8 First Impressions of Arteta at Arsenal | Possible Line-up v Cherries

If you have not already watched the training video on Arsenal.com, go and do it! To see and hear MA at work is a joy. Let there be no doubt about it, the sleeves are up; the mission has started.

Here are my first impressions of MA at Arsenal:

  1. Mikel presents himself very well: his English is clear and his answers are anything but dull or scripted. He demands your attention without being overly affalable. His action-man look and powerful eyes draw you in; he is the centre of the PR room and, just like in Wenger’s days, our manager is in charge. Very, very impressive.
  2. What also struck me is his intelligence: there is nuance to his answers and he  makes you think, which indicates that he knows what he is talking about and all is under control (reminiscent of Arsene).
  3. Arteta talks a lot about his vision for football, the basics that everyone has to adhere to and what he expects of players in terms of behaviour and conduct. You would expect every new manager to say such things, but Arteta is straightaway adding gravitas to it. This shows that he learned the job from big masters Wenger and Guardiola: they also work with strong vision and values and boy did the players know it.
  4. There is a strong focus on energy and pride by Arteta, and with that he has hit the nail on the (obvious) head. To witness a near-dead Ashburton Groove will have been a shocking experience for him. We need new, warm and pulsing blood in our club and you get the feeling from his interviews and the training session that he will focus hard on this. This will not be easy and he cannot do this on his own: we as supporters have to stand up and be counted too!
  5. MA has indicated that all players start with a clean slate: the past – bad or good – does not count. This is a simple but very important announcement: it indicates a fresh start and the weights or privileges of the past have simply evaporated. Arteta wants to play in a certain way, with a system of football to which players will have to be moulded to some extent. So the qualities of the players and their ability to adjust and follow tactical instructions is what he will focus on. Therefore, he is genuine in his statement that everyone will start anew with him.
  6. Mikel first success was convincing Freddie to stay and work with him: opting for inclusiveness was a smart move. Freddie has done a fabulous job for us in quite difficult circumstances and has proven to be a real club man. We need those of people at our club and Arteta clearly understood this too. Rather than seeing him as a competitor or somebody who would potentially undermine his dominance at the club, Arteta has made himself and his coaching team stronger by asking Freddie to stay.
  7. MA has recognised straightaway that the club has some very promising youth players and that the future should be bright. There are three ways of making a club successful: spending tons of money (more than opponents), building a club bottom up from a strong core of youth players (who then become regular powerhouses in the team), or a mixture of both. Option one is not for us and for option two or three we need a strong focus on youth. I think we are going to get this with Mikel in charge.
  8. The final, big and most important impression Mikel has given me is that he is ready, really ready  to be a nr.1 at Arsenal. You just sense it when you hear him speak and see him at work. Welcome to the Home of Football, Mikel.

Predicted Line-up

To predict Arteta’s first line-up is not easy but I reckon it will be similar to the Everton starting-11 with a few tweaks. Chambers is suspended, so Big Sok should return but other than that I expect the same defence and midfield, with the exception of ESR starting again. The four attackers could well be Ozil for Martinelli (injured) and Willock for ESR (in front of Xha/Tor), with Pepe and Laca starting ahead of Auba and Nelson, but I am guessing quite a bit here. I am hoping for a compact midfield, good protection of our defence once more, better first touches and passes and therefore better opportunities of which at least two we will take. COYGs!

By TotalArsenal.

Wishing all my friends at Bergkampesque a Merry Mikel Christmas

And a Happy and Healthy 2020!



Christmas red and white

42 thoughts on “8 First Impressions of Arteta at Arsenal | Possible Line-up v Cherries

  • One thing I noticed about Pap at ManC is his non tolerance of bad attitude from so called big stars . He drops them if they strop and sulk. Looks like Areta will be the same. That’s a positive!

  • If Arteta plays Ozil and Xhaka tell me the differnce between him and Emery.Arteta needs to drain the swamp

  • If Arteta plays Ozil and Xhaka tell me the difference between him and Emery.Arteta needs to drain the swamp

  • Donaldo, I am hoping that Arteta is much better at making good cement… you focus too much on the bricks, it seems (and Ozil and Xhaka are two of his best bricks anyway). Watch the next few games and I think you will understand.

  • TA …. am with all your impressions. One place were many had doubts is in the area of enough authority. He seems to have walked in and simply taken over not with any crudeness but with the self confidence he exudes.

    I like your line up. Saka has done so well at left back but I must confess that anytime I remember his age coupled with his small frame my heart flutters.

