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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are gradually mastering the art of winning ugly

Arsenal recorded a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday.
Arsenal recorded a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday.
ANALYST
Modified 05 Oct 2020, 22:12 IST
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Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League after recording a hard-fought 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

The win means the Gunners have now won three out of four league games this season, with their only defeat coming in last week’s 3-1 loss away to Liverpool.

In truth, the defeat to the Reds was the clearest indication of Arsenal's level this season. They are a good side, but they can neither be classified as very good nor great. However, Mikel Arteta's side are not average either.

Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal have made progress and one key addition to their game this season is the ability to win ugly. The Gunners are no longer the side that prioritised beautiful football over results.

Goals from Saka and Pepe did the magic for the Gunners.
Goals from Saka and Pepe did the magic for the Gunners.

They know how important the three points are and they are now playing to win, rather than to delight fans and sponsors. Against Sheffield United on Sunday, the Gunners had to suffer in the dying embers of the game when the Blades were desperately pushing for an equaliser.

Mastering the art of winning ugly is a trait of champions. Last season, despite Liverpool’s utter dominance, they still went through a phase where they ground out several 1-0 and 2-1 wins.

Arsenal are eyeing a top-four finish this season

Arsenal are not yet at Liverpool’s level, and they are far from being a title-winning side, but their newfound belief to win under difficult circumstances will definitely be key in their chase for a top-four place.

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Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta's side had to fight off a late onslaught from Sheffield United to win the game.

The Gunners have already stolen a march on rivals Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and even Manchester City. They sit fourth on the Premier League table going into the international break.

Their position in the table is already an improvement on where the club was at this stage last season, where they struggled to pick points from the Premier League’s lesser sides.

There are many more games to be played, but if Arteta’s Arsenal can maintain this momentum, then getting back into the Champions League shouldn’t be beyond them.

Published 05 Oct 2020, 22:12 IST
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