The One Player to Benefit from Arteta’s Arrival and the One He Needs to Buy

Or Does he Need to Buy?!

Arsenal are compartmentalised and the middle and back are not working. I think that succinctly sums up the problem we have at Arsenal and the main challenge Mikel Arteta – if it is him to take over from Freddie – has to face.

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We can argue about the wisdom of appointing an inexperienced manager in the middle of winter and with the team in real trouble, but if it is indeed MA we have to get behind him and support him through all the growing pains he certainly will encounter. Let there be no doubt that the team is in a psychological mess and there  will be no time for soul searching as the games will come thick and fast. In my view, MA will have to do three things between now and the end of the season with our more than decent squad: turn the compartments into a team, get 18 points at least to avoid relegation, and work on a system of football that suits Arsenal and will become the red-print for years to come.

The good news is that Arteta was a very good midfielder, in fact he was part of the best midfield-duo ever since Cesc left us for the charms and seductions of the Catalonian Giants: Song-Arteta. We have an Arteta: Granit Xhaka, but we do not have a Song. Or do we? In January, the club will have to find a Song, unless of course Arteta can turn either Torreira, AMN or Willock into a Song.

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Xhaka is only 27 and he already played 350 games for club and country (with already 82 caps for his national team alone). Every manager he worked with rates him and plays him all the time. Many fans don’t get it but that’s why managers first have to do a course or two before they can call themselves one.

Like Mikel he is not the fastest, and he is prone to a mistake or two, but he has so many qualities that are rare and vital to a midfield. Xhaka haters will have to get used to the Swiss maestro being used constantly again, but I reckon you will get to love him once more (together with Auba and Laca he was given the most MOTM awards last season after all).

I have no doubt that Granit will love working under Arteta and that he will become pivotal again. But he will need to be paired up with a Song type of midfielder and I reckon that is the one player he will need to buy….

Or could it be that David Luiz could be our Song this season?

A Xhaka-Luiz midfield with Ozil or Torreira in front of them could just give us back the balance in midfield we so desperately need. Come to think about it, Luiz has the physical and passing qualities of Alex Song with the same ability to defend and move forward with the ball. We may even see Song-like balls over the top and into the box from midfield and the likes of Laca or Auba finishing them in a Van Pudsie way…

Whatever Mikel will do, I reckon we will benefit from his central midfield experience and ability to make the whole team play as a team in just a few games time, and this will do miracles. Much more we cannot ask for this season, and that is fine with me.

By TotalArsenal.

22 thoughts on “The One Player to Benefit from Arteta’s Arrival and the One He Needs to Buy

  • I agree with you TA. We need a “Song” type of player and I feel that Tor is a Flams type of player. But the issue is that we are quite low in numbers in defense and moving Luiz up might be detrimental to the way we play.

    We also needed a player that can be like Rambo. Ceballos does not seem to be the one that can carry the team on his shoulders and overturn a losing game into a win, which Rambo does.

    Pardon me, TA, but I have to let off some steam here regarding the players we have sold but at a huge cost. Here is the list of players we had sold this summer but left Emery and Fred with a huge disadvantage. They are the players that have a huge heart and is able to tell the team to play better or to move the ball quicker:

    1. Rambo
    2. Nacho “Mr Arsenal” Monreal

    Apparently only 2 made the list. The other players that we had sold is either not good enough or had been underused, but we should have never let Rambo leave and sold Nacho. Last season with them we were doing well. This season without them we were down in the dumps.

  • We need arsenal players making space off the ball to receive and constantly on the move. And buy Denis Zakaria and Sander Berge plus Dayot Upamacano.

  • TA … interesting post. Everything is pointing to Arteta being our next coach. His lack of experience doesn’t worry me. Emery was full of experience and track records and seemed to have offered nothing. Am just hoping that the senior members of our squad would buy into his project. If that is to be, Arteta would be a success. He has been fascinated with coaching all his life and that would have opened the right faculties.

    The midfield is by far our weakest area. They leave vast spaces that every team is able to waltz through, the reason for all the shots we concede. Not only that they are unable to progress the ball well enough to our forward men. Arteta, if he is appointed has to start there and in the short term, agreeing with TA, Luiz should be one of the ways to go. I also like the energy and focus of ESR.

