An Open Letter to Mikel Arteta


Dear Mikel,

Welcome back to a place where you are so loved. When you arrived here on a pay cut from Everton we were without a holding mid and you were an attacking mid. Wenger asked you to man the holding position. You accepted whole heartedly because you see football from a team perspective. That your new role would enhance the team’s performance was your encouragement. It was never about your self. Now that you are back to manage the team, you will be a living sermon to all. Any of the players, whoever that player might be, who is not quickened by a philosophy on two legs and that breathes is a living dead and should not be part of the family. Excellence is uncompromising. In your presser you called it ruthlessness.

What you lacked in athleticism was more than compensated for by your mastery of space and that meant impeccable timing. To know space is to know time. You settled in your role like you were born with it, which I guess you were. Wenger, at the first opportunity made you his captain seeing that on the field and out of it the players held you in great esteem. The younger players, almost to the last of them, testified on how you were so attentive to their development and how you had helped them grow their game. Injuries did not allow us to enjoy you fully and as your playing days drew to a close many had seen your deep desire to share your ideas in football for the betterment of individual and team play.

Amongst the numerous eyes that saw that special quality in you were Wenger’s, Gaurdiola’s and Pochetino’s. In my little world, I strongly was feeling you were Wenger’s favourite prince, the Crown Prince. Timing was the only issue at stake but not anymore.

I know you have been consumed with your work with Pep at City yet with a space always there for Arsenal. You had schooled yourself in your ideas all your playing years, felt ready to begin your formal coaching career when you retired but to leave no stone unturned, you decided to learn at the foot of another master for a further three years. Newcastle came calling. Lyon came calling. Your responses were in the negative. For some reasons well beyond analysis Arsenal has been your love, your dream and your focus. You knew exactly where we are, knew that the time was at hand. Obviously, you have not lost your sense of timing.

We believe we are in the wild but are hanging our hopes on your vision to lead us back home. That means we must be ready to trudge faithfully behind you over the unforgiving terrain, give you time and support. My prayer is that the Arsenal faithfuls make a song of support for you and your team as we journey home. We need to water, prune and weed around the seed of you being planted until the club has become once again the oak that gives its shade to us all.

I don’t want to talk about the team to you. You know it better. Having loved it long and hard you have all its secrets. However, this being an open letter, I would touch on a few points which maybe would help some of us appreciate better the structure of the challenge you face.

We have good players many of whom have lost their centre of gravity. Your job is to lift them up and put them back on their two feet. You have to get them to once again believe in themselves and as importantly to believe in one another, in the team and in the project. Sadly you might discover a few have been broken beyond repair and a few who have become incapable of learning a new language. You will take them all in your stride sieving and sifting. There will be deaths and pains as well as births and joy.

In your first press conference you talked about engineering a right culture. It gladdened my heart because it was clear your vision went beyond the bounds of the team on the field. Your heart encompasses the whole of the club. It indicates that it is the club that you love and that your job apart from being your life is but a vehicle for expressing that love. Of course you won’t be at all the desks but you can make yourself the point of inspiration, the point of a new growth. You are determined to conquer not with bullets but with dedication and excellence. We need our Arsenal back but we need to remind ourselves that you haven’t come with a magic wand. It’s going to be hard work, long work which would only succeed if backed with patience from all quarters.

For a few who are asking “Mikel who?”:  it is Mikel Arteta Amatriain.

Yours faithfully,


31 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mikel Arteta

  • Fine stuff from the Shakespeare of Bergkampesque.

    All agreed. For me the rest of the season is all about:
    1. to get above 40 points
    2. get balance back into the team – play as a intense unit, hard to beat and attacking in numbers
    3. develop a style of play that he can build on going forward
    4. and finally, reconnect, with the values of the club and what Wenger established during his 22 years.

  • Super post PE, you should become a preacher.

    I’m impatient for something good to happen to our team and most importantly to our club structure – it needs to become a seamlessly cohesive group instead of the current individual (seemingly) isolated roles.
    It’s actually a good time for him to start at Arsenal,I hope he sells of a few of the broken assets in the January transfer window and then uses the last half of the current season to assess his needs for the 2020/21 season and beyond.

  • TA …. you know how to put things in a nutshell. I particularly like your No4 … reconnecting to the clubs values that Wenger helped to build in his 22 years.

  • N5 ….. this is just my gut feeling that Stan Kroenke is leaning on Wenger and why not. Arteta looks to me like Wenger’s master stroke. The clubs values are at the centre of Wengers wishes for the club and if he is truly in this game then our prayers are answered. We have to fortify ourselves though for the pains (not disappointments) on the way.

