ARTETA AND THE MISSION TO MAKE ARSENAL GREAT AGAIN
These are certainly not the best of times for Arsenal Fans. Never has the mood around gooners been more gloomy than it has been in the last few months. It just seems as though dark clouds have permanently settled on this famous club and have refused to go. It wasn’t very long ago when Arsene Wenger stepped down from the exalted position he held as Arsenal Manager for over 2 decades giving way to a fresh face, Fresh Ideas in the form of 3 time Europa League winner and Spaniard Unai Emery. Oh back then things looked good. The club seemed on course into a new era as Fans United and the Club was winning games. But Fast forward to April this year Arsenal experienced some turbulence on its Flight towards Top 4. The club dropped points to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Wolves and missed out of a Champions league place by one point. The failure was palpable but there was a silver Lining, The Europa League Final against Chelsea in Baku provided a chance for redemption. Ending the season with a Trophy and a route back to the Champions League would be a good season end indeed. However Horror met the gunners in Baku Venue of the final as Chelsea destroyed them 4-1. This was the genesis of problems Unai Emery began to face in North London.
With No champions League to look forward to, Arsenal weren’t able to make meaningful impact in the Transfer Market apart from the Purchase of Nicholas Pepe a winger from Lille for e75M , David Luiz and Danny Ceballos on Loan from Real Madrid. Even at that the Team started well with a 1-0 win at Newcastle and picked up maximum points in its first 3 games before Liverpool halted that run. But then came that fateful game at Vicarage road Watford. Arsenal were up 2-0 and cruising to a win until things unravelled quickly and the gunners threw away the lead nearly even losing eventually to Watford but escaped with a 2-2 drew. That game dealt a body blow to Arsenal’s Confidence that showed a big sign that all was not well with the club. Now the club is in a terrible run of form in which they have managed to pick just 1 win in 13games since October 27th. Unai Emery has since been sacked and after an Interim period where Freddie Ljunberg stood in for 6games Mikel Arteta has now been announced as the new Arsenal Manager.
The Big question on the lips of all Arsenal fans is Can He get us out of this rut? He has never Managed at this level before..His only strong credential is that he has served as assistant to the great Pep Guardiola at Mancity for 3 years. However rave reviews about his personal attributes, work ethics, and attention to detail have swayed the North London club to take a gamble on him. After all they look at Frank Lampard of Chelsea who had only Managed fully at Championship level as reason to believe Arteta might be the right man.
Raul Sanllehi head of football speaking on friday said “I think he is a very experienced person, actually. He has an incredible experience of the Premier League, he knows it inside and out, he knows all the coaches, all the teams.
“He has been with arguably one of the best coaches in the world and he is not been having a passive role with him. On the contrary. He has been actively involved. I know that from him but I know that from many other sources. He had been a real part of that coaching team.
“It depends how you define experience. Definitely there is a risk, but it’s not from the experience side. The risk is intrinsic in any decision. You never know the whole thing until you try it.
“But we feel very confident with what we’ve heard to make a very clear decision for him. It was very clear.
Sanlehi (1st from left) with Arteta (2nd from left)
In fairness you could say another reason that swayed the decision in Arteta’s favor is because Arsenal is at a point where it needs serious rebuilding from bottom up not a fire brigade rescue mission. And in the thinking of the Club management such a rebuilding task can only be effectively done by a young Manager, preferably one who knows the club inside out. Arteta having played with Arsenal under Wenger from 2011 to 2016 certainly fit that description. He inherits a squad low in confidence but not lacking in Talent. Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe , Martinelli are players Most coaches will look forward to working with. But the fact the club is currently languishing in 11th place means the players are under performing and need a lift to get them firing again.
He said this during his first Press Confrence:
“There are some things that have to have a blueprint,” he said. “We have to have passion, we have to be dominant, we have to be aggressive. We have to play in the opponent’s territory as much as we want.
“I want the ball, I want to attack them as much as possible, I want to prevent them from attacking me as much as possible. But as well, I think we have to create the right culture around the club that’s going to make a good living out of the players, create an environment where everybody respects each other, a humility and people have to be accountable for what we want to achieve.
“That’s the basic and then after we can grow from there. Then we can create an identity that I have in my head for this football club. But we have to start somewhere to try to build that up.”
about the issues with the club and players:
“I have my ideas that I would like to keep to myself because I have to corroborate them when I see them act, when I see them behave, when I see them live together. I want to do things my way but by convincing them that’s it’s the right way for everybody to live better. Everybody has to respect each other first of all, and I want people who are accountable for what I’m asking for them to do. I don’t want them hiding, I want people to take responsibility for their jobs and I want people who deliver passion and energy in the football club. Anyone who doesn’t buy into this, or that has a negative effect or whatever, is not good enough for this environment or this culture. There are things to change, absolutely, because they’re not performing at the level that we expect them to. I will have to help them and to help them I need to know what’s happening, I need to understand how they’re feeling, what they’re lacking. If I get to reach that point, then I can help them. Then they will trust me and then they will follow me.”
Impressive words you will say but now the important thing is to actualize it. Can Arteta do it? can he become the Pep Guardiola of Arsenal? Only time will tell