Tag Archives: Mikel Arteta

On the March with Mikel Arteta’s Red and White Army

Is there anyone out there that still does not think Mikel Arteta is the right man to manage The Arsenal?

Arsenal have started this season where they finished off last – in fabulous form.

3 wins from the opening 3 games; 2 clean sheets.

The win over Leicester made it 6 wins in a row (if you count the victory of Liverpool in the Community Shield) and 8 wins in the last 9 games.

In that time we have won the FA Cup and Community Shield.

Arteta has now won 62.5% of all Arsenal games he has manage. For perspective:

When you consider where we were when Arteta took over, the turn around is remarkable.

Arteta’s first game was on 26th December – a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth.

Arsenal went into the game 11th in the table with just 23 points from 18 games (1.27 points per game) – 9 points off top 4.

In the remaining 20 games of the season, Arsenal got 33 points (1.65). Arsenal won the 6th most points in the league – just 1 less than Chelsea who gained 4th most.

We might have only ended up in 8th place, but that was more to do with what went on before Arteta under Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg.

Had we continued at 1.27 points per game, we would have finished 12th. Arteta’s 1.65 points per game would have been enough to see us 5th.

When you consider Arteta took over a team low on confidence, in poor fitness and without a game plan, the recovery was never going to be a quick one.

From January 1st, just 2 games after Arteta took over, Arsenal’s points per game shoots in to 1.77. That would have been enough to see us finish 4th.

So in the 18 games before Arteta took over, we were on course for 12th. In the last 18 games of the season, we showed top 4 form.

And it is not like Arteta had it easy during those games.

Under Arteta, Arsenal have face: Chelsea x 3, Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City x 2, Tottenham, Wolves and Liverpool x 3.

Of the 32 games he has overseen, 10 have been against teams that finished about us in the league. He certainly has not stay padded.

Arsenal have improved dramatically under Arteta.

You can see on the pitch we are fitter, playing to a plan, and players are engaged with Arteta. Listening to him. Following his instructions.

Compare this to Emery last season when players looked like they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

We are at the beginning of our journey under Arteta, and in upcoming weeks we trace to Liverpool, Man City and Man U.

But we have started this season in fantastic form. And having beaten Liverpool, Man City and Man U last season under Arteta, we can go into these games looking to get a result – not wondering how much we will lose by.

If anyone is not backing Arteta, then maybe football is not really for them.

Onwards and upwards with Mikel Arteta’s red and white army.


New Manager, New Goalkeeper, Renewed Hope over The Arsenal

Yesterday was a gay old day for Arsenal.

We awoke to the Adidas video. If this was not enough to warm the cockles of your heart ahead of the season, you might be best of sitting it out.

It is only this morning as I post the video back up that I realise it was a promotion video for the 3rd kit.

The video had its desired affect, and 98% of the fan base is now buzzing for Saturday. The less said about the 2% the better.

Then at 9pm last night, Arsenal dropped the news that Mikel Arteta had been promoted to manager.

This is a promotion of huge significance, and shows Arteta has the backing of the senior leadership team and board at Arsenal.

From head coach to manager means Arteta will now be involved in all aspects of the first team, not just the coaching. He will be more heavily involved in transfer, in building his own scouting team. Building the team in his mind. Not just coaching another mans vision.

Excellent news for those who do not like a Director of Football running the club.

At around the same time as the Arteta news was breaking, the Independent broke that Emi Martinez was set to join Aston Villa for around £15million.

The fee does feel a little light, but as it stands no other club is coming in for him.

With just 2 years on his contract to go, and Emi refusing to sign a new deal unless he had “guarantees of first team football”, Arsenal had 3 choices:

  1. Give Emi want he wants – Make him Arsenal number 1 after just 9 Premier League games. Casting aside Bernd Leno, one of our most consistent performers of the last 2 years. This would see Arsenal favour a 28-year-old keeper with just 15 top flight games under his over one with 300 games. It would be a huge risk.
  2. Risk Emi running down his contract – Tell Martinez that he will start the season as number one, but that he is not guaranteed that position. It is then a fair fight between Martinez and Leno for that number 1 shirt. This then risks Martinez dropping down to number 2, not signing a new deal and Arsenal selling for £5-6million next summer.
  3. Sell Emi – Even at £15million, Martinez is at the most valuable he has ever been at Arsenal. Last summer he was on the verge of a move back to Spain for about £3-4million. 9 league games on and Arsenal are trebling that. Sell, reinvest in someone cheaper, make Leno number one and have some cash left over.

And ultimately it is number 3 that seems to be happening.

Martinez wants first team football. He is 28-years-old now, in his peak years as a goal keeper. His 10 year career at Arsenal had giving him very little to shout about prior to this season.

A handful of games for The Arsenal and 6 loan deals taking from Oxford to Getafe, Wolverhampton, Rotherham, Sheffield and Reading.

For the first time in his career, he is in charge of his own destiny. He can choose whether to stay in London, compete for number 1 at Arsenal, or move to a club of his choosing and be undisputed number 1.

