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Arsenal kept their title hopes alive by exorcising their traumatic past

Arsenal kept their title hopes alive by exorcising their traumatic past

LONDON | Arsenal lost a dream at St James’ Park. They were terrified into submission, looking too callow, too fragile, their squad too narrow.

But not this year, not this ambition, and certainly not this Arsenal.

Their season came to an end in Newcastle a year ago. They knew defeat spelled the end of their ambitions of playing in the Champions League.

Granit Xhaka slammed their performance, saying they didn’t deserve to be on the field and that they should have stayed at home.

A year later, Xhaka epitomized Arsenal’s shift by putting himself in the path of a Joe Willock shot, saving a certain goal.

The dream now is of the title and if, once again, Arsenal may end the season disappointed, it will be a different kind of disappointment.

A year on, Arsenal exorcised their past by remembering it and revisiting it.

The All or Nothing documentary captured some of Mikel Arteta’s motivational methods, his attempts to prepare his team for a trip to Anfield by blasting out ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at their Colney training ground. Yet it transpired All or Nothing itself could be used to galvanise Arsenal.

The cameras had captured Arteta, in the sanctuary of the St James’ Park dressing room, telling his team they were “embarrassing”, that Newcastle were “10,000 times” better, that they should “shut your mouth and eat it”.

He showed them the footage again in the team meeting at their hotel.

“When you have the emotions we had last year in that dressing room, you have to feel them again, realise how nasty they are and then find a way to approach the game differently,” Arteta explained.

Source | Independent UK

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