First things first: Mikel Arteta’s job remains one of the safest in the Premier League.
There is no evidence of any upset in the boardroom, and only an epic Gunners season surrender would change that stance. And even that may not be enough to turn them. Arsenal is fully invested in the Arteta project.
They recognize his potential and believe that his career – and the club’s assets – will be on an upward trend.
Mikel Arteta’s brilliant start at Arsenal has gone downhill with five league losses this season
Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to the Wolves means they have only won one in their last six league bouts
Meanwhile, their rival Tottenham has made a great start to the season and is currently at the top
But while the people who mattered stay on board, others begin to ask questions about Arteta’s lack of experience. After all, this is his first managerial role.
Some wonder if an unwavering commitment to his brand of possession-based football with the players at his disposal is simply not possible.
A social media scan would suggest that some backers are already convinced that Arteta is not the right man for the job. “So unfair,” said Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin on Friday.
Winning the North London Derby on Sunday would help appease an inconsistent fan base. The squad will ask its own questions. How can a side that was so encouraging at the start of 2020 tolerate such a downturn?
What you shouldn’t doubt is Arteta’s work ethic. The Spaniard leaves no stone unturned to arrest Arsenal’s alarming form. For example, Arteta sent bespoke dossiers on Arsenal’s signings ahead of this season so they understood exactly what was expected of them.
Similarly, he spent the international hiatus meticulously devising a strategy to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to shoot again.
Concerned that his captain was spending too much time away, Arteta spent day and night working out a plan to get his talismanic striker to central areas where he would deal maximum damage.
“The way Mikel plans these games … all the knowledge he gives us before we step on the field is second to none,” said Bellerin.
Not that it worked out with Aubameyang, who hasn’t scored a goal in the open game since beating Fulham 4-0 on opening day.
Management must have been a lot easier back then. Just weeks before that Craven Cottage win, Arteta had led his team to a euphoric FA Cup win before beating Manchester City in the Community Shield when hope jumped forever. But a little over three months later, Arteta navigates negativity for the first time.
Chris Sutton picked his combined team ahead of Arsenal’s game against Tottenham
Doubts arise – and how Arteta deals with them will be fascinating. A win and a draw in their last six Premier League games put Arsenal in 14th place. They only scored twice in that sequence and one of those goals came from the penalty spot.
The fact that arch-rivals Tottenham are at the top of the pile makes their position even more unbearable. The 4-1 victory of the Europa League on Thursday against Rapid Vienna gave rise to hope that Arsenal would soon turn around. But as Arteta approaches the first anniversary of his managerial career, problems arise.
The difficulties on the pitch – especially in front of the goal – are obvious. However, if you dive a little deeper, you find that the problems aren’t limited to performances.
A missed Covid test by a player again gave Arteta unnecessary headaches, as did a clash between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos on the training ground, which was triggered when Luiz complained about the harsh treatment perceived by his teammate from the club’s academy players.
The upheaval in management did not help either. The sudden departure of soccer boss Raul Sanllehi in August left a significant hole.
The reasons behind Sanllehi’s exit are uncertain but there is a feeling that Arsenal are missing the Spanish administrator’s understanding of modern football. You could certainly miss his contact book in future transfer windows.
Some Arsenal supporters are convinced that Arteta is not the man for the job in the Emirates
Arteta needs its greatest players to improve their game, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Chairman of the Board Vinai Venkatesham is a hugely popular figure at Arsenal and is said to be impressive as he grows into the role of the club’s figurehead at the boardroom level.
Technical Director Edu’s power base has also grown since Sanllehi left, but according to certain sources there is a feeling that Sanllehi’s influence is being missed.
As Bellerin admitted, “There are obviously questions and we are not on the right track.” However, if you plan to change the identity of the team or club, you are changing behavior, not just on the field, but cannot do it overnight. “
Arteta’s treatment of Mesut Ozil and Sokratis, two high-profile professionals ignored by the Arsenal manager, also raised eyebrows. It is fair to say that players often do not like it when their teammates are ostracized.
It is agreed that Ozil’s failure to do so comes with bonuses in his contract of £ 350,000 per week.
Sportsmail expects Ozil’s deal to include lucrative win and appearance bonuses. But the decision to lock out Ozil – a great playmaker on his day – left many scratching their heads due to a lack of creativity.
The style of football Arteta (38) is trying to implement is easy to understand – build from behind, hold the ball and wait for the right time to strike. It’s similar to what Pep Guardiola developed in Manchester City.
Arteta will want an increase in performance as his team struggled during their 2-1 loss to the Wolves
Arteta was a big part of City’s recent success in his role as Guardiola’s No. 2, and it’s only natural that he’s influenced by his work on Etihad.
Indeed, it’s a trick Guardiola himself used to send tactical dossiers to potential recruits, as Arteta did this summer.
But at some point a manager has to find his own way, his own style and his own approach. Trying to mimic Guardiola’s teams has been fraught with difficulties, not least because the Arsenal squad lacks the quality and depth of Citys.
The signing of the towering center-back Gabriel from Lille looks excellent. his comfort on the ball surely sings to Arteta’s melody. Thomas Partey, who may return after an injury against Spurs, also has the qualities to excel in Arteta’s system. But that’s not the case for many in the squad, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
There is a feeling that Arteta needs to play the hand that was given to him and capitalize on the strengths of the players before gradually introducing his own ideas. “You can’t reinvent the wheel without the right tools and materials,” said a well-placed source.
Beating Jose Mourinho’s team on Sunday and it would be a case of “crisis, what crisis?”