If there’s one thing I really don’t understand about Mikel Arteta it’s his reluctance to go just that one step further with the younger players. Instead he persists with the ageing players or those who just aren’t returning the faith he puts in them. Blind faith in certain cases and that blind faith is doing nothing but put more pressure on himself and perhaps the board even.
I know we’re told about the process, the plan, the insistence that Arsenal will soon shine again. Mikel’s words not mine. But the way things are going, the days of shining appear to be a long long way away.
Whilst I’m having a moan, I kind of get why Arteta opts for experienced players because sometimes it’s that very thing which gets a club through difficult fixtures, however, when it’s clear to everyone and anyone watching, that for certain players when it’s just not their night, month or season for that matter, why does it take him so long to make changes, especially in Europa as he has five substitutes available?
The tie against Slavia Prague really is hanging by a thread after conceding an away goal after very sloppy defensive work. Arteta said the problem arose because of the corner his team had conceded, fine, but what about the defensive frailties which followed. His Arsenal team have gone from having one of the meanest defences in the Premier League to a team which looks nervous and twitchy every time an opposition bears down on its own goal.
Personally, I think our defensive issues start with Bernd Leno whose become a bit of a flapper. He’s conceding goals through his legs and when I saw the goal we conceded against Slavia Prague, I’m sure he flinched away from the ball as it came at it. When Arsenal were at their best last season, certainly during our FA Cup journey, we had a keeper who I believe was trusted wholeheartedly by his defence and that in my opinion is crucial to any team. What was the first thing both Guardiola and Klopp did? Yes, sign a top top keeper, yet Arsenal sold a darn good keeper for peanuts. A dreadfully poor decision made by Arteta and Edu.
Keeping hold of Luiz, Willian, Aubameyang, Pepe and Lacazette this summer would be more bad decisions. Just sell them to any club who makes an enquiry about them. For peanuts if that’s what it takes.
He is at the centre of a new era for Arsenal that they hope will come to fruition and improve over time. They are building the project around him. The technical Edu and the owners, the Kroenkes, they hope that with time and with transfer markets – plural – that Arteta will prove to be the right man for them.
He clearly needs different players and rejuvenated players. He needs to keep building that squad in a way that is moulded to his desire, otherwise it’s not going to work. He appears to be a really good coach, from people we speak to he is really highly rated, but I think Arsenal have a lot of work to do in the transfer market. In terms of Arteta he is at the centre of what they are doing and their faith is follow behind him.
If the club truly believe in Mikel Arteta and I can understand why they do, I’d have thought now, or certainly in a few of the fixtures remaining, is a chance for him to prepare for next season. Start giving more younger players minutes and see what they’re made of. I don’t mean throwing them all in at once, of course that would be stupid but if ESR has to come off, replace him with more energy. If Lacazette is subbed, replace him with Balogun and start with Martinelli for goodness sake. He’ll run his legs off and even then he’ll still give more than Willian.
These younger guys will be Arsenal’s future, or certainly some of them I’d have thought. Players who do little but try and undermine Arteta with their shoddy performances are not.
We play again tomorrow against bottom of the League Sheffield Utd. Goodness only knows what to expect from this Arsenal team although I think we’ve been marginally better away from The Emirates this season. I’d love to see Mikel Arteta play a younger and more energetic team.
A bit of a ramble I know but in my head, it made sense. Honest…
See you in the comments.