Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is smiling more now, the intense raven-haired player turned manager now watching his Gunners keep hold of the Premier League’s top spot through four weeks of the 2022-23 season.
As far as we’ve seen from Arteta as Arsenal boss, it may be fair to say that he is downright radiant.
The Gunners came back from a second-half deficit to beat Fulham 2-1 on Sunday in North London, a win that keeps now 4-0 Arsenal the lone perfect team in the PL.
[ MORE: What we learned from Arsenal 2-1 Fulham ]
And Arteta has explanations for how his men rebounded so quickly from that deficit, scoring within eight minutes of conceding and then, remarkably, getting the winner from Gabriel Magalhaes, the man responsible for the error that helped Fulham take the lead.
More on that after the jump.
What Mikel Arteta said on the change in Arsenal mentality
Here’s how Arteta described the significance of the Gunners’ comeback.
“We’ve grown up, we have more alternatives, I think we have matured as well. Playing in front of these supporters helps because they are driving you as well and then it’s about belief. A lot of that is about belief and confidence that you can do it and now we have that.
“I don’t know any top teams or winning teams that don’t have that connection with the club and with the supporters. I just had a person who I love that I haven’t seen for a while, it’s the first time he’s been at the stadium for two years and he says it’s the best he’s seen ever since he was at Highbury.”
Without knowing who that person is, it does bear some weight.
Arsenal looks better, that’s for sure, and when the Gunners went down 1-0 it seemed quite possible we were witnessing their latest somewhat-predictable hiccup.
Toward the tail end of Arsene Wenger’s career and then again under Unai Emery, Arsenal managed to wilt in similar positions on several occasions.
Of course there were comebacks and shows of resilience in the past, but there’s a different feel to performances like this. And new captain Martin Odegaard bears some serious responsibility for that.
Here’s what Arteta, short and sweet, says he’s asked from the Norwegian playmaker who scored Saturday’s equalizer.
“Influence, and in difficult moments, take the ball,” Arteta said. “That’s what he’s done.”