It does not seem too long ago that social media was awash with debate.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Manchester United
Frank Lampard at Chelsea
Mikel Arteta at Arsenal
With 13 wins in his first 14 games, Arteta now has the highest win ratio of any permanent Arsenal manager.
He already has an FA Cup winners medal in his cabinet and his side top the league.
Lampard meanwhile was sacked at Chelsea and is now at struggling Everton, whilst Solskjær was sacked by Manchester United and has not been seen or heard of since.
Arteta won the debate.
It was also not too long ago that people were talking about Lampard and Steven Gerrard as the “new breed” of “special managers”, whilst Arteta was hanging onto his job by a thread.
With Garrard sacked by Aston Villa, it means Arteta has now outlasted both England “legends”.
Another debate won by Arteta.
And it is not only Arteta that is winning the argument, it is Arsenal.
Our downfall was being predicted left, right and centre 18 months ago.
Pundits were predicting that Leciester City would usurp as as a Premier League powerhouse.
Arsenal sit top, Leicester City sit second bottom.
Leicester had a good run, financed by far-Eastern duty free, but Covid19 has killed their owners finances and they will likely soon join Blackburn Rovers as foremer Premier League winners in the Championship.
Form is temporary, class is permanent.
And back to Steven Gerrard’s former club.
Summer of 2021, Villa fans were getting above themselves after finishing 11th the previous season.
They had already taken our best keeper Emiliano “15 appearances in 10 years” Martinez the previous summer, and were on the verge of poaching our highest rated youngster, Emile Smith Rowe.
With their owners amongst the richest in the Premier League, they were a club moving forward whilst we were in a downward spiral.
The “Villa project” was clearly a more attractive one than Arteta’s process at Arsenal (despite us having just won the FA Cup). And it was proven in the fact they were poaching our top players at will, whilst rejecting Manchester City’s pursuit of Jack Grealish.
Not to mention they had beaten us to the signing of Emi Beendia and signed long term Arsenal target Leon Bailey (who we were linked with about 5 years previous).
In the end, Smith Rowe stayed and Grealish left.
The recruitment of Steven Gerrard meant that they have the manager who could pull in the big players – highlighted by the recruitment of Coutinho in January. The only way was up for them.
11 months on from Gerrard’s appointment, they sit just outside the relegation zone.
Bailey has shown why no top team wanted him Buendia why he has been relegated twice with Norwich, and Coutinho remains the most overatted player of the last 10-years.
17th in the table, Gerrard sacked, whilst Arsenal lead the way.
Like Leicester, I guess we can put the Arsenal v Aston Villa debate to bed – I am still unsure why there ever was one?
Finally, back to Arteta.
He dumped Mesut Ozil. He dumped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Ozil is now warming the bench of some random Turkish team, barely getting a game due to his dicky back and lack of fitness, whilst Aubameyang was quickly dumped by Barcelona and his Chelsea career will go the same way this summer.
Whilst the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odergaard have provided us with the intensity that has driven us to the top of the league.
Like with Erik ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo, Mikel Arteta made it clear he wants players that will listen to him, learn from him, follow their instruction.
You often can not teach an old dog new tricks.
Ronaldo does not want to listen to ten Hag, Aubameyang and Ozil did not want to listen to Arteta.
It does not matter what you have achieved in the past, it is all about there here and now. And all 3 are dinosaurs of the modern game which is increasling becoming about team work ethic over individual brilliance.
Arteta has clearly won the debate over whether he was right or wrong to dump Aubameyang and Ozil.
W after W for Arteta, both literally and figuratively
We continue to move forward, whilst Solskjær, Lampard, Gerrard, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are being left behind, a distant blur in the wing mirrors.