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Arteta delivers reality check despite Gunners' fine form


Arteta: Happy with result not display. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley

Arteta: Happy with result not display. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley

Action Images via Reuters

Arteta: Happy with result not display. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley

A scoreline of "1-0 to the Arsenal" might look like a return to the George Graham era of a well-drilled defence and clinical forward line, but Mikel Arteta has already shown his intelligence as a manager and is not fooled that this particular ship has been turned around just yet.

Arsenal are now unbeaten in eight league games and have won three in a row for the first time in more than a year, taking them into the pack chasing a Champions League place, but Arteta is quick to point out the difference between results and performances. He cited as an example West Ham United, who again failed to take anything from a game in which they played well against superior opposition and had the best of the chances.

"I watched their games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs and they were really unlucky, so the points they have don't show the quality of performances they have been putting in over the past few weeks," Arteta said.

It has been a reversal of fortune for Arsenal, however, as results appear to be better than some performances have merited.

One statistic shows that only once in their past 10 league games at home have they managed more shots on goal than their opponents, suggesting the same structural weaknesses that dogged the latter end of Arsene Wenger's time, and was not addressed by most recent boss Unai Emery.

It is no secret that for years Arsenal's defence and midfield have been too flimsy, allowing opponents plenty of chances, and only the sort of profligacy West Ham showed on Saturday lets them off the hook. In the early minutes, Jarrod Bowen was given the ball 25 yards from goal, but shot against a post, and Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller missed good chances.

Instead, it was Alexandre Lacazette who scored the game's only goal, the Arsenal substitute tucking away Mesut Ozil's headed pass in the 78th minute. An initial offside verdict was overturned by the video assistant referee, giving Arsenal victory and David Moyes a deeper sense of injustice.

"We didn't deserve to lose. We've played really well in the past three games, but only taken three points," the West Ham manager said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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