Life as a 2nd choice goal keeper is hard. You train hard, day in day out, only to sit on the bench for much of your career. Steve Harper famously went 6 seasons at Newcastle playing a total of 7 Premier League games.

In total, Harper was an unused substitute over 300 times!

Martinez wants first team football, and Arsenal should not step in his way.

Arsenal have reportedly enquired about David Raya as a replacement.

Raya is currently Brentford’s number 1, and played every game of the season in 2019/20 winning the Championship’s Golden Glove award.

Like Martinez, he is a foreign born, home-grown player; having been born in Barcelona but joining Blackburn at 17.

If Martinez leaves, Arsenal have no option but to replace him with a home grown player.

We currently have 18 non-home grown players, and with our remaining transfer targets being Ghanaian and French, that number could well become 20. We are only allowed 17.

So before even considering replacing Martinez, we already need to sell at least 3 non-home grown players to make space for 2 incoming. Signing a non-home grown 2nd choice keeper would just feel like a waste of a spot.

Once it is established that Arsenal will need a home grown keeper to replace Martinez, the list becomes a lot smaller. Tom Heaton of Aston Villa or Fraser Forster at Southampton would be two potential options. But both have suffered with injuries recently and would very much be a short term solution.

Joe Hart could have been in there, but he has joined Tottenham.

We are not going to spend big on someone like Nick Pope or Jack Butland, and neither would probably want to leave their current clubs to sit on the bench for Arsenal.

In Raya, Arsenal would be signing a 25-year-old keeper that is home grown, previously worked with Arsenal goal keeping coach Inaki Cana and set-piece specialist Andreas Georgson at Brentford and has played over 280 games in England.

Raya ticks a lot of boxes, and would cost significantly less than what we would receive for Martinez. That in turns raises funds to continue improving elsewhere on the pitch.

For those who might say “he is only 6ft”, Brentford had the best record in defending set pieces last year. You do not do that if you do not have a goal keeper who can not command his box.

A final thought of the day: If you are sitting moaning about Arsenal’s transfer activity this summer, labelling the club unambitious, go through your own Tweets first. Wanting to sell Aubameyang and sign Ryan Fraser is onot exactly showing ambition.

Have a good Friday. The Arsenal return tomorrow.

PS: Just wish Adidas would learn it is “The Arsenal”.


Arteta’s debut full season starts today

Today is the first day of the 2020/21 season, with the traditional Community Shield season opener

This season will be a defining one for Mikel Arteta. It is the young Manger’s first time taking charge for an entire season.

Everything we have seen from Arteta so far displays clarity of thought and decisive execution of plans. This is how he made us effective in the FA Cup run, ending with a trophy after just 7 months as a manager. Impressive stuff, which means we can assume that despite the unique lack of preseason, Mikel will have a clear plan on how he wants the season to go for is. Whatever happens, I think this means we can be extremely excited for the upcoming season.

It appears Arsenal have every intention of giving the Manager the tools that he needs to get back into the Champions League. Of course we’ve all been burned before and know, you can’t be sure with Arsenal until the transfer window is closed. With Gabriel’s arrival, the Brazilian CB from Lille, to be imminently announced, Arteta is after specific pieces to fit his jigsaw.

With Gabriel, Saliba and Mari(when back from injury), Arteta will have added height, power, passing range, and speed in the middle of defence. This should provide him with the flexibility to move between having three CBs or two.

The midfield is definitely the area where we have the most question marks about what Arteta wants us to look like in the new season. It’s no secret Arsenal are on the hunt for additions in the midfield. The stats for last season show the lack of creativity from the middle of the park.

The eye test has also told us for years that we lack stature, bite, control and aggression in our central midfield. For Arsenal to get back into the top for and challenge the best teams in England, this needs to be addressed.

For now, we still have yet to make space available and get cash in by selling. It remains to be seen the exact midfield specialists Arteta will have to pick from this season, but it is vital they give us the stability and balance to play the way Arteta wants to play.

With the likes of Elneny, Torreira and Guendouzi potential departing the club, will we be replenishing the midfield with the right profile of player.

Will Arteta still see Granit Xhaka as a nailed on starter?

Xhaka was relied upon by Arteta last season, its clear there is a lot of trust there.

Arteta is an intelligent man, he’ll be well aware of Xhaka’s glaring weaknesses. This makes it interesting to see how he plans to use Xhaka, the fans won’t accept his lack of mobility and handsy nature taking centre stage in the new season.

We’ve all seen it too many times and now we’re pinning are hopes on Arteta to really address these problems, tactically and with brave selections.

Another engaging element of Artetas first full season, is that he gets to hopefully benefit from Pepe having got his debut year in England out the way.

Arsenals record signing ended the season with a great performance in the FA Cup Final and will no doubt be anxious to kick on and fulfill his undoubted potential. It is Arteta’s job to make sure our best players are given a platform to thrive.

It seems Pepe has bought into the project and can be motivated to do the hard work in addition to proving quality in the final third. Now the fans want to see it consistently. Arteta appears to be a man with a plan, and intense and motivating figure.

We can eagerly await to see Arteta’s Arsenal revolution in full effect this season