    I think he’d play Ozil not because of a clean slate but because he wants his team keeping possession in the opposition half. But he’d think twice about playing Ozil and Pepe together unless he’d push Pepe up and wide right the way City uses Mahrez. Pepe has a high ball turn over because his numerous dribble attempts without the ability to recover lost balls.

    He might rest Martinelli (who expends so much energy each match, remember, he’s only 18). I guess he’d play Laca for his energy and for wiping clean the old slate and for the fact that he drops deep complimenting Ozil’s lack of energy. Looking at the goals stats he might find it difficult not to play Auba in his first game in charge. That would mean sacrificing Willock and depending a lot on Ozil for ball transitioning and circulation.

    AMN. Sokr. Luiz. Saka.

  • God loves a convert. 😇

    Very happy you are happy TA– it is evident throughout your piece.
    I am too. Blissfully so. 😌

    There’s nothing magic (illusory) about Mikel Arteta. Every bit of it is the real thing. Whatever the longer-term results, the club will have been replanted. To bloom and grow in The Arsenal Way®

    We have a Gooner foundation in the youth programs in Freddie and Per. Edu in the executive suites. It is now up to Raul to pass muster. To live up to expectations.

    Would love to think this was all some sort of Machiavellian Masterplan on Don Raul’s part. To deliver the club where it stands today– with Great Hope and New Belief.

    Brazen and unthinkable. Who might ever have envisioned almost all of Goonerdom would rally around Mikel Arteta’s starry brilliance? Truly a gift, that vision. 🎁
    Yes, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year™ — indeed.


    (P.S. Nice 🎄 TA! )

  • A fine summation of Arteta TA.
    Here is a copy of his Arsenal.com interview.

    Mikel Areta has revealed his blueprint for success at Arsenal.

    Sitting down for his first interview with Arsenal Player, our new head coach discussed his outlook and philosophy.

    “There are some things that have to have a blueprint,” he said. “We have to have passion, we have to be dominant, we have to be aggressive. We have to play in the opponent’s territory as much as we want.

    “I want the ball, I want to attack them as much as possible, I want to prevent them from attacking me as much as possible. But as well, I think we have to create the right culture around the club that’s going to make a good living out of the players, create an environment where everybody respects each other, a humility and people have to be accountable for what we want to achieve.

    “That’s the basic and then after we can grow from there. Then we can create an identity that I have in my head for this football club. But we have to start somewhere to try to build that up.”

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  • JWL,

    I think our high levels of optimism in Arteta, is borne out of watching such abjectly poor football in the Emery era.

    We have been starved of a quality product both on and off the field and the all round hope is that Arteta has got a magic wand that will conjure up the type of football we all want to watch.

  • TA …. I also feel that my predicted line up is too offensive. I was trying to replicate the City model and the effort is quite clumsy City players are so different from ours. I’d give it a 2nd go.

    City’s midfield defend basically through possession and it appears that’s the tactical shift uppermost in Arteta’s mind. It requires players who can work the triangles and the spaces. Ozil becomes the first name, possibly Ceballos when fit and Torreira. Quick passing and movement might push Xhaka down the line even below Willock. Torreira for Rodrigo, Ozil for David Silva and Willock for KDB. There is plenty gulf in some of the personnel but the focus is the system.

    In the front three, Pepe for Mahrez or B. Silva, Auba for Sterling and Laca for Aguero. This gives the line up:


    This is “Operation System to the Rescue”.

  • Still a very attacking line-up, PE, with all of PAL up-front. Pepe and Auba are not (yet) the greatest passers so I reckon that team would struggle. But it all will be revealed in two days. Cannot wait!

  • GN5–

    There’s a bit of personal satisfaction wrapped snugly and subtly into my post.

    Made a prediction here– back in December 2017 (yeah, that far back, really). I’d posted several times how I felt Wenger would leave the following Summer– with Arteta coming aboard to replace him. Then, that March, expressed correctly (OK, within a week)– the date of Arsene’s resignation announcement.

    Brazen suggestions. Shrugged off. Most chuckled, I’m sure.
    I got over it. Took two years. I’m good now. 🙃

    Do have another prognostication– and good reasoning behind it. But– I’m going to wait until nearer the end of the year. This is all too much a feel-good moment– and I know I’ve received the one gift I wanted by Christmastime:

    The ‘warm-fuzzy’ that we’ve gotten our Arsenal back.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays– to all!


