azpilicueta, converted his penalty to bring the game level.

Arsenal continued to dominate from there and there was nothing that Chelsea could do to stop the Arsenal captain dinking in a tidy finish at the end to give Arsenal their record-breaking 14th FA Cup and making Mikel Arteta the first man in history to win the trophy as a club captain and as a manager.

It’s just a shame the fans couldn’t be present because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal


Arsenal’s first league win at Old Trafford since 2006 and their first win away to Manchester United in all competitions since March 2015.

Manchester United had looked dangerous every now and again, Marcus Rashford looking the most threatening, but Arsenal kept their cool.

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny kept United at bay in midfield, with an uncharacteristically good performance from Willian too.

Arsenal were handed the lucky break when Paul Pogba tripped Héctor Bellerín in the penalty area and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted from the spot.

There were a few controversies on the day, especially regarding Gabriel Magalhães not being sent off for a blatant second yellow, but Arsenal and Arteta claimed a rare away win and that will always take precedent.

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal


Having slumped to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home the previous week, Arsenal met the challenge of Slavia Prague away masterfully.

The opening goal came courtesy of some quick feet from Emile Smith Rowe, which allowed him to slip in Nicolas Pépé, who opened the scoring with a deft finish.

Arsenal then doubled their lead 3 minutes later from the spot as Alexandre Lacazette stepped up, with Bukayo Saka giving the visitors 3 just 3 minutes after that.

Arsenal wrapped up their quarter-final win with a fabulous 4th courtesy of Lacazette, who gave Arsenal their biggest knockout round win in Europe under Arteta.

It was just a shame that their European journey ended at the hands of former boss Unai Emery.

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur


Arsenal had previously beaten Tottenham under Mikel Arteta. A 2-1 home win during the pandemic had meant that Arteta had still yet to win a North London Derby with fans in the stadium.

As this season has seen the return of fans, Arsenal went in with a slight advantage, as they faced off against Nuno Espírito Santo’s Tottenham.

Arsenal were electric from the word go, playing silky football that saw Martin Ødegaard (who scored in the aforementioned 2-1 win last season), Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka combine beautifully throughout.

In fact, that deadly trio brought about the first goal as Ødegaard slipped in Saka, who crossed to Smith Rowe to tuck in the opener. Smith Rowe was then a thorn in the side of Tottenham once more as he assisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the second. Bukayo Saka then added a third before halftime.

The only downer is that Arsenal didn’t keep a clean sheet. A foul on Granit Xhaka had meant that Heung-min Son had a golden chance to get an undeserved one back for the visitors.

Arsenal had produced a consummate performance in the first half and a respectable one in the second and the Emirates Stadium had erupted by the time the final whistle was blown.

Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa


Arguably the best performance under Mikel Arteta so far.

Arsenal utterly blew Aston Villa away.

From the moment the game started to the final whistle, Arsenal were electric. Aston Villa were unable to keep the ball for longer than a second as Arsenal’s Liverpool-esque press kept them penned in.

A first goal for the club for Thomas Partey, a haphazardly rebounded effort from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a stunning solo goal courtesy of Emile Smith Rowe meant that Arsenal had 3 without breaking a sweat.

A delightful finish from Jacob Ramsey gave the visitors a consolation, but Arsenal never really looked likely to throw the game away.

Honourable mentions:
They didn’t make the list, but they were just as impressive.

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