Arsenal fans were delighted this morning when Arsenal manager Mikel Artea revealed to BBC One’s Football Focus presenter Dan Walker that he has fully recovered from COVID-19. However, given what he know about Arteta’s obsession with football and tactics, it comes as no surprise that he has been demanding hard work from his squad the whole time he has been in quarantine. As the Arsenal players remain at home and the crisis continues, the Arsenal boss is already strategising for the Premier League’s return (whenever that will be).
You may have seen photos or videos of various players weight-lifting and working to maintain their fitness in the absence of football. Over the last three weeks, a significant portion of the working world has shifted to ‘work-from-home’ programmes, and it’s no different for athletes, who are required by their clubs to stay in shape
However, what sets Arsenal’s ‘work-from-home’ programme apart from other Premier League clubs’, according to ESPN Correspondent Julien Laurens, is the tactical work Arteta has been demanding. He has been rewatching games, analyzing players’ recent performances, and sending them individual videos so that they can “self-analyze”.
If they thought they would be able to get away with not doing too much work and treating this as a kind of holiday, they could not have been more wrong. Arteta has been on their cases, all of them. Every day, he checks on his players via WhatsApp videos and messages.Julien Laurens, ESPN
It seems Arteta has found a way to ensure that his players’ minds, as well as their bodies, are engaged during this standstill. Julien Laurens also elaborated on Arsenal’s virtual training sessions:
In small groups of three or four, players connect to an app and have live fitness sessions — cycling, yoga, muscular strengthening, and so on — with a member of Arteta’s staff. Players really enjoy them, as the sessions are both joyous and intense. Players can see each another on their screens and thus banter with one another, encouraging each other or shouting, swearing and laughing at their efforts.Julien Laurens, ESPN
We do not know when players will return to full training, but it is comforting to know that Arteta is still committed to addressing the squads weaknesses. If he continues to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in this period of social distancing, we may end up seeing a tactically stronger Arsenal when football comes back into our lives.
Header photo: Dishwab, 2010