Arsenal fans breathed a massive sigh of relief on Boxing Day.
Gooners must have been fearing the worst as they hurtled towards a clash with Chelsea in nothing short of relegation form and fresh off the back of a demoralising 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
It feels like a watershed moment for an Arsenal team that were genuinely being touted for a relegation fight, especially considering the win came in such convincing fashion.
Mikel Arteta rolled the dice by putting his faith in the youthful trio of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli, who arguably turned out to be Arsenal's best performers on the night.
The Gunners led 2-0 at half-time thanks to an Alexandre Lacazette penalty and a stunning free-kick from Granit Xhaka, before Saka sent Arsenal into dreamland with a cross-cum-shot after the break.
Arteta outdoes Lampard
Tammy Abraham took a nick of shine off the victory with a consolation strike for the Blues, but it was unquestionably Arsenal's day by the time Bernd Leno denied Jorginho from the penalty spot.
It was, by all accounts, a landmark moment for Arteta's managerial career, raising a middle finger to his critics and rewarding the Arsenal chiefs who are reportedly ready to play the long game.
But how did Arteta pull it off? Well, the Spaniard's tactics have been put under the microscope by YouTuber 'The InnerViews', who boasts almost 15,000 subscribers for their analyses.
Arteta's tactics vs Chelsea
The fascinating video - titled: 'How Arteta's Tactics SHUT DOWN Lampard's 4-3-3' - breaks down how Arteta outmaneuvered Frank Lampard in the opposite dugout with a series of canny strategies.
You can check out the full analysis down below, but keep scrolling for our abridged version of the main points.
Killing Chelsea's wings
Just like Tottenham Hotspur did with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Arteta marshalled Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny to occupy the half-spaces in the defence when Chelsea played out wide.
This helped flood the flanks to mitigate the chances of Reece James and Ben Chilwell using their superb crossing ability as well as stranding Abraham away from Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic.
Using full-backs to hurt Chelsea
Speaking of the Chelsea wingers, their poor tracking back saw Arteta encourage Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney to bomb forward in order to cause problems just as Aaron Cresswell did for West Ham.
This gave Arsenal an overlapping option whenever the ball was fed into Smith Rowe, often causing a 2v1 overload against James and allowing Tierney to win the penalty for Arsenal's opening goal.
And it was the brilliant movement and awareness of Bellerin that helped Arsenal win the free-kick for their second as well as pegging back Thiago Silva for Smith Rowe and Saka to combine for the third.
However, Lampard made shrewd substitutions to counter Arsenal's approach, pushing N'Golo Kante forward to add energy and Callum Hudson-Odoi to hug the touchline to try and win one-on-one battles.
Nevertheless, Xhaka and Elneny's tactical discipline mitigated the wide threat by ensuring there was always a man over, before breaching the Chelsea press, which sparked the third goal, with lobbed passes.
Fair play, Mikel
So, yes, it's fair to say that Arteta is more than just the bloke who put out cones for Pep Guardiola with the Boxing Day result proving the umpteenth time Arsenal have won a big game in 2020.
For all the club and manager's missteps this year, of which there have been countless, you've got to credit them for outthinking Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer along the way.News Now - Sport News