  • Thanks, TA, for those observations. The times have changed and now, internal workings of clubs/managers may be gleaned from insider videos posted onto social media handles for better fan-club appreciation/interaction. Pictures and videos of the new manager’s activities portray him as ready for the challenge. His words are deliberate and always send a message; he exudes confidence and has the aura of a man in charge, which will surprise a few (except, maybe Per and Wenger). Many fans used to say Wenger says the same stuff over and over again, but what they don’t realize is that’s how a culture is sustained…. when you keep saying what you believe in and desire for the group. So, Arteta reminds me of the great man and makes me feel things can return to normal with Arteta.

    I saw a video of him with some backroom staff (probably, multimedia guys, though Per was in that room) where he breezed into the room and was straightaway telling them “you know you all have a lot of work to do, right”, then asked “where are the cameras located? Behind? We have the drones?”, he asked, with his arms around Mertesacker’s shoulder…. That is the way of a man who is focused and rearing to go. We are lucky to have him.

  • GunnerN5, I recall you posted on here how DAZN has the sole rights for the EPL here in Canada. Now, you’d have to tell me what options I have to watch the games. I find streaming rather arduous and hope there is a better way.

    Please, advise.

  • TA —– I agree with you again that my 2nd predicted line up looks too offensive. That tells me the conflict Arteta must already be facing, viz “System v Personnel”. There are the “best” players on one hand and the better fitting players for his favoured system on the other hand. The two sets of players are not likely to be identical.

    What does MA do? Go with the best players or go with his favored system. In the immediacy there is a third option —— the above two options meet themselves half way. As you said …. we’d soon know.

  • Merry Christmas everyone, especially TA, PE, Eris, et al.
    The red-and-white-print that Arteta envisioned will come true if he gets all the players behind him.

    We had seen good work by the lads in the last few games, and I would want to see the lads win the game away at Bournemouth. It is not a tall order and it might even come true.

  • Merry Christmas to everyone!

    I’ll be visiting my mother-in-law in the next days.
    Fortunately she kind of likes me, so hopefully she won’t mind me watching the game on her computer on boxing day. 🙂


  • Great comment, G-Eris, and appropriate to the post (as I prefer them). Yes he has surprised me and it is great to see how his persona fits the club and the challenge ahead. Long way to go and we have to remain supportive and patient, but first signs are good, very good.

  • IT does, PE. The really great teams play compact and use space very well; and they somehow mostly have more men around the ball than the opponent, weather attacking, defending or battling in midfield.

  • Merry Christmas to all of you. ⭐

    It would be good to hear whether and how you are celebrating Christmas, whether you have snow and whether you got anything Arsenal related, or something else that is really special….

    It is sunny here in Edinburgh, no chance of snow unfortunately, and we will have Christmas dinner at my P-I-L’s. No Arsenal related presents but I got a wooden, ‘flying’ lapwing to put in the window, a key-ring made of ancient stone (Lewisian Gneiss from the Highlands of Scotland), books, and a lovely bowl from my daughter. 🙂

  • It’s not much of a white Christmas in my neck of the woods (just to be sure, I still went to peek through the window as some snow may have fallen overnight; still early/dark outside), either. The snow did come rather early, receded for now, but forecasts say it is not done yet.

    We shall be having a family over for the whole day, from Mississauga; also have a good friend from Nigeria, with his wife and son, staying with me till the 26th, when they depart for Portland en route to Port Harcourt, Nigeria. They will leave their son back with me for his school break (Ottawa University) since it is a short one. My wife and I have the house stacked with food and (non-alcoholic) beverages so, I think we are good on that front, but you never know with children (I heard feet sneaking downstairs for some snacks in the middle of the night).

    Overall, the fun starts on Boxing Day for me when we shall join many other families for a get-together thingy. Plenty of dancing, music, fun, laughter, food, drinks, gossip and lots of monitoring of the teenagers, as they can get up to lots of mischief, right under the noses of the parents. Visits (to and from) go on through to the new year. By the 2nd day of the new year, we are all sober again, looking at the finances and how we keep it together for another stretch. 😂😂

    It’s cycle!

  • goonereris says:
    December 25, 2019 at 01:52

    GunnerN5, I recall you posted on here how DAZN has the sole rights for the EPL here in Canada. Now, you’d have to tell me what options I have to watch the games. I find streaming rather arduous and hope there is a better way.

    Please, advise.


