Substitutes? I call them ‘impacters’ says Arteta
When the teamsheets arrive for Arsenal’s europa League last-16 clash with Sporting tonight, they will list both sides’ starting XI and substitutes.
In the mind of Mikel Arteta’s players, however, those left on the bench will have a different name: impacters.
It is another psychological ploy from the Arsenal boss and a move seemingly inspired by the former england rugby coach eddie Jones, who rebranded his replacements ‘finishers’.
‘It’s something that we wanted to change and I discussed it with a few people. We wanted to find something that is particular for us,’ said Arteta, whose side drew 2-2 in last week’s first leg in Lisbon. ‘Your mentality should be only that: to impact the game to win it.’ Arteta conceded that a name change might not soften the blow of leaving players on the bench but the manager insisted: ‘If you repeat it more and more and you discuss it more and more, it will be closer to that.’ Arteta, who could give Gabriel Jesus his first start since returning from injury tonight, has made psychology a prominent part of his coaching.
Before away games the team decorate dressing rooms to make players feel more at home. At Fulham, they took a replica of highbury’s famous clock.
‘I think every game needs something different,’ Arteta said. Plenty of his innovative team talks and tactics were shown on the All Or Nothing documentary. Arteta’s decision to play You’ll Never Walk Alone during training, before Arsenal were beaten 4-0 at Anfield, drew particular scorn. But the manager said: ‘If the response is (whether) you win or you lose then that’s something different, then my answer would be: “It depends on the result”. ‘But the response as individuals and as a group is always really good.’