  • Arteta knew of the youth coming through hence why he wanted the job two years back.

    The only thing that will prevent arteta from being succesful is the bumbling raul and vinai.

    Arsenal do need an authority above those two

  • Amit …. We (the fans) don’t know how big and lovely Arsenal is from the outside (to others). Others see our current travail as a mere stumble and they are right. We will be back, not today but not very far off. Hang on.

  • Good stuff PE!
    Much of it I might have written as well. These are the thoughts of EveryGooner. Every Gooner who wants what is best for Arsenal Football Club.

    ‘To know space is to know time.’
    To know both is an understanding of spatiality. Knowing it within the confines of an area is an incredible advantage. In a sport, this understanding gives a participant knowledge superseding opposition with greater ability (those with the gift of comprehending spatiality in real-time– combined with rare-athleticism are few. Think Lionel Messi. Wayne Gretzky.). Akin to knowing what is likely to happen– next. Before it does. Applied, it’s influencing your opponents to take their worst options– first.

    + + +

    Amit, PE–
    Raul cannot afford to allow Arteta to fail. Raul’s job, his future– is reliant on MA’s success, hence Arsenal’s success. When Mikel Arteta makes the case to buy or sell? Raul must listen and act. In a roundabout fashion– Arteta has greater control now– than if he’d been hired 18 months ago. Ironic, since the move to hire Emery seemed like Raul’s method of consolidating his power initially within the club. Karma? Seemingly knows Jiu-jitsu. 😉


  • jw …… Messi and Wayne Gretzky (just read some write ups on him) must both exist in a different time dimension like it’s happening in slow motion for them. Magical fellows.

    I feel what you feel that Arteta has greater control now than if he’d been hired 18 months ago. Raul and co know that they are party to the current situation and can’t be feeling like the cat’s whiskers.

  • Amen, bro’. An epistle positively Pauline in it’s hope and encouragement.
    The only time I ever saw Cesc totally owned was in a game up at Goodison when Arteta in blue dominated the match. He’s a prince, and we are blessed to have him at the helm.

  • What a letter of support from PE and we as Arsenal true fans back entirely every way forward to this new era. Arteta has been chosen as from a master himself as a master from a martial arts magician teaching his secret skills to a chosen unique pupil, this Arteta is you. We hope to have you as many years as we had from the master himself Wenger. Good luck fellow on this tough challenge you face.

  • PE, I wish I can have the linguistic ability like you.
    TA, et al,

    I have good feelings for Arteta. He had tasted success in Citeh, and their players give 100% every match. We need the players to give 100% every match too, and the build up play and final ball is nearly there.

    Fred and Per is doing well in getting the players to play the Arsenal way again. We need to get better and better each game and get the winning mentality back.

  • thanks a lot, PE
    you sure “dug down deep in your heart, so that feelings flooded on the page” (to quote from one of the stones’s very best)
    that’s some warm welcome for our new headcoach, he deserves it; i found his first presser electrifying, i’m sure our short-of-confidence lads did too, now we have to be patient, and stick with him
    with the bellerin-holding-tierney curse coming to an end soon, with VAR being properly used at last (without it, taylor would have bailed the spuds out yesterday), with our hale end wonderkids’ coming of age, with soldiers like lucas/granit/calum making our engine throb very nicely, with two serial goalscorers in store (who just need to have their personal situations sorted out) … the light at the end of the tunnel looks very bright to me
    a very merry christmas to you all, BK regulars

  • PE. What a cracker of a post. Really inspiring and one can only hope MA gets to read it.

    Like jw I enjoyed “to know space is to know time” without understanding what the hell it means 🙂

  • Erik … the philosophers will tell you that one cannot exist without the other … again whatever that means.

  • Brilliant piece there, PE and like most, I can only hope Mikel Arteta gets to read it and take it on board. To know space is to know time; “absolutism and Relationalism” at its philosophical best. Fact is both are infinite and so anyone who appreciates either in a football sense, will be loved by fans. The reason most love Ozil (and to a smaller extent Xhaka) despite their obvious limitations in physicality (Ozil) and leg speed (Xhaka). Ramsey had a bit of that too as he appeared to time runs into the box, taking up the right spaces, at just the right time to strike.

