What a difference a couple of months can make.
For a while, Arsenal seem to be headed towards a downward spiral in the Premier League standings as they kept on losing games that are supposed to be winnable since they have a good roster on paper.
But more importantly, if you’re a big fan over at the Emirates, you would notice that the players simply weren’t responding well to then-team boss Unai Emery who was not a great fit with the squad.
It got so bad that Emery was on the receiving end of boos and jeers from the crowd. And at the same time, the 48-year-old boss was “mercilessly mocked” by his stars with “good ebening” impressions that became an internet meme.
Unai Emery simply had to go and the Gunners went on to hire one of their own in Mikel Arteta who was a assistant for the visionary in Pep Guardiola back in Manchester City.
As of this writing, Arsenal have rose to ninth in the standings and are within striking distance for a Europa League spot next term. While it isn’t actually quite par to the club’s lofty standards, it is an encouraging start already for the 37-year-old manager.
Today in our SBOTOP blog, let’s talk and discuss about how Mikel Arteta is doing so far being the team boss of Arsenal.
Arteta was an exciting gamble for the Gunners
When Mikel Arteta announced his retirement in 2016, he was offered to coach for several Premier League clubs, namely Tottenham, Manchester City, and Arsenal.
It appeared that the job was his to lose especially when Arsene Wenger left the club after the 2018 season. But despite being shortlisted, Arsenal decided to go with a safer choice back then in Unai Emery.
It can be argued that he may have gotten cold feet which is why he chose Manchester City in the end, but there’s no doubt that his leadership skills were highly regarded by managers across the Premier League.
“I don’t want to say clubs but I have three very different options and I am very proud, because it is not common. I have been left the door very open at Arsenal and I may have to make a decision,” said Arteta at that time.
When Emery lost the dressing room and was relieved of his duties, the Gunners asked Freddie Ljungberg to step in as the caretaker. But still, Arsenal’s results remained poor.
The Gunners needed a new voice and they took a chance in bringing in Mikel Arteta despite not having any prior managerial experience.
Arteta took the challenge head on
Arteta was facing a daunting task coming in, as he would be needed to re-establish the club’s winning culture.
To start, he had to find a way to connect with the team’s stars in order for them to buy into his playing philosophies. Arteta had the unenviable job in dealing with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil who were left disgruntled during Emery’s time with the club.
Ozil wasn’t given much playing time the last time around, and he and Emery would often have a war of words for all the media to witness. Xhaka, who was simply standing up for his teammate, simply couldn’t take it anymore.
But under Arteta, both of them would be given a chance to redeem themselves, and they did as they found their stride for the past few weeks.
Victories against Manchester United and Olympiacos kickstarted their run and they have shown massive improvement every single game. With Ozil and Xhaka rejuvenated at the midfield, this gave guys like Alexander Lacazzette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang more opportunities to create some Premier League 2020 highlights.
What’s next for Arsenal?
If there’s one thing we can deduce out of this, it’s that Mikel Arteta is the right man for the job as he has brought hope to fans over at the Emirates.
Take a look at where Arsenal now – not only in the Premier League or in the Europa League but their identity as a team. He has brought everyone together and for sure they will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
The Spaniard has always been a leader even in his playing days, and he is quite aware that it will take some time to recapture past glory. But nonetheless, his arrival has been a godsend for Arsenal.
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