  • This needs one originally trained DM and some one who can act like a leader in defense just one to mix up with what we have currently things will be okey and arteta will get it easy to set the team and find the balance we were looking for.

  • Where is everybody?

    From everything I read it seems that Arteta will be named as our new coach as early as Thursday and will be in charge of the Everton game. It would be good for all concerned if it is a quick decision and although I was hoping for an experienced coach I will be more than happy to support Arteta.

  • Good thought, TA.

    I’m not obsessed with big money spending in general. And for a hardcore DM I would definitely not break the bank, because we still have the world’s 4th-6th most valuable U23 defensive midfielder, who was #2 before Emery messed him up. (And I don’t think Rodri would worth almost twice as much as Torreira, but we bought the Uruguayan for 25M whil Man City paid 63M for Rodri.
    So I don’t think Zakaria or Declan Rice would be an upgrade over Lucas, but it would be a promising pairing and mentoring nevertheless if Xhaka would be playing along with Denis Zakaria.
    The only position I would be willing to break the record signing fee is the attacking midfield. Independent from Ozil would be sold, released or have a swan song year left he needs a world class successor, and Smith-Rowe is not yet there. So the 2 players I would be delighted to be signed in the winter or next summer would be either Kai Havertz, or Donny van de Beek. They would show Delle Alli and James Maddison who their daddy really is. 🙂

    Regarding the other positions, I think we are well covered at goalkeeping, I have faith in the full backs (Kolasinac could be a patient #2 behind Tierney, and we can deputize AMN and Chambers as backup RBs, but if we would sign a big money right back, Bellerin would surely leave – in fact he might still leave as Barcelona is closing in).
    The center backs portfolio is a controversial topic. I think Sokratis and Luiz have only a year and a half in them (per contract and per competence), but they can mentor the next generation, and in a few years we will have to rely on Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos, Saliba (with potentionally Medley, Ballard and McGuiness), but I won’t mind signing promising starlets for 2-20M but not the Upamecano type 90M transfer for an uncapped player.
    Midfield was properly covered in TA’s post – albeit I’m not too optimistic in the next wave Academy CMs (Burton, Smith, Olayinka); however the U18 team is quite strong in that area: Cottrell (18), Azeez and Pathino (both 16) are expected to fulfill great careers, so Willock, Guendouzi, AMN and ESR should watch their backs. 🙂 Arteta could properly test Ceballos, because Real Madrid seemed open for selling him, but for a hefty price. So it would only make sense, if he indeed could be the next Santi Cazorla.
    Regarding attackers the time is on Arteta’s side. I’m quite sure we have the best supply of – very – young wingers as well as attackers. Saka and Martinelli are only 18, Nelson (my favorite) is only 20, Pépé with his 24 years is the senior of the group. While Nketiah’s loan spell is quite disappointing with regards to minutes played, he still has enormous potential, and we have Balogun, John-Jules and Greenwood in the queue.

  • Um Pb, our midfield is weak because we do not have a Song type of player. Douzi had glimpses of it, but not enough to stake his claim. Luiz has a better head, and can pass the ball better.
    Willock is staking his claim to be a world class AM, but he needs more support from Auba and Laca to drop deep and reduce the space so that we can pass better and faster.

  • Was it me or was there conflicting reports from the media regarding Arteta?

    As much as I want him to join, news coming out of Citeh is mostly saying that nothing has been agreed upon, and even no contact has been made between the Gunners and Citeh. What’s going on here?

  • I’m not an expert on tactics, but if I would be experimenting in midfield I would definitely have
    – a ‘destroyer’ DM breaking up opponents attack, making tackles, regaining possession, who is good ad pressing, good at defensive positioning, and distributing the ball to the creator
    Last year Torreira was just like that. He is not the ‘mountain type’ big fella, but his terrier tpye personality worked perfectly. He is too good in passing to be the type of holding midfielder that always stays behind while other midfielders may move forward to attack, but at least he can stay back at Arsenal corners.
    – a CM who helps the transition from defense to attack (some call it pivot, or deep-lying playmaker even though it is not the same)
    Xhaka would be my choice for this role, and Guendouzi can become one in a few years. While not fast, has a good sense of tackling and intercepting, and has a long passing range, so if we don’t have the capacity to field a creator, then Xhaka has some key pass in his sleeves.

