Before Wednesday of last week, if anyone had predicted that Arsenal would secure back-to-back wins against the two most formidable sides in the Premier League within the space of two days, it would have sounded outlandish at best, and at worst, would have been considered the easiest way to send any money placed on such a wild bet down the drain.
But at present, as of the time of writing, such a bet, if it was made, will by now certainly have the bettor smiling to the bank.
For Mikel Arteta, it’s a feat he will cherish for the rest of the season: finally getting one each over Liverpool and City, on his former boss, as well as the current boss of the Premier League.
Now, while the prospect of Arsenal defeating Manchester City and Liverpool isn’t something that the Gunners could never have hoped to accomplish, given their generally poor record against the Reds and the Cityzens in the season, it seemed like a near-impossibility going into the past week.
But they did it.
Prior to their game against Arsenal, the Reds generally seem to have switched off a bit since their historic lifting of the Premier League trophy as champions of the 2019/2020 season.
It showed in their match against Manchester City when they lost 4 – 0; and it showed again following their 2 – 1 loss to Mikel Arteta’s side.
While the defeat from City was not unexpected given City’s formidability, on the other hand, against Arsenal, one would expect them to have their sights firmly set on breaking the 100-point barrier for the season, a feat earlier achieved by Manchester City in the 2017/2018 season when they were nigh unstoppable.
Arsenal defeating them ended all prospects of them achieving that feat.
Prior to the F.A. Cup semifinal game against Manchester City, it had seemed to the football world that for City, as the defending champions of the competition, their progression into the finals to try and retain their title was all but guaranteed.
They were certain of going through; victory was almost a given.
And in a generally dismal season for Arsenal, where they have had the misfortune of seeing Pep Guardiola’s side do the double over them in the Premier League via a 6 – 0 aggregate home and away defeat of the Gunners, the expectation of the Cityzens again trouncing Arsenal to get to the final was understandable.
However, in that light, Arsenal were written off going into this match, as far as Manchester City were concerned.
But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a clinical double for Arsenal, as the Gunners were more decisive in front of goal than Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Cityzens, for all their statistical dominance of the game, were having more ball possession, creating more chances, and taking more shots in the Arsenal half, but ultimately being more wasteful of chances, and lacking the ability to penetrate a resolute Gunners defense.
The Arsenal defenders in this match were more superb than they’ve been throughout the season.
With David Luiz’s performance against the Cityzens, he most certainly has atoned to some extent for his some of his interesting defensive errors in prior matches for the Gunners.
With the win against Manchester City, Arsenal have reached their record 21st F.A. Cup final.
Now, in the best run of form they’ve had all season, and in high spirits, they’re set to face Chelsea in the final at Wembley in August.
Clearly, Manchester United aren’t the only side setting records right now.
Again, before the middle of last week, nobody would have thought the Gunners would do what they did against Liverpool and City.
But they did. And to be fair to them, they deserved those wins, given their newfound resolve.
For Mikel Arteta, the victories have gone a long way to prop him up as a truly up-and-coming Premier League boss among the bosses of the top six.
Nonetheless, while he’s got a real chance of clinching his first managerial piece of silverware in the final against Frank Lampard’s side, he’ll need to not get overconfident.
He’s not the only ambitious new manager in charge. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard have certainly also sent that message out loud and clear.
And, like Arteta, Lampard will also want to secure his first trophy to wrap up his first season in charge of the Blues.
The F.A. Cup final won’t be easy on either of them.
The Spaniard still has a long way to go in his managerial career compared to Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, and the likes of even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but with the results he’s achieved in the past week, they are a firm testament of his viability as a budding manager, and they send a sound message to the bosses of the Premier League, as well as the rest of the football world:
Don’t take him and Arsenal for granted. Especially not him and Arsenal.
Because these two have learned that lesson the hard way already.
Content created and supplied by: Introspector (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More