    Hi goonereris,

    DAZN exclusively carries all of the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League games, plus Boxing, Cricket, Snooker & Darts. It costs $20.00 a month or $180.00 a year, I prefer monthly as it allows you to cancel and re-start any time with no penalty. Many TV’s now have DAZN built in as an app – you can order on line or on your TV if you have the app. One of the downsides is that you cannot record games but they have a play back feature which allows you to watch all games the next day.

    If you order today you will be able to watch the game tomorrow. Good Luck.

  • merry christmas to you all;
    writing to you from under a very nice normandy sun … but of course, climate change is a hoax
    december 24th’s a very special day, for the same reason as most of us, but also because this is my … birthday: present-wise, i’ve been conned all my life – do pity me
    no arsenal talk at all, christmas dinner with my in-laws, b-i-l’s a one-track-mind petrolhead, he sees the whole world as an engine expecting to be fixed – i don’t mind, he always has a bag full of very enjoyable car-anecdotes
    tonight i’ll be at my son’s, dotting on my 2-year-old granddaughter
    my son’s going to pick on me because of arsenal results – he’s a professional basket-ball coach, but also a PSG fan, so he has it easy, given the fact they are champions before the season’s even started (with the notable exception of one season under … unai)
    looking forward to mikel’s first line-up; given the unavailability of: sead/rob/hector/kieran/dani/calum, i’d go for:
    i do wish one more chance were given to shkodran, i’ve always kept in mind the kostafi performance against diego costa at the peak of his form – i’m not denying something went very wrong after that, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed by top-class man-management
    bellerin-chambers-holding-tierney might be our best back four, but imo, shkodran should be right behind them, ahead of papa/david
    anyway, i’m sure our new headcoach will have breathed new life into our wounded soldiers, can’t wait tomorrow’s kickoff to check that out …

  • GunnerN5 says:
    December 25, 2019 at 11:38

    Where are you in Canada, I’m in London Ontario.


    Hi, GN5.

    I am in Whitby, Ontario (Durham Region). The weather cannot be much different in London Ontario, right?

    Thanks for the low-down on DAZN; I shall follow up ASAP.

  • Lol, LE GALL. Having December 24th as birthday must feel like too much competition and yeah, I agree easy to con you with one gift (for the price of “one”); like killing two birds with one stone. 😄

  • goonereris,

    It’s a warm, for this time of year, 1c but very foggy this morning, it’s going to be 7c by 11:00 am.

    You will enjoy the coverage on DAZN it’s first class in both picture quality and commentary.

  • Mikel Arteta has named his core coaching team.

    Freddie Ljungberg remains as assistant coach and is joined by Albert Stuivenberg.

    The Dutchman, who has been coaching since 1992, was alongside Louis van Gaal at Manchester United. He is currently assistant manager of the Wales team with Ryan Giggs and will continue in this role as well as his Arsenal duties until after the European Championship in the summer.

    Steve Round is also joining the club as an assistant coach.

    Steve has coached with Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Everton, Manchester United and England. He has also been Director of Football at Aston Villa.

    Inaki Cana Pavon comes in as goalkeeping coach from Brentford to work with Sal Bibbo.

    Inaki previously worked in Spain and Denmark after starting his playing career at Barcelona.

    Mikel Arteta said: “I am delighted to have this talented group of coaches alongside me. They bring a great mix of experience and fresh thinking. Along with the talented people we have in the club already they will be key people to get us back to winning ways.”

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  • It will reach 70°F+ (21°C+) today in sunny Houston Texas USA. Not out of the norm some years. Though have drops to 40-45°F (4-7°C) at night. Bundle up when I take the pup out before sunrise in the morning– then shirtsleeves when I leave from the office mid-afternoon.
    His name is Runway. Runway watches Arsenal with me.
    He is a very good boy. Growls low when I say the word: ‘VAR’.

    Mrs jw1 and I are celebrating Christmas today– simply.
    Closest friends and family are in other cities fairly far flung.
    We text and call and email throughout the day.

    Not sure I’ll be able to watch live tomorrow– as it’s only available behind NBC’s archaically-priced online paywall (Buy an entire year! Watch only a few events! Not gonna happen.). Even my technical sorcery is now limited. A recent $1.2B lawsuit against e-gaming and video casting service Twitch– has spooked all of the better, most reliable … ahem, ‘secondary sources’ for watching live. Be that as it may– I’ll attempt to conjure a connection.

    Go Gunners!


  • 3pm kickoff today (11pm sg time), and it is a working day for me. I hope tonight will energise me if i am watching it.

    Canada should be super cold this season. Everyone is feeling the heat eh?

    Just hope the guys will play well for the shirt and get the first win of many many more to come.

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