After the thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, Mikel Arteta stated that his players would have to be strong mentally in the coming matches, and that they could not crumble after this bit of adversity. There is some precedent for the team demonstrating some fortitude of spirit, but it is clear that the boss wanted to really make the point to his Arsenal that this team was going to bounce back, and in fact, had to bounce back.
And so, when they came up against the worst team in the Premier League it was a relief to supporters around the world that the Magpies were dispatched quite handily by a final score of 2-0. The visitors have had bad luck even before they were newly purchased, but it has not improved very much since Steve Bruce was sacked and Eddie Howe was appointed.
Newcastle haven’t won a match in the division this season, and are currently dwelling at the very bottom of the table. And so, Arsenal performed and got the result that they should’ve expected to secure, especially as they continue growing and improving as a very young squad.
Not all the games will be as easy as we witnessed in that first half, although Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are both prone to showing off when they have the chance with the ball at their feet, the game against Manchester United on Thursday will be a much sterner test than the match they just played.
Arsenal face huge test with Manchester United after win against Newcastle puts Arteta’s side fifth in Premier League table
How will the Gunners respond?
The next two weeks will be crucial for Arsenal, as dates with Manchester United and Everton will test the expectations and abilities of this team in the same way that a match against Newcastle simply will not. The Gunners sit in a European position already, but want a top four berth, not simply a Europa League spot, and so, more points must be accumulated against the better teams in this England.
United have all the talent in the world, and yet have struggled so much that their boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was sacked, replaced by caretakers, and eventually by the famous German boss, Ralf Rangnick. They are in a bit of a pickle right now, even as they’ve progressed to the next round of the Champions League and are absolutely loaded with world class talent players.
Everton, meanwhile, looked one of the better sides of the Premier League earlier on this year, before injuries and bouts of horrendous form have really brought the team back to earth in a serious way. After their recent loss to Brentford over the weekend by a score of 1-0, the Toffees sit in 14th place right now with 15 points, and really need to take points in the Merseyside Derby they have midweek, as well as the following match against the Gunners.
This leaves Arsenal with lots to negotiate between those two dates. Six points would be ideal, and yet few things in life are ever ideal, of course; four points would be hugely positive between those two matches, while six would be perfect, both literally and figuratively, and could continue the trend this team has projected for itself since its rocky start to the season in August.
Man Utd have failed to score in their last three matches against Arsenal. They have never gone four games in a row against the Gunners without a goal.
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) November 29, 2021
They will need the youth to continue to lead the way for this team in all of their upcoming matches, but they will not take all the points they need to unless the veteran names can produce goals as well. That means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will have to make themselves felt during the matches while Nicolas Pepe, should he find himself in a match or two, could also stand to put some numbers up on the board, for the sake of himself as well as his team. The senior player must step up alongside their effervescent young companions.
While the games at this time of the year come so thick and fast, that one can sometimes get ahead of oneself in discussing them. I is better to stick to the next two, before we move onto the next little mini stretch of games that the team will have to overcome. For Arsenal, this is a good mindset to play with as well: collect your three points in little bursts, and keep focused on the match or matches up directly ahead.
The Gunners will look to do that when they go north to face Manchester United on Thursday. It will be their first December game, while the Everton match follows just days later on Monday. Vigilance will be necessary from all.
Next:Should Auba be dropped vs United?
With enough preparation, execution and determination, in the form of the type of fluid, thoughtful and beautiful football that our team looks to play, four to six points, along with another clean sheet or two, are not only possible, but looking increasingly likely from this ascending team and outfit.