ROB DRAPER: Mikel Arteta might sometimes be more David Brent than Sir Alex Ferguson in the dressing room, but he won the tactical battle with veteran Antonio Conte as amazing Arsenal stormed to a statement 3-1 win in the north London derby 

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  • Mikel Arteta gets Trump after going face-to-face with Antonio Conte
  • Arteta’s Arsenal beat rivals Spurs 3-1 on Saturday
  • The Spaniard has come under fire but seems to be establishing himself at Arsenal
  • He won a tactical battle with his Italian counterpart in the North London Derby

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Nothing is more tempting than idealism, even more so when it wins the day in a world ruled by pragmatism.

Mikel Arteta is a young manager schooled at Pep Guardiola with the belief that the team that plays the best football will eventually win the most games. To be fair, when you have Guardiola’s players, it’s often a self-fulfilling philosophy.


But when you have Arteta players? There’s an Arsenal trope that’s been doing the rounds for nearly 15 years: Arsenal is beautiful but rarely intimidating. For the idealist, read gullible. For the aesthetically pleasing, read vulnerable. It is a pleasure to watch Arsenal from the days of Arsene Wenger. In later years, he has also enjoyed playing against them several times.

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Mikel Arteta poses as Trump in the North London derby as his team won 3-1

The Spaniard wins tactical battle between himself and veteran manager Antonio Conte

The Spaniard wins tactical battle between himself and veteran manager Antonio Conte

Arteta falls neatly into this cliché. A recent Amazon documentary demonstrated that his team-talk may be more David Brent than Sir Alex Ferguson. He talks about a good game but his team lost fourth place last season.

to Spurs. The way kids make imaginary comparisons, demanding to know which animal would win if a shark fought a lion, you figured that if Arteta confronts Antonio Conte, there can only be one winner. And it will not be the romantic Basque coach cherished in Barcelona.

Conte is cut from different fabrics. He is a wonderful coach. He really has nothing to prove other than the endless desire to prove himself again that stuns all successful obsessives.

Serie A title, Premier League title, FA Cup: he has it all. He replaced Spurs last season. He made them unbeaten this season, when you look like a title contender near Manchester City in the form of Erling Haaland.

It was the first time in years that these teams had met when both were riding high and were among the best in the country. And you knew exactly how Conte would play it. For all the hustle and bustle of Arsenal’s truly impressive start, there was a moment when Christian Romero picked up Harry Kane with a 50-yard pass and Arsenal looked very weak.

Arteta was vocal with his side throughout the game, barking instructions from the dugout.

Arteta was vocal with his side throughout the game, barking instructions from the dugout.

The Gunners end Tottenham's unbeaten league run with an impressive performance

The Gunners end Tottenham’s unbeaten league run with an impressive performance

The offside flag came to his rescue but for a team with 64 percent possession, he looked too fragile. That was the net that Conte was laying for him: you enjoy beautiful football and we will score points.

And so the match seemed to settle in the same pattern. Excellent Thomas Partey’s opening strike in twenty minutes from twenty yards was something really special. Arsenal dominated. Arsenal looked amazing.

Emirates trembled with enthusiasm and it’s not often that you can write like that. And yet, here we are at half-time, with Tottenham just 36 percent in possession and the score 1-1. Kane, inevitably, by chance after Richarlison is overtaken by Granit Xaka and tripped over by Gabriel. Same old arsenal.

And so it was a real test. It was one thing to avenge Brentford two weeks ago, but more like a privileged class bully on a poor, vulnerable boy. It was something else. Conte wanted to do what Conte does to dreamers. Yet it is Arsenal who are on top today,

Arsenal that showed resolve through conclusion. They don’t do this against top quality teams and asked if it sent any message, Arteta was adamant: ‘The message to me is to the players and to everyone in the club that we play against such a level at this level. are capable of. of opponents and this should give them confidence and confidence.

They may be at the top of the league, but Arteta, a Manchester City alumnus, will not be drawn into the game whether his team is a title contender. He said, ‘I leave it to you guys, we are just at the beginning.’ ‘Looking at the table, it’s great, obviously. But we are a really hungry and humble team, believe me. We know where we are, we haven’t done anything yet. There are things to improve and we are going in that direction.

In fact, Conte’s plan might have worked if Hugo Lloris had not presented Arsenal with a goal early in the second half, as he first scored for Gabriel Jesus and a serial winner at Manchester City to score. stumbled upon. Or if Emerson Royal hadn’t lost his head kicking Gabriel Martinelli’s shin, reducing his team to ten men. Even this a major task for Conte was made impossible when Martinelli and Xaka sent Eric Dier the wrong way and allowed the Swiss to attack on third.

Harry Kane became the leading goalscorer in the London derby with a fine penalty

Harry Kane became the leading goalscorer in the London derby with a fine penalty

Once heard here regularly, Emirates reverberated with a chant: ‘We’re on top of the league!’ As old friends, Kane and Dyer had a heated argument about who was to blame. There was something about the energy generated by this Arsenal team that set an environment different from previous generations here.

They have won FA Cups since coming to the Emirates but it has become difficult to believe in the character and personality of even the best teams. It seemed a little different and Arteta agreed. ‘Absolutely,’ he said of the connection to the fans. ‘It started in that dressing room. You find the right people, the right players and they start connecting with each other, then that takes it to another level.

‘A team at any level has great strength’ [of football], You start connecting and get that on the pitch and then you connect like we’ve done with our fans and it becomes really, really powerful. This is the biggest success this group of players has got.

The empty Spurs on the final whistle told another story. Ken applauds him. It was literally a meet and greet with 10-20 fans who chose to watch it till the bitter end. For most, it was very painful to stop and watch.

As for Arsenal, the DJ decided to put on Tequila, a 1958 Latin tune from The Champs. Due to its ability to scan William Saliba’s surname into the chorus, it is a new favorite for Arsenal fans. How he deserved his praise. But the song also captured the sense of joy and celebration that must be in handing out humiliating defeats to your neighbors. And winning the day in idealism.

Arteta will be pleased with his side's performance after a grueling international break

Arteta will be pleased with his side’s performance after a grueling international break

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