Mikel Arteta left his post as assistant to Pep Guardiola, and took over the helm at his former club Arsenal. Many believed this is what the Gunners needed to be revitalised, bringing in a fan favorite former player as manager.
However, there have been many ups and downs, and his reign as manager hasn’t gone as smoothly, or been as successful as many believed and hoped. But maybe, Mikel just needs time, and a squad revamp to take Arsenal back to the heights they were once at, and he wants you to back your team because he is fully behind them.
Even though Arsenal are currently not really challenging for top 4, or even top 6 at the moment, and they have just come off a loss against Brighton and Manchester City, these results can just be put down to not being fully in the swing of the new season after the restart.
If we take a look at Arsenal in general since Arteta has taken over, there are some clear aspects that have changed. Arteta has taken a page out of Pep’s book, and is trying to make Arsenal a team that is difficult to beat.
This doesn’t mean he is transforming them into a goal scoring machine, we’ll discuss that later, but more about the fact that he is trying to make them more solid defensively. This is an almost famous tactic of Pep.
Gaurdiola instills in his teams this need to get the ball off of attackers no matter what, it;s a strategy he has used at Barcelona, Bayern, and now City, if you can’t get the ball, foul the attacker, stop the play, reset.
You can see this strategy being used by Arteta and Arsenal when defending a counter attack, sure, it isn’t as effective as when a Guardiola team does it, but it is definitely helping Arsenal stay strong defensively, stronger than they were under Unai Emery.
What Arteta needs to do is to make Arsenal an attacking force again. His biggest problem is that he is heavily reliant on one strike, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. If Arteta plans on taking Arsenal to the top 4, and have them challenge for the title, he needs more than just Auba.
But once again, Arteta is trying to use a strategy of Guardiola’s to help Arsenal attack and win. While Emery had no clear plan, Arteta wants to make Arsenal harder to beat, as well as a team that relies on position and passing to make opportunities.
While other teams have a mixture of pace, great passers and incredible shot takers, Arsenal is struggling on all those fronts at the moment, and the solution is to keep position, keep the passes going, and then to score. Waring teams down is another classic Pep tactic, and this is obvious when you see how many goals Man City score in the last 20 minutes of games,
Considering how his time at Arsenal has panned out so far, some might say signing the £72 million former Lille player Nicolas Pepe was a mistake, with many believing Arsenal should have invested in 2 or 3 players, instead of one marquee signing.
This is another thing that Arteta will need to change before the next season. Arsenal need new talent, there are some players that just aren’t working out, and he has to play them because there aren’t suitable replacements.
They need a big, Virgil van Dijk type figure at the back and a Steven Gerrard, Kevin de Bruyne type midfielder that can run the show from the midfield, and give the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe the service they need to actually create and score goals. Mesut Ozil has had a few shining moments, but he hasn’t been a true Gunner for months now.
Even though Arsenal are struggling right now, playing in empty stadiums can be a positive. The Emirates has become a hostile environment, fans are unhappy at Mikel and the squad, and they make their thoughts known.
You can get the latest tv listings for when Arsenal play next for this season on this dedicated football streams page. This site either directs you to the official licensed providers such as Sky Sports, BT Sports, Amazon Prime, etc. They also have an app for managing YouTube clips, etc.
Arteta must use these remaining games as a time to clear his players’ heads. They have had a long break, and they are actually under less pressure than the teams above them, because they really don’t have much to play for.
Arsenal fans will be more than happy with Mikel and his men putting in solid performances, playing with passion, and winning, even if that doesn’t mean finishing in Europa or Champions League positions, it will change the mindset of the fans and the players.
Once this season is over, however, Arteta will need to take a serious look at the team, and make some tough decisions on who to put faith into, and who to cut. He needs to bring in established, top tier players, or Arsenal may end up languishing further.
Arteta has the experience, he has played with some of Arsenal’s best, and coached Man City’s best, he knows what his team needs, he just need to get the results, make the transfers happen, and take Arsenal back to the heights of the Invincible days even, because he has the passion and ability to transform this club, he just needs time.