    As for MA, I just know he will do well. Don’t ask me how I know; you just feel these things. For one thing, he was Wenger’s anointed choice to take over from him after a stint at City (Yes. I am one who believes Wenger let him go to work with Pep with the understanding he would be done by 2018/19, the original date his last contract was to run out, and would be allowed to choose a successor. Even then, he tried from a distance but failed as new henchmen wanted to build their own men; now, they’ve seen reason and you just know Kroenke had a say this time.) but that gambit failed until now. Perfect timing still. For another reason, I like the way he projects with his every word, speaking culture and reminding us how great this club is and how we were known to play.

    Mikel Arteta won’t brook nonsense and I expect the players to show him how good they can be. Bournemouth will have to play out of their skins to get anything on Boxing Day.

  • Le Gall, like you, I loved MA’s interview but as they say “haters will hate”. I just read how Ian Holloway thought it was an “awful” interview, apparently, because he feels he talks a good talk without having the resources to back his words. Which begs the issue as to what reason he (Holloway) thought we needed a new manager for and had to sack the previous. We need someone with a keen eye to choose right in buying, with a clear idea of how we play and who can deliver such expectation(s).

    Arteta is not Klopp and isn’t even Pep, but his own man. He, rightly so, will give credit to the boss of his former side, in order not to burn bridges when he goes calling for some player or backroom staff. But even Pep knows Arteta has his own ideas about how to get things done. The fact he wasn’t fazed by the role is, in itself, credit to his positive mindset. We need such at the club now.

  • As I wasn’t able to contribute to the last thread (on our Everton game), let me throw it on here that I thought a 0-0 draw is just the right result and what the doctor ordered for the state we were (are?) in. It is a result worth celebrating even if a win will be better; but it was all about that clean sheet to restore some confidence in that backline. Moreso, with the new man watching, it was a good auditioning for the young lads and the defenders.

    I couldn’t see the game as I did a bit of travelling the last three days, culminating in my return to Canada yesterday afternoon. So, I am taking my thoughts from the comments about a drab game but, crucially, we didn’t allow a team that beat Chelsea and drew United, have clean shots at goal; and that Saka did well in the left back role (that surprised me, to be honest). This is certainly a positive development for us. Having our keeper tagged with the stat of making the most saves in the EPL is not exactly the kind of stat you see for big clubs. Hopefully, this game goes some way in changing that state of affairs.

  • Hey, TA. The air is good; wasn’t too icy today, though. Even felt myself in a sweat at a point, as I was bundled up so much, expecting the worst. I was wrong.

    PE, I bet that statue will be an issue in the next three and a half years. 😜

  • Eris, somehow the warm front has decended. Even in Moscow the flowers are blooming.. crikey!
    The cold weather came early in the Autumn and now the weather is getting warm.. global warning to blame?

    Back to talking footy. Seemed like the lads and Ozil prefers Arteta’s tactics more than Emery’s, and seriously I could not find fault with our lads in the Everton game. They are unlucky not to score the winner, but in defense Tor, Chambo, Saka and Luiz did very well. Note the flying tackles to prevent them from registering a shot on target is a huge plus point.

    We will have to revert to Sok and Luiz for the Bournemouth match, but maybe Holding can do a cameo. Ozil might so some creative work up front too, with Tor and Xhaka in DM.

  • Yeah, JK. To think there are leaders who still think that CLIMATE CHANGE is a hoax and “humbug”… Some US politician (against climate change) referred to the Bible book of Genesis where it stated “as long as the earth exists, there will be spring time and..”, failing to see that the seasons do continue to show, only in the wrong months. 🤨

    Arteta will benefit from Ljungberg’s continuing in his backroom staff. Pity, Mertesacker may return to hIs role as Academy Manager without fulfilling a personal wish of his to manage Arsenal first team under Arteta.

  • TA, more like your blog is giving us the strength to stay positive, thus we feel the warmth.
    Here in Singapore it is certainly very hot in the past week or so.. before that it is the usual cold front blowing through the city, causing the mercury to dip to a cooling 23 degrees.. might seem warm to lots of you guys right now, but our temperature is a sizzling 28 to 33 degrees the whole year round.

    Eris, Per will help Arteta in his Academy role, and it is just right to be back at the Academy as he knows the kids and fast tracking them will be good for both Per and Arteta. However, we need a couple of senior players to be brought in to help with the transition, as the young lads need to build up some strength mentally and physically.

    Per in the backroom staff and Fred, along with Arteta, can help the team to play Wengerball. Our total football will be back and we will be winning games soon. Hopeful for that against Bournemouth.

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