    The problem with the 4-3-3 formation is that we have only one position left, so we either give up on the box-to-box midfielder or the creative AM. Unfortunately with Ramsey’s departure we don’t have a quality box-to-box midfielder. Willock could become one – that is his main position anyway – but we could see that while he shines against Nottingham Forest, he cannot replicate the same performance against a PL team (even a weaker one). Ozil is indeed a world class AM, he is getting older, he was misused for quite a while, he has personal issues (the attack, the Erdogan-scandal, the Uighur-support), and he is often over-regulated by the coach which seriously limits his impact. Anyway, when he had to give up his free-roaming option to improve pressing and gegen-pressing his efficiency has plummeted.
    If we want to improve our attacking capabilities and statistics, I still believe we need a young andvanced playmaker someone like Haverts or van de Beek…

  • There may be another candidate, 84. It is not done and dusted as yet. If you were Kroenke you would ask your board directors to give you options, I would imagine. The lack of experience of Arteta should worry any responsible human being: it is a big gamble that only fans can just pooh pooh away.

    Good comment, Pb. I will respond later today.

  • Yes TA. Previously i talked about the need for a plan so that we do not affect the players. However, it seemed that the board does not have one and the players are affected by that lack of forward thinking by the board.

    If that is the case, we did not learn from the manu** saga and until now the mancs have not replaced SAF well. So, i foresee another few years of managerial changes before we get the right one.

  • All due respect TA?
    If Arteta is at the fore a second time– it’s not just the fans who are willing. KSE have done so– hiring head coaches with little or no experience in that role– and found some success in several instances.

    1st-year HC Sean McVay (in 2017), upon his hiring by the NFL LA Rams at age 30,
    became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. McVay led the Rams to the Super Bowl in his first season.

    In 2015, the NBA Nuggets appointed 43-yr-old Mike Malone as HC. Malone had only 18mos of lackluster experience as a HC 2yrs previous. KSE has been patient in allowing Malone to reshape the Nuggets roster over 3yrs. Today, Denver is regarded as a top-5 NBA team.

    In 2016, the NHL Colorado Avalanche hired inexperienced 45-yr-old Jared Bednar to his first HC job. Bednar took over a last-place team that had only reached the NHL playoffs once in the previous 7 seasons. In hist first year the ‘Lanche made the playoff (1st-Rd loss). Last season they won in the 1st-Rd losing in the second. This season, Bednar’s team is in second place in their division– with the 4th highest points total in the NHL.

    There is precedent– for Josh Kroenke to be favoring Mikel Arteta for the role– as he appeared to be 18 months ago. I’d be even more surprised this time– than I was in May 2018– if Mikel Arteta is not appointed. Much more disappointed too.


  • Done. And dusted it appears.

    Ornstein at The Athletic 1 hour ago–
    Exclusive: Arteta makes emotional goodbye speech to Manchester City before taking Arsenal job.


  • Arsenal’s search for a new manager. – This is a discussion that can twirl around in circles for days on end.

    Personally my preference is that we hire an experienced manager, one who has fought the trials and tribulations of football management – and won but we all know that those who are successful on an ongoing basis are few and far between.

    Although we can find example of managers becoming successful with no previous experience – they are a rare breed.

    It’s the same story with managers who were previously great footballers – here are some of our own examples –

    Billy Wright – GM168, W64, D41, L63, GF307, GA309, GD -2
    Don Howe – GM126, W57, D27, L42, GF184, GA156, GD28

    Both won zero trophies.

    George Graham – GM364, W167, D108, L89, GF543, GA327. GD216

    George was among our top three managers winning 6 different trophies.

    I believe that the risk of hiring an inexperienced manager at this juncture in our history would be a very risky undertaking.

  • Oops it looks like my worst fears will materialize.

    All I can hope is that he becomes another George Graham (without taking back handers)

  • GN5– no worries in one respect. Arteta was never thought a ‘great player’ 😉
    Though? The ranks of great managers are chock full with average-and-above ones.

    I’ve only known the one version of Arsenal.
    Just want the club to feel like that Arsenal– once again.
    (We tossed the baby out– without ever filling the bathtub.)


  • JWL,

    I’ve seen the work of 12 of our 21 managers and I only consider 3 of those that I’ve seen to have been exceptional

    – Tom Whittaker 1947-1956
    – George Graham 1986-1995
    – Arsene Wenger 1996-2018

    My personal favourite was Arsene.

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