Indulge me in an analogy. Anyone can learn guitar, but rarely is the pupil capable of being better than the tutor. Let’s also consider the quality of the guitar when it comes to offering up a decent performance. Where’s all this going? It’s simple really, apply this analogy to Mikel Arteta and it begins to make sense.
The Spaniard has been in the company of Wenger and Guardiola in his career and that will surely stand a pupil in good stead when it comes to cutting their managerial teeth but, the core values, philosophy, systems, and tactics are individual to the two more famous and revered managers, they can’t be copied and aren’t transferable.
You can loan an idea, take something and expand it to make it your own, but it depends on a great many things if it’s to become successful. It also depends on the personnel in question, Guardiola and Wenger didn’t have to work extensively when they were surrounded by a wealth of quality and talent, where each individual was capable of imposing themselves on a game over 90 minutes.
Mikel Arteta doesn’t have that luxury. Therefore, trying something that one has seen will not generally yield the same results and from an Arsenal perspective, they aren’t what they were and they certainly aren’t Manchester City. It’s a case of going back to the drawing board for Arteta after a season that showed naivety and inexperience, in short, to borrow from a James Brown song, Arteta needs a brand new bag.
(“brand new bag” meaning new interest, taste, or way of doing something)
It’s unlikely that Arsenal are going to spend phenomenal amounts in the summer and the need to make do will still haunt the Emirates for a season or two to come, so Arteta needs to work on what he has or develop what’s waiting in the wings and somehow find a way of making it fit together as a force. That’s some bag that the Spaniard needs, but it’s better to start preparing a different route to an objective than find that someone else is going to be given the challenge of doing so.
Mikel Arteta has the makings of a decent coach/manager and no job in top-flight football will be as tough as the one he currently has, but he’s now under the microscope and under the cosh to put Arsenal’s crumbling castle back together, even with some of the bricks missing.
He has to stop trying to be a revolutionary or tactical genius and get results against much better opposition. I am not a fan of the endless tactical information, fitness printouts, and personal data, it counts for nothing if you can’t score goals or worse still, can’t stop conceding them.
The game now needs scientists and therapists galore, but all that flummery won’t win you a trophy or prevent a side losing 4-0 at a soggy Turf Moor. The basic values are being lost in general and are being replaced by pie charts and bar charts.
You tend to need a legendary quote from a football legend at a time like this but I’m going to give you two, a sort of try one, get one free
“Football is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better” – Bill Shankly
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” – Johan Cruyff
I doubt Mikel Arteta will find a bag that doesn’t need these simple philosophies.