Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal are “in a new world” under Mikel Arteta as he explained what the manager has brought to the club.
The Gunners kicked off their Premier League season in style with an impressive 3-0 win over Fulham, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring before penning a new three-year deal this week.
Arsenal began the campaign with their Community Shield win over Liverpool, after ending last season on a high by winning a record 14th FA Cup with a Wembley triumph over Chelsea.
Arteta took charge for his first ever management job only last December, having worked as Pep Guardiola’s No2 at Manchester City for three-and-a-half years before that.
The Spaniard inherited a disunited squad from his predecessor Unai Emery, with the likes of Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka wanting to leave.
But all that has changed, with Aubameyang having committed his future to the Gunners, while new signings like Gabriel and Willian have breathed fresh optimism into the club.
And as Arsenal prepare to host West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, Ferdinand says former skipper Arteta has changed the club’s culture with his vision and tactical acumen.
“I watched Arsenal at Craven Cottage against Fulham and, man, it was a breath of fresh air watching that team,” Ferdinand told the Five YouTube channel, as reported by Metro.
“I’ve always moaned about there’s no one taking responsibility.
“The defenders don’t defend well enough, they are a bit wishy-washy, and they’d always come up against teams – especially against teams you’d expect them to win – and they’d fall flat on their face.
“Under Arteta we are in a new world, it seems to me.”
Aubameyang is flying, having scored against Liverpool in the Community Shield before an almost identical strike at Craven Cottage last weekend.
But Ferdinand says the striker’s good form is at least partly inspired by the manager’s tactical sessions.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has revealed how Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta ‘convinced’ him to sign a new deal
“It’s easy to say, ‘it’s Aubameyang’ because he’s getting the goals,” said the former Manchester United and England defender.
“But I think you look at the similarity between the goal in the Community Shield against Liverpool and you look at the goal against Fulham at the weekend – they were almost identical goals.
“And what that does is reinforces again to those players.
“I can see him [Arteta] playing those two goals side by side in a team meeting and saying, ‘listen boys, this is what we’ve been doing in training and in our last two games it’s coming to the fore on the pitch in the 90 minutes’.
“And there’s no better reinforcement for what he’s trying to put to them tactically but also as a manager and his ethos.
“That’s the best way to get them [the players] to believe and to understand and say, ‘you know what, I have bought into this now, I’m in’.”