With the Gunners knocked out of the Europa League and currently sitting ninth in the table, four points behind Spurs, Arsenal is a club that needs a complete overhaul in the off-season.
At the time of writing, many Arsenal fans are calling for Mikel Arteta’s head and want him out already as Gunners manager.
After the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Aston Villa, it is understandable that many fans have directed their anger at the Spaniard. It was a game where he simply got everything wrong. From formation to his line-up and tactics, it was just bad, and the thing is that is it going to happen from time to time.
We cannot expect Arteta to get it right every single game, there will be mistakes and we simply must deal with it as we are still a work in progress.
Now back to the Arteta out crowd. That is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to the Villa result and while fans have every right to be upset, their want for Arteta to be sacked is simply misplaced anger for me. We must give him the time to get it right.
When we look at Liverpool now, everyone thinks of Premier League champions and European giants, however, it was not always like that under Jurgen Klopp. Especially in his first year in charge, it was quite the opposite. In Klopp’s first year as Liverpool boss, they finished eighth in the table, winning 16, drawing 12 and losing ten and they did not win a trophy. He was not exactly setting the Premier League on fire.
Then you look at his second year in charge when he had a couple of transfer windows to get all the deadwood out and had another preseason to get his playing style across to the squad. That year he got Liverpool back into the top four, they finished fourth, one point above us as we finished fifth.
Again no trophies in two years for Liverpool, yet fans understood that they were still a work in progress, much like we are now.
Let us look at Pep Guardiola’s first year in charge of Manchester City. Now you cannot really compare the two as City’s squad was far superior to ours but still, in his first year like Klopp there was no silverware and City finished third in the league. Then in his second year, after he was given a couple of transfer windows and another preseason you could see the difference. City went on the win the Premier League and the League Cup in his second year so we can see what giving the manager time can do.
Now we look at our record so far under Mikel Arteta. He has been in charge of 42 matches, we have won 26, drawn six and lost ten and we average around two points a game under his watch and do not forget he has only been in charge for 11 months. He has yet to have a full Premier League campaign under his belt either. We currently sit 11th in the league table with four wins and four losses and this is where the fans’ anger stems from.
Do not get me wrong, it is frustrating when we see how our team played away to Manchester United and then to see what they dished up at home to Aston Villa. However, the harsh reality is that we are in a developmental stage now and it is not going to be smooth sailing, there will be highs like our cup wins and then there will be bad results like the Villa one.
We just simply must give Arteta time to turn the club around because the shape that Unai Emery left it in was an absolute shambles. Also, Mikel is being asked to essentially turn us into a top-four side with basically the same squad as the one that faulted under Emery apart from the Gabriel Magalhães and Thomas Partey signings.
Now yes, there will be times where Arteta gets it wrong, all managers do and then there will be times where he gets it right and that is all just part of the long journey that we as a club are on right now.
For many, team selections have been an area where many questions have been raised and rightly so. Personally, Willian should make way for Pepe for a couple of matches and perhaps give young William Saliba a go, even Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson too. Most would agree that they more than deserve their chance after numerous first-team players have well and truly underperformed.
Arteta has only really had one full transfer window to work with, and look at what he did. He brought in Gabriel and Partey, two players who have already shown their superb ability and how they made Arsenal’s defence and midfield better. So, we can only speculate as to who Arteta could bring in during the January window and then the following summer window, we will get a true indication of how the club is going by then.
All I am asking is for our passionate fanbase to stick with Mikel Arteta. Yes, there will times where we love what is happening and then there will be times where we question what is going on but at the end of the day, we must trust in what he is trying to do and trust in the process.
Easier said than done, but be patient my fellow Gooners because much like Klopp and Liverpool, it could well be worth the wait.