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Arsenal: Pundits heaps praise on Mikel Arteta for turning Gunners’ woeful start to the season around

Emile Heskey heaps praise on Mikel Arteta for ‘sticking to his guns’ and turning Arsenal’s woeful start to the campaign around, while Martin Keown labels their win over Leicester their ‘best away performance of the season’

  • Mikel Arteta has been praised for ‘sticking to his guns’ with Arsenal this season
  • The Gunners boss came under heavy criticism for his side’s slow start
  • However, Arteta has managed to turn things around for Arsenal in recent months
  • Saturday’s win over Foxes has been lauded by Emile Heskey and Martin Keown
  • Keown labelled the Gunners’ 2-0 win as their best away performance this season 


Emile Heskey and Martin Keown have lauded Mikel Arteta for ‘sticking to his guns and philosophy’ after Arsenal’s impressive 2-0 win over Leicester on Saturday.

Arteta came under heavy criticism after the opening three games which saw the Gunners rooted to the bottom of the table after three straight defeats.

However, after beating Norwich, Burnley and rivals Tottenham, Arsenal have got the campaign back on track and their most recent victory over the Foxes has seen them climb up to sixth in the table. 

Mikel Arteta has been praised for ‘sticking to his guns’ and turning around Arsenal’s slow start

Emile Heskey (pictured) heaped praise on Arteta

Martin Keown labelled the Gunners' 2-0 win as their best away performance this season

Saturday’s win over the Foxes has been lauded by Emile Heskey (left) and Martin Keown (right)

Such a turnaround after hitting rock bottom has seen Arteta rightfully receive praise, with Keown insisting his former club now look ‘really solid’. 

And while the results have been positive, Heskey applauded Arteta for not deviating from his footballing philosophy and believing in himself.

‘He’s stuck to his guns, his philosophy and it’s paying dividends now,’ Heskey told BT Sport after Arsenal’s 2-0 win at the King Power. 

‘Lot of people were saying are the players coming in good enough, but given them the chance, when you’ve got the backing of the manager you’ve got confidence and can perform.’

Keown pointed to Arsenal’s slow start and insisted that a result like their one against the Foxes had been coming, with the Sportsmail columnist describing the victory as their ‘best away performance of the season so far’.

Arsenal's win over Leicester has been labelled as their 'best away performance of the season'

Arsenal’s win over Leicester has been labelled as their ‘best away performance of the season’

‘They lost their first 3 games and looked really poor, now they look really solid,’ Keown added.

‘It’s been coming, last week was their best performance of the season. This was their best away performance of the season for me hands down. It’s about building on that now, how do the players deal with that. 

‘I think it helps, you look at their opponents today Leicester are playing in Europe lot more football. That is good time for Arteta to work on the training ground.’

Arsenal flew out of the traps at the King Power Stadium, taking a two-goal lead inside 18 minutes through Brazilian centre back Gabriel Magalhaes and young English starlet Emile Smith Rowe.

Gabriel (right) had given Arsenal a superb start when he headed home a near post corner

Gabriel (right) had given Arsenal a superb start when he headed home a near post corner

Leicester grew into the match after their laboured start and had several chances to get themselves back into the contest before half time, only to find Gunners keeper Ramsdale in inspired form.

Ramsdale’s leap to keep James Maddison’s free-kick out just before half time was a contender for save of the season, as he clawed the ball away in spectacular fashion to prevent it flying into the top corner.

After the break, Leicester continued to create chances which on another day they would have converted, but Ramsdale refused to be beaten, bailing his side out time and again to ensure a vital victory on Arsenal’s road to recovery.

Emile Smith Rowe doubled Arsenal's advantage in just the 18th minute with a clean strike

Emile Smith Rowe doubled Arsenal’s advantage in just the 18th minute with a clean strike

Smith Rowe (left) celebrates after firing Arsenal into a 2-0 lead and wrapping up the points

Smith Rowe (left) celebrates after firing Arsenal into a 2-0 lead and wrapping up the points

A seventh win in that unbeaten run of nine means Arsenal climbed above Leicester who drop to 10th, with their inconsistent form this term hurting them.

‘It is a superb result away from home against a top team,’ Ramsdale told BT Sport. ‘We started really well and got two good goals.

‘Thankfully it was one of those afternoons that I contributed. We should have had a few more clean sheets (this season) but I’m happy with this one.’

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