The pressure is on for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. The young manager is having to endure endless questions and speculation about his spluttering side and his own future. At the beginning of this campaign, some considered that Arsenal were good enough to break into the top six but they are currently finding points and goals hard to come by.
Arteta is the subject of intense scrutiny and as each poor result unfolds, the doubters emerge from the shadows along with the “I told you so’s” to damn and dismiss him. All this amid rumours of unrest and disunity, coupled with the suggestion that Arteta is out of favour and at odds with his players.
For a manager with only a few years of managerial experience under his belt as Pep Guardiola’s number two, this sudden dip in good fortune must be a shock to the system. In football terms, once you are part of something successful, things tend to continue on a reasonably even path, with only the odd low point to contend with.
Arteta had seen Arsenal go from a compact, fairly competitive side with a great work ethic and team spirit, to a bewildering mix of individual talent with no common goals or sense of direction. At present, the Spaniard seems unable to arrest the slide and it’s difficult to see how this side are going to turn a considerable corner when they lack decisiveness and inventiveness on the pitch.
The performances have been dire to say the least, often offering up some form of attack and defence without looking remotely convincing in either department. There seems to be a lack of leadership and appetite or collective fight to solve the problems of a dysfunctional team.
In short, I can’t remember enjoying Arsenal less than I have so far, they are an uncomfortable watch! I can’t recall a time when I watched Arsenal in action and wanted to turn the TV off or felt so emotionally empty about a series of losses. I am generally a grump when they lose for about an hour or so, but defeat is now almost expected and my disappointment seems far easier to deal with these days.
The trouble is that fans like myself, who have had the privilege of watching vintage Arsenal sides under Arsene Wenger, are finding it even tougher under the Emery and Arteta regimes, with Arsenal continuing to be so far removed from the iconic football side they once were.
The transfer window offers some hope but be warned, money won’t solve all the problems and even though it’s clear Arteta has to bring in players that could help re-energise the squad, they may not be available or they may be way beyond his price range.
Arteta has been shown support by the club in the form of VINAI VENKATESHAM, but that could change if the club sit in the bottom three at the end of the festive period. Are the club going to be true to their word and support the Spaniard in the massive rebuilding project or are they going to react in the expected way by removing him from his post?
The key here is the relationship between the manager and players, if that’s broken, then Arsenal have no choice but to sack Arteta. If that relationship is intact, it’s likely they’ll sit tight because the options available to them are limited. This situation has been a long time in the making with poor managerial recruitment, lack of leadership in the boardroom, and a lack of investment on the pitch, none of which is the fault of Arteta’s, but will he pay the price?