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Why sacking Mikel Arteta would be a mistake

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2nd December, 2020

So, the feelings us fans felt after the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers have subsided somewhat.

Although the loss at the Emirates is still fresh in the mind of some and Mikel Arteta has been the focal point.

Many fans are calling for Arteta’s head and while recent results give some merit to that opinion, what else do we expect him to do?

Listening to correspondent Charles Watts this morning, he said something that echoed what I have been saying for weeks now: this is still very much Unai Emery’s team. Out of the 11 that played against Wolves, nine were players that underperformed during Emery’s reign as Gunners manager.

The two Arteta signings in the side – Gabriel and Willian – were the only changes and you could make the point that aside from his opening day performance against Fulham and the first half against Wolves, Willian has not done anything to justify his selections. That only leaves Gabriel and what a signing he has been, a great bit of business.

We have seen how Thomas Partey changes the dynamic of our side and his injury, which will keep him out until the new year, is a significant blow to us. The pairing of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos does not work, yet Arteta is forced to play them and the only other realistic option is Mohamed Elneny. While solid enough, do these three make the grade as Arsenal players?

Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey is a huge recruit for Arsenal. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

While some want Arteta out, the fact is he simply does not have the correct players at his disposal to play the way he wants. Rather, he has to play to the cattle he has and that is the big difference.

Now, Arteta is not without fault in all of this. As a manager, it is up to him to find solutions when things are going south like they are now. Since he took over, you could easily argue the point that this is the first time he has hit a bump in the road and has faced serious pushback from fans.

Is there discontent in the dressing room with the Ozil situation? Possibly, as players all speak so highly of him. Is there a chance that Mikel has made a mistake? Potentially, yes, however, our troubles are not solely down to missing the German.

As Charles Watts stated about our captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, everything about his performance against Wolves just didn’t smell right. From his body language, to his physical efforts, and even his apparent attitude toward goal scoring chances, it was just all off. For whatever reason, he is simply not at it at this point and that is extremely concerning.

So where do you begin when you are trying to turn the ship around?

Some fans have short memories when it comes to our recent managers. With Arsene Wenger, we played superb attacking football, yet always conceded numerous goals in big chunks (the multiple beltings to Liverpool and Manchester City spring to mind). So with a new manager, everyone wanted some defensive steel.

Then there was Unai Emery who had his purple patch, the 20-odd games unbeaten run, however, that quickly came crashing down, and yet again we were far too easy to score against and fans still wanted us to be stronger at the back.


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Then there’s Arteta.

Mikel Arteta at an Arsenal practice match

Mikel Arteta (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

He has added the defensive steel, but at the cost of our attacking, flowing football, so in correcting one problem, he has created another. He needs to be able to find a happy medium between the two.


It is going to take far more than a measly ten or 11 months for Mikel to turn it around. After all, do fans remember what state the club was in when Emery left? It was an absolute shambles.

The main thing that concerns me is the fact that now Arteta’s honeymoon period is over, the FA Cup and Community Shield wins only give you so much leniency with the fans.

Is there time to turn it around? Absolutely there is and I, for one, firmly believe he is the right person to take us forward. He just needs time to be able to get the players he wants, not trying to work miracles with players who have underperformed for over a year now.

Time heals everything, however, I have this nagging feeling that if we succumb to Spurs and put in a horrible showing yet again, the knives will be out, and the board may be forced into action.

Results have been poor and so have performances, but surely Mikel Arteta at least deserves another transfer window or two to make it right? Judge him in a year and see where the club is at, then you can decide.

I’ll either be proven right or wrong, but sacking him not even a year into the job would be the worst thing the club could do.