3rd October 2021
Mikel Arteta is not the man to take Arsenal forward. Despite a dominating performance against North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. It’s coming up to the two-year anniversary since he took over at Arsenal from Unai Emery who was deemed a ‘flop’ and it’s safe to say that although there are some promising signs, the club has made no real progress.
Arteta has come under scrutiny time and time again during his managerial career. After being Pep Guardiola’s number two at current premier league champions Manchester City many people had hoped he could be his successor and bring some of the philosophies that made city so successful to Arsenal but it has not been that way.
Just two years ago previous Arsenal manager Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenals board after just over a year in the job. The Spanish Boss finished 5th in his first full season (2018/2019), led them to a Europa league final and went unbeaten in 22 games but it was not satisfactory.
Two years on and it does not seem as though Arsenal have improved at all, maybe it can be said they have improved defensively but the old Arsenal can be remembered as being fluid in attack, exciting to watch and killing teams offensively. Something that the gunners have struggled to execute since playing under the ex-Everton midfielder. Arsenal have scored 36 less goals than they have when under Emery.
After 25 games last season Arsenal were only just inside the top half by a point and were not in the top six after the first six games of the season. Finishing eighth place and missing out on any kind of European football which was an all-time low for the club and a sign that Arteta was out of touch.
Injuries have hindered the manager but there can be no excuse of not being given the financial resources to spend money and improve the squad. The summer of 2021 saw Arsenal spend £131 million on his side and with many of those signings still waiting to click into place, you wonder if the recruitment has a part to blame.
Ben white, Nuno Tavares, Tomiyasu, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale all arrived in north London this summer and whilst they look like good young players, there’s nobody proven on a world class scale which is what Arsenal need if they want to elevate to the next level.
Arsenal’s decline under Arteta is making it harder to sign these top players. Players such as Manuel Locatelli snubbed the chance to come to the emirates in favour of champions league football at Juventus, something that Arsenal fans can only dream of.
Although Emery was definitely not right for the job, it leaves us to question why one was dismissed out the club at the first sign of failure and the other has been given opportunity after opportunity.
Is it because of Arsenal’s board? When you look at Chelsea’s model it seems to be a much more effective way of getting success for the club. Frank Lampard got top four and got Chelsea to an FA cup final at the end of the 2019/2020 season. He struggled the following season but was still in and out of the top six and it was only January. That still was not enough for them which led them to approve Thomas Tuchel who won them a champion’s league final at the end of this season. A similar scenario happened when Mourinho was sacked and Conte was hired which won them a premier league title. Should Arsenal adopt the same approach?
A lot of Arteta’s criticisers have also said that he does not know his best 11, although his squad has changed over time. He never seems to use the right system based on the players that he has, whether it’s a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 both of them seem to be ineffective in sustaining consistent results.
When you look at how Graham Potter has transformed Brighton and the jobs Brendan Rodgers has done with Celtic and Leicester City in recent years you wonder if it’s time for a change of manager. Conte is someone who has been heavily linked with Arsenal across the last six months and when you look at each club he’s been at, he’s always made his teams tough to break down and able to score goals. Often using a 3-5-2 wingback formation this is something I would like to see at Arsenal.