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‘Arteta is having to fix a lazy Arsenal team’ – Nicholas sees Gunners getting back to basics

09:12 GMT 10/01/2020
Mikel Arteta Arsenal
The former frontman has seen signs of encouragement from a new coaching regime, but admits there is still a lot of work to do in north London

Arsenal remain a “long way” from being fixed, says Charlie Nicholas, but positive progress is being made by Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard inherited a “lazy team”.

The Gunners are, under a new coaching regime, looking to get back to basics.

Defensive leaks have been an issue for some time, while bringing the best out of creative influences such as Mesut Ozil has also proved problematic.

Arteta has set about righting those wrongs, in what is his first managerial role.

The former Arsenal skipper has impressed across his early outings at the helm, with back-to-back victories collected against Manchester United and Leeds in Premier League and FA Cup competition.

It has not all been plain sailing, with there still several issues to address at Emirates Stadium, but Nicholas sees the north London outfit working harder than they have done for a while.

The former Gunners striker told Sky Sports ahead of a derby date with Crystal Palace on Saturday: “It is a tough transition for Arsenal at the moment.

“There is a heartbeat in the team, and certainly more togetherness than what there was. It has a long way to go before it is fixed, but they are grafting away for Mikel Arteta.

“He is working them harder at this stage of the season, physically, than what they would like, but they were a lazy team.

“They didn't understand what teamwork was, and because of that, Arteta has said they needed to work harder on the basics.

“They have not got their mojo back, but there has been a couple of clean sheets, albeit fortunate ones, but he is getting a response.

“Crystal Palace are a better team away from home, so they will be happy to knock it back to front.

“Wilfried Zaha is getting tipped up to move once more - would that disturb them? It did last time, and I am hoping it does again. I am expecting Arsenal to squeeze and cause a lot of trouble for Palace.”

Arsenal will make the short trip to Selhurst Park sat 10th in the Premier League, one place and a solitary point behind Palace and nine adrift of the top four.