No wins in his first two games does not bode well for Mikel Arteta and one has to wonder if Arteta will be the right man to lead Arsenal forward?
Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal ended in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. The result was seen as acceptable given that Eddie Howe’s side had taken the lead but at the same time Bournemouth had been in very bad form and fallen in the league, this could have been an opportunity to beat them.
That match was followed up by the recent Chelsea game. A grudge London derby match was not what Arteta and Arsenal needed right now. But the club played good football and took the lead through the excellent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and everything seemed like it was going well. Even with five minutes remaining one could see Arsenal winning the game. Although there was the niggling thought that despite good play the Gunners had only had 2 shots on target and this was a home game.
And then it happened, Bernd Leno made a shocking error and Chelsea scored not one but two goals in the last few minutes to snatch the win. Perhaps a draw would have been the fair result as this was a game of two halves but Arsenal had lost again.
Arteta then has started with 1 draw and one loss and it is clearly too early to judge him yet. However the modern game has turned cruel at times and if Arsenal have not picked up and changed in a months time he will be judged by some.
Have the Arsenal board made the right decision and what is expected of Arteta this season? Well Arteta was one of the leading favourites to be appointed as Arsenal manager after Arsene Wenger had left the club after 22 years but instead the board chose Unai Emery, on paper that seemed like a fair choice. The board have now gone for Arteta, but again on what grounds?
Arteta has no top flight managerial experience however the one card he does have up his sleeve is that he has been Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City in the last few years and has stuck to the former Barcelona legend like glue. But surely management of your own team and making those decisions is quite a different job altogether? When one looks at the fact that Everton were able to lure Carlo Ancelotti one of the most decorated managers of the past 20 years and Arsenal make do with Arteta, one also wonders just how far the Gunners expectations have fallen.
Of course let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Arteta could well end up being a brilliant manager, but maybe Arsenal needed that experience and quality now and not to flourish slowly in the next few years. With the exception of Chelsea hiring Frank Lampard most big clubs go with experience. The other worrying aspect is that with new managers usually come the results. Look at Ancelotti at Everton and Nigel Pearson at Watford.
Arsenal are now 11 points from a top 4 position and it is quite clear that this season is a near write off in terms of the league. There are simply too many points and too many positions in between the clubs, and this league has been fiercely competitive this season.
Arteta’s objective is too surely get the club winning games again and make coming to the Emirates a fortress. The confidence factor has to be reversed. So forget league positions and cups, the priority has to be making Arsenal what Arsenal have been for the past 20 years, a very good attacking club.
On the little evidence that we have seen Arteta is in for a major job, and one has to wonder if he has been thrown in at the deep end? On New Year’s Day Arsenal will face Manchester United to begin their first game of a new decade, good luck Mikel, you will need it.
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