Arsenal came back from behind to beat Leicester City 3-1 in the Premier League this weekend and these three points were a real statement of intent from Mikel Arteta.
Arteta surprisingly chose to make a series of rotations to his usual starting XI, bringing in fringe players like Elneny and Willian while resting others such as Aubameyang.
When the team sheet was announced, everyone was fearing that this gamble from the manager might heavily backfire but in the end, it all worked out just fine and Mikel Arteta went on to explain why.
He said in his post-match interview: “Probably people will think that it was a gamble but I see them train every day and they are playing because they deserve to play.
“When they deserve to play, I think players have to feel supported and valued. The only way to do it is to play them.
“In football, anything can happen but I think the performance levels they’ve shown is not a coincidence, it’s the way they’ve prepared themselves and how they’ve prepared themselves every day.
“Every game is going to be different. What we’ve done today is not going to have a knock-on effect on the next Premier League game, but I think the team is clearly improving and is taking a direction that I like.
“Then all the time I say the same thing, about the constancy. We are still giving things to the opponent. We did it against Benfica, we did it against Benfica at home, we’ve done it today against a more dangerous team in short transitions, and that’s something that we have to eradicate to give ourselves the best possible chance.
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“Everything I see, attitude-wise, what we are creating as a group, and then the way we are playing within our model, it looks much closer to what we want.”
Lacazette had been warming the benches for the past couple of games but the fact that Mikel Arteta chose to select him ahead of someone like Aubameyang clearly suggests that no player is guaranteed a place in the starting line-up. Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka were also dropped to the bench on Sunday while players like Odegaard and Partey came off the bench.
Arteta surely understands the depth of his squad and when and where to rest his players.
Also, finishing in the top-four of the Premier League is nearly impossible for Arsenal right now so the manager might be looking to keep his regular starters fresh for those key Thursday night Europa League games – the final way through which the Gunners can get back into the European elites.