Mikel Arteta continues to do a good job at Arsenal. Yes, they’ve lost games, but they’re far from the finished article. Of all the games this season, perhaps the one that shows Arsenal’s progress under the Spaniard was the game against Liverpool. They were beaten, but it was the manner of the defeat that impressed pundits, particularly Jamie Carragher, who afterwards tipped the Gunners for a top 4 position. Unlike previous trips to Anfield when Arsenal were obliterated, this time round they stayed in contention with Liverpool up until the final few minutes.
The project will take more than a season and a bit, of course. But will it eventually come to fruition? There’s hope — and here’s why.
They’re Going To Win More
They’re going to win more games than they have in the past few seasons, and that’s a fact. You only need to look at the way that Arteta is setting the side up, both defensively and in attack, to see that. It’s all about finding the balance. Oddly, it seems to be in the attacking area where Arsenal are struggling.
A surprise, given the talent that the team has at its disposal. So what’s up? It’s a lack of form from the big man up front. All players go through dips in form from time to time. Unfortunately, that’s just what’s happened to Aubameyang since he signed his new big-money contract. Mikel Arteta can set his team up for victory, but there won’t be too much hope if his strikers aren’t delivering the goods. Not only has Aubameyang failed to get on the scoresheet since putting pen to paper, but he’s also having far fewer shots on target — and that will be a concern. The silver lining could be that the Gabon international is getting his dry spell out of the way. Talent and quality will always come through in the end, and you suspect there’ll be a lot of people using free bet offers to back the striker to get on the scoresheet during the next few games. And when Aubameyang does rediscover his scoring touch, you imagine the future of Arsenal will look even brighter.
Big Star Attraction
How many players have Arsenal missed out on in recent times? There was, of course, the matter of having to pay for the new stadium, which kept the purse strings shut. But you could also feel like it was a bigger problem than that. Big players weren’t as interested in going to Arsenal as they used to be. Now, the tide seems to be turning. Thomas Partey finally signed, and was that due to the Arteta factor? And then Willian joined too. You imagine that if Arsenal have a good season, then the Arteta project will become even more appealing to some of Europe’s elite players. There’s a level of respect for Arteta that probably wasn’t given, rightly or wrongly, to Unai Emery.
Mikel Arteta brings a lot of qualities to the side, some of which he acquired from his time at Manchester City. Others he acquired during his time as captain of the clubs he played for. One skill that we’re beginning to see in action is his player-management. The Mesut Ozil situation was always going to hang about the Spaniard’s neck because it just couldn’t be ignored. He’s a sensational player on his day, but those days are becoming too few and far between. Arteta will know the damage that a gifted player with an attitude problem can do to a club. And so it looks like Ozil is out unless anything drastic changes. All great managers lay down their mark. They get rid of great players even when they’re still capable of producing because it’s the right time. Is this what Arteta has done?
We’ll find out soon enough. But in all, it’s fair to say that the signs are looking good.