As we get set for our fifth away London derby of the campaign, Mikel Arteta is hoping we can stretch our record to five victories and five clean sheets, and claim a small slice of history in the process.
After beating Crystal Palace, Brentford, Chelsea and Tottenham without conceding, a win in the same fashion at Craven Cottage on Sunday would see us become the first team in the history of the English Football League to achieve that feat in capital clashes.
To make that a possibility, Mikel is calling for an improvement in the defensive side of our game, which was highlighted after the draw with Sporting CP.
“We are conceding some set plays, we are conceding a lot in games,” he said. “We conceded two goals against Bournemouth and against Sporting. If you want to be at the top, winning and winning and winning, you need clean sheets.
“We’ve been really good at preventing chances but not good enough in the last two weeks, and doing the right things in the box.”
The boss looks back to the reverse fixture in August where we had to come behind against Fulham, something we have done successfully more than any other Premier League side this season.
“That day it got really complicated,” he added. “We were in total control of the game, we made a huge individual error that cost us a goal, but the team reacted the way they have reacted all season. Not feeling for ourselves, just going for it and we got rewarded at the end.”
Sunday will be another reunion with our former number one Bernd Leno, and a first for Willian who left north London in the summer of 2021. The boss is looking forward to seeing them again on the weekend.
“I’m really happy for them,” he said. “When we decide that player is not continuing at the club, and they decide it’s better to move somewhere, you have to wish the best for people, especially those two that are really nice characters. we had a good time and experience with them.”
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