Arteta: Can He Lead Arsenal to Glory?
Arsenal appointed Mikel Arteta as their new head coach three weeks ago which caused a stir in the football community, with some seeing him as the new savior of the Gunners, while others accepted Arteta as the new coach with some doubts due to his lack of experience as a head coach of a football club. He showed his tactical acumen when he reacted in the wake of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s red card in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
The doubts over Arteta’s ability to help Arsenal escape the hole they are currently in are completely justifiable, considering his lack of coaching experience, but that is not to say he is completely without any competence to do so either. At the end of the day, he was the assistant coach for Manchester City since 2016 and during that time helped Guardiola win two Premier League titles and two EFL Cups.
But is the former Arsenal midfielder the right man for the Gunners?
To be fair, it is way too early to give a definitive answer to that question, and it may take some time before we are able to say for sure whether his arrival improves Arsenal’s chances to finish among the top five or not. That being said, we already got a chance to see the new Arsenal in action, which gave us a glimpse into what Arteta wants to achieve, with a clearer picture set to appear in near future.
The first change Arteta brought with him, that is easy to spot is the new 4-2-3-1 formation he used in all four EPL fixtures since he took over. While he did change up the players game-to-game, the new formation stood firm throughout. That alone is an improvement, considering Unai Emery had the tendency to change his team’s formation, which resulted in lack of any consistency of Arsenal. There were occasions where Emery decided to switch the formation mind-game so it’s completely reasonable why Arsenal looked lost in the first half of the season.
Another visible attribute from Arteta’s arrival is that we can spot is that Arsenal became far more active when they are not with possession as they press like a pack of wolves hunting their prey. It is clear as a by-product of his formation, considering the Gunners play with much more coordination and finally look like a solid unit.
What’s more, is that Arteta experimented with new players in order to find the right mix which would get Arsenal the needed results. With a plethora of options in the attack, each with its own style, it is understandable it takes some time to find the right combination, yet it is nice to see Arteta is doing all in his power to give his players a chance to prove themselves.
Another important part to note are Arteta’s plans for the upcoming transfer window. As reported, he wants the club to sign a defender and a defensive midfielder, which is exactly what Arsenal need. Reportedly, Dayot Upamecano is on Arsenal’s shortlist and while bringing him to EPL might be tougher than expected, Arteta has the right mindset, seeing how Arsenal’s defence was mediocre, to say the least.
As stated before, it might be too early to say whether Arsenal will improve under Arteta in the long run, however, there are some clear signs Arsenal have started to play much better since December 20. As it stands now, Arsenal are 10th in the league with a 6-9-6 record and a 1-2-1 since Arteta took over, which includes a win against Manchester United in round 21.
It goes without saying, there is still a lot Arteta has to prove in the upcoming weeks and the gap of nine points Arsenal still need to close before making it to the top four will by no means be an easy task. That being said there is at least a clear indication that Arsenal are playing better, leading us to believe there is still hope for them.
Will that be enough, however, remains to be seen.
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