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Smart coaching the crucial tenet of ressurrection

As Mikel Arteta looks to revive Arsenal from their recent ashes, smart coaching will be a crucial tenet. The players must improve for the team to resurrect.

As Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta is looking to do what Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, and even Jose Mourinho have all done in the past: take an underperforming team, inject life, energy and hope into it, and resurrect it to the state of being competitive.

There are obvious differences in the manner in which these manages have directed these processes. Guardiola and Mourinho have predominantly spent their way out of it. Klopp sold his way out of it, selling high on certain individuals before using that money to reinvest in the squad. And there is plenty of analysis that can be done on their successful periods at their respective teams. But at the heart of each of their work is smart, progressive, impactful coaching.

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At Manchester City, while Guardiola has had the luxury of spending what he wants, many of the key players of the team have improved dramatically under his supervision. Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva. None of these players were signed by Guardiola, and yet they all improved under his guidance. Similarly, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Ederson. These are all superior players now than when they arrived. Guardiola’s coaching has improved them.

The same argument can be made for Klopp at Liverpool. In fact, it might be even more pertinent regarding the German. It is difficult to think of an individual at the club who is not a better footballer now than what they were when Klopp first took over. Klopp has improved almost every single player in his squad, and it all comes down to smart, progressive coaching. This is what forms such a brilliant team.

Arteta — and his coaching staff, who will all play a key role in the individualised elements of training — is at the start of this process. He is only three months into the job, still has not had a transfer window to help change the make-up of the squad, and is also awaiting his first preseason.

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But there have been plenty of signs that he too has the magical coaching qualities that Klopp, Guardiola and even an early Mourinho also possess. Granit Xhaka has looked revitalised in a slanted central midfield position that minimises his weakness and exploits his strengths. Bukayo Saka has flourished as a starter at left-back. Even Shkodran Mustafi look revitalised as a now reliable centre-back.

The above video shows Inaka Cana working with Arsenal’s goalkeepers, primarily Emiliano Martinez and Bernd Leno. He puts them through their paces with a range of drills to hone their awareness, shot-stopping, quickness, positional sense, reactions, agility, and plenty of other skills that are necessary to be an elite goalkeeper. It is this type of coaching that Arteta and his crew must enact.

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Arsenal are a long way from being a top-four or title challenger. They have plenty of ground to make up, and it will likely take years for them to reach the level City and Liverpool are currently occupying. But if they are to ever get there, coaching will be crucial. Like with almost everything in football, it rests on the manager.

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