Since his appointment last December, the jury has been split between Arsenal supporters, with some in favour of Mikel Arteta and others not. Despite the reservations of the minority, the Spaniard has ended the slide under Unai Emery by fashioning a more competitive outfit. He even secured two trophies and beat some top teams in the process including Liverpool and Manchester City.
Yes, Arsenal are far from the finished article but this version is far better than the lacklustre, weak, and feeble side he inherited but apparently, that hasn’t been enough to enthuse the pessimists. Let’s rewind. Arteta was faced with a colossal task from the off and he inherited a terrible squad of individuals that performed erratically.
Mikel Arteta now has a golden opportunity to introduce his own players over the next two or three transfer windows and build the type of team that plays in the recognised Arsenal style. If you look at the situation back in December 2019, who else could Arsenal have employed that understood the DNA of the club as well as Mikel Arteta?
The Spaniard was part of a Wenger side that was one of the most visually exciting sides in football. Not the best Arsenal side of course, but one that respected the ethos and style often associated with the club. By nature of the football that he played and he enjoyed, coupled with the influences during his career such as Wenger and Guardiola, Arteta is the right man at the right time for this considerable challenge.
On reflection, how difficult was it to come into a season so late, then, have the considerable distractions inside the club and an enforced lockdown? How hard was it to reboot the season with the same players while trying to instil a spirit that could change the side’s fortunes?
Despite all of this, Arteta collected two trophies, not major trophies but trophies none the less. More importantly, he managed to qualify for the Europa League and introduced another source of much-needed revenue.
All in all, Mikel Arteta has justified his appointment as Arsenal head coach ten times over, with the workload of a manager and three coaches. If you want to pass judgement on the Spaniard, you might want to look at the situation in two seasons from now.
For me, it’s just the beginning.