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Arsenal & the formidable calmness of the title contender

The 4-3 victory against Luton Town marked the return of last season’s Arsenal: chaotic, emotional, and dramatic until the final minutes. However, alongside that, this match also demonstrated the formidable calmness that a title contender needs to possess.

Arsenal – The Terrifying Calmness of a Title Contender

The match at Kenilworth Road was a whirlwind of chaos. Amidst the chaos, a pattern emerged: Arsenal once again won late. This is the fourth time this season they’ve won a match with a goal scored after the 85th minute. It’s not just a product of chaos; it’s a product of composure.

Nhận định bóng đá Arsenal vs Wolverhampton: Tiếp đà chiến thắng
Arsenal always has late wins

In the tense final moments of the game, Arsenal players seemed to find a new level of focus. It’s a sign of excellent teams and not just luck. Late goals boost the confidence of the Gunners’ squad and create psychological issues for their opponents.

“We don’t want to draw; we want to win!” said manager Arteta after the Luton win. “The effort, the energy, the daring, and the emotion we showed are very clear. We tried until the last minute and got a deserved reward.”

However, this phenomenon is not just about effort or belief. It also involves decision-making. In the dying minutes of the match, fatigue in both legs and minds can lead to hasty decisions. Match plans may be abandoned, and tactics set aside. There needs to be alertness in those crazy final moments to score. Both the coach and players need to be truly alert.

Arteta proved this in the 64th minute, with the score at 3-3. He substituted Gabriel Martinelli and Jakub Kiwior for Leandro Trossard and Oleksandr Zinchenko, exchanging two dynamic players for two more technical ones. And it worked. As the game was ending, Zinchenko’s influence in ball distribution increased. Bringing him on allowed Arsenal to change their style and present Luton with a new problem to solve.

In fact, Zinchenko was involved in the deciding goal. When Martin Odegaard passed the ball to him on the left wing, the pressure to deliver a direct cross into the crowded penalty area was immense. Instead, Zinchenko pivoted and returned it to the captain.

In the blink of an eye before receiving the ball back, Odegaard took a moment to observe, and evaluate his options, knowing that this was the time for precision, not panic. He chose to make a precise cross to Declan Rice, who quietly moved up and executed a precise header.

The Desire of the Gunners

For Rice, this was the second time this season he shone in extra time, helping Arsenal overcome the opponent. The previous time was against Manchester United. With the score at 1-1, he scored to make it 2-1 before Gabriel Jesus sealed the deal with the final goal, securing a 3-1 victory for Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta đã làm gì để giúp Arsenal hồi sinh?
Mikel Arteta and his students have gradually shown the image of champions

Arteta also praised Rice, saying, “He had another remarkable game. With each match, Rice shows more of his value. He is also increasingly perfecting his finishing skills.”

But late victories, like against Luton, not only show Arsenal’s hunger. They also expose a weakness in the Gunners: they still make many mistakes in defense. Goalkeeper David Raya made two serious errors, while defenders made mistakes in corner-kick situations. If Arsenal wants to compete for the title, they cannot continue with such defensive lapses. Not every time Rice can shine.

In the season marking the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s unbeatable team, Mikel Arteta and his players naturally want to bring home the Premier League trophy. They are showing the potential of a champion, but adjustments are still needed to climb the podium at the end of the season.

The New Trend of the Giants

30% of Arsenal’s 33 goals this season were scored after the 75th minute. It’s a feat only Liverpool can outdo (34%). The next club benefiting from late goals is Manchester City, with 25% of their goals coming in the final stages of the match. It seems like the strongest teams tend to continue advancing until the very last second, pressing opponents to secure the best possible points.

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