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Arteta praised for bringing respect back to Arsenal after Emery 'upheaval'

10:55 GMT+3 12/03/2020
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20
Things have been on a downward trajectory even before Arsene Wenger left the club but the Spaniard is doing good work, according to Sammy Nelson

Former Arsenal full-back Sammy Nelson believes Mikel Arteta has the team looking “like they want to play again” as the Spaniard endeavours to instil self-respect at a club that lost its way during the “upheaval” of Unai Emery's reign.

Nelson, who took in 255 league appearances for the Gunners before making the switch to Saturday's opponents Brighton, has had to watch as his old side have fallen from grace since the heady days of Arsene Wenger's tenure.

Now, however, he believes that Arteta's experience in working under one of the best coaches in Pep Guardiola, coupled with his links to the club as a player, has the London side moving in the right direction once again, with the players more keen to play for the shirt.

“Because Arteta played for Arsenal, he knows the culture of the club and understands the fans,” Nelson told Brighton's official website. 

“He knows what he wants, and although he didn't get the call for the manager’s job when Arsene Wenger left, I think he gained a lot of valuable experience working with Guardiola for another 18 months.

“He's his own man and certainly he's trying to shape the team the way he wants it. It's only been a couple of months and it's a slow process. It's not easy. You have to take your time, especially being between transfer windows. There will be players he wants to sign and to get rid of.

“But considering the upheaval of the Unai Emery period he has been doing well. The Olympiacos result the other week was a setback, but we look as if the team wants to play again.

“He's trying to bring the confidence back but also the relationship with the supporters. They want to see the players really trying all the time. If they see that, they'll support you even if you lose. Arteta is trying to instil that respect for the club, the staff, the supporters, everybody – and respect for yourself.”

But while Nelson believes Arteta has Arsenal on the right track again, he also feels that his other former side, Brighton, shouldn't be written off ahead of Saturday's Premier League showdown.

“You never know,” he added. “Results like Watford's against Liverpool show that anything is possible. Nothing changes. But it's horses for courses. Brighton had a good result against Arsenal just before Christmas and nothing's impossible.

“It could go either way depending on who turns up on the day.”