‘Togetherness’: Emmanuel Petit rates Mikel Arteta’s impact at Arsenal
Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit gives his verdict on Mikel Arteta's start at the Gunners so far
Emmanuel Petit has credited Mikel Arteta with changing the mentality of the Arsenal players since his appointment.
The former Arsenal captain took over the reins of the north London side in December after the Gunners opted to part company with Unai Emery.
The Spanish head coach replaced Arsene Wenger in May 2018 but the former Sevilla boss was unable to halt Arsenal’s regression.
Emery appeared to be losing control of the dressing room as Arsenal’s results continued to decline under his management.
Arteta has managed to steady the ship despite winning just one of his seven Premier League games in charge of the north London side.
The Gunners have only lost one Premier League game since Arteta’s appointment – a 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea FC.
Former Arsenal midfielder Petit believes Arteta has got rid of the “sick” and “weak” mentality within the Gunners squad since his appointment.
“When Mikel Arteta took over at Arsenal, the team was sick,” Petit told Paddy Power.
“Sick on the pitch and in the dressing room. They were losing shape and blindly going nowhere. They were weak.
“Now, after several weeks of the Arteta regime I’ve seen different things happening in terms of intensity, togetherness and work rate off the ball.
“The mentality is different and some players are getting back to form, like Granit Xhaka. I’m very pleased with how he has played and the mentality he has shown.
“Mesut Ozil has looked better on occasion and I’m happy with what I see from Lucas Torreira.
“The players seem to be getting the message from Arteta and I think it’s clear what he wants from them on and off the pitch in terms of discipline and commitment. It looks like they’re following the rules he sets out on the training pitch.
“They haven’t been winning as many games as they’d like but they also haven’t been losing. More goals are needed if they want to win, which is the major problem.
“The first priority when Arteta took over was to stop the team conceding stupid goals, and he has done that.
“But in the meantime they’re suffering a bit up front – I think if they keep playing like this that, sooner or later, they’re going to win games.”
Arsenal are in tenth position and 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC in the race to secure a Champions League spot for next season.
The Gunners will take on Newcastle United in their next Premier League fixture at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal will then make the trip to Greece for their first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash against Olympiacos.