On The Move: Six Differences Arteta has Brought to the Home of Football

Arteta’s early impact is starting to make a difference and what fun it is to take part in this journey. Where will it lead this season, and then beyond August? Nobody knows but we are on the move, and there is a lot of earthly happiness in the sensation of moving forward again.

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Here are my six early Arteta-reign observations:

  1. There is balance in our game again: no longer a shooting range for opposition but we are mostly in control now. Cleans sheets. Like in those eighties washing powder adverts in which a massive white sheet was lifted in the air by a helicopter, we now know what they look like again. Our game v Everton saw us slip back a bit but this is probably due to fatigue and having to overcome the setback of that first minute, freakish Toffees’ opener that should have been ruled out for dangerous play. We are no longer sitting back and absorb pressure (badly) to then pounce on the break… we want to make play in the opposition’s half… hallelujah!
  2. Playing the ball out from the back is so much better now. We are calm, have players using the available space very effectively and pass much better to each other. This can be further improved, and when facing a strong midfield, as we did v Everton, we still can be a bit wobbly, but it is so much better than during the Emery mini-era. We do miss a target in attack for Leno and the CBs to aim their long balls at. I liked the way Arteta used Big Sok in Athens last week, but we need more from our attackers of whom none have the Giroudesque qualities of owning the air and laying off the ball so well once it has been won.
  3. Players who were low on confidence are now much more calm, focussed and confident. Mustafi, Luiz, Xhaka and Ozil have become major players again, and that is soooo important a ‘quality’ to have as a manager. Gone are the days when players are being substituted at half time or in front of the vying-for-blood home fans. This led to low confidence and decreasing form of those players. Luckily, Arteta has the modern man-management skills suitable for the Millennials: listen, encourage, set targets and boundaries and offer help to deal with technical and emotional issues. Be there for them and they will be there for you, is the simple but veracious mantra.
  4. Arteta manages expectations and does not put too much weight on (young) players’ shoulders. For example, Martinelli had a very good spell but Arteta did not exploit him and pile further on the very high expectations of him. He sees Marti as a work in progress and wants to gradually get him ready for first team football and that is very mature. Another example is Guendouzi… Overused by Emery, he is now being people-managed into a quality player over time.
  5. There is once again camaraderie and togetherness and there is fight in this team. The team have purpose and belief again and want to do well for each other: that is at least 50% of the job. Arteta is recreating the Wenger era atmosphere amongst the group of players and it is great to witness. Who did not love captain Auba’s, lively Leno’s and monster Mustafi’s never say die attitude for the entire game yesterday? Arteta connects with the fans and has made it a priority for the team to connect with the fans, and the starting point is that our players work for each other and the shirt…. yes victory through harmony.
  6. He brought in a few loan players rather than demanding loads of change/money: work with what you have got and see where it will get you. The squad is a good one, and I reckon that Arteta will only let a couple of the main players go, if any, and will only buy a couple this summer. A confident manager is capable of this and does not need the waving of check books to establish themselves. We have a fab squad with great talent coming through and Arteta knows he is lucky with this (and he will ignore those fans that want a clear out this summer). A lot of money was spent on this squad and we finally have a manager who will get the best out of it.

Arsenal together

By TotalArsenal.

19 thoughts on “On The Move: Six Differences Arteta has Brought to the Home of Football

  • Bang-on TA. The very best of the teams I’ve been part of– have all had stout character (and characters!). It helps to have a few that can help a manager to convey his essential qualities. Luiz is one, Xhaka and Sokratis among others. Charismatic, hard-nosed, team-first players. The youngsters are also benefiting quite a lot being immersed in Arteta’s rejuvenation. To see what a ‘big club’ might expect from a young talent. Something they weren’t getting during their first-team exposure just a couple of months back.

    Like to see the team make a run at a CL spot through May. Making it of course is a good thing. Experiencing a run of matches with the pressure of a chase, may be a baptism-by-fire of the best sort.

    Nearly normal now. Hmm.


  • good point, JW. I guess the same players who were unhappy with the direction and leadership of Emery are now pulling their weight in a positive direction…

  • I really enjoyed the Athletic snippet JW, Amy Lawrence has a good eye for those small things that actually mean so much, team spirit etc.
    Players love to talk about it but talk is just talk, team spirit is what you do, what you give to the team often for no reward to yourself.

  • If Douzi does not realise that he has to work hard for the team and kept on being rude to his coaches then i will like him to be gone.

    The other points were all agreed on. Arteta had learnt from the best and we need him to be himself, and not Guardiola or our very own Professor.

  • A good manager does not air his dirty laundry in public, and does not openly criticise his own players when they are not doing well. Thus, the moo-man is not a people’s manager. However, it is good for us to see the spuddies lose and it will be nice to have a St. Totteringham Day this year.

  • Valid points, TA.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great fan of Arteta, and I appreciate his contribution both in motivation/mentality and gameplay. But to contrast the above listed positive differences Mikel made let me add a single one that could be negative.
    I’m not even sure this being negative at all, as it indicates him taking every game seriously, but the ‘standard deviation’ of playing minutes is increasing a lot. Or practically speaking he rotates the squad much less than Emery or Ljungberg (even the latter had very few games to extrapolate from). Plus he increased the squad with 3 players in the winter, leading to some of the guys have very slim chances to play 200 minutes in the rest of the campaign while others could appear in every remaining game.

    Holding and Nelson are the 2 I regret the most for being sidelined. Both of them could be – or could have been – regular England internationals with proper coaching and minutes. (AMN might be the third). And would Chambers and Tierney be fit, they could be affected as well.
    Arteta does rotate, but not the whole squad (as of team A and team B), but only a fraction of the squad (like team A and team A’). In midfield it is Torreira, Xhaka, Ceballos, Ozil, with limited time for Guendouzi and Willock – which is really not bad, but there is very little chance from AMN, ESR or an academy player to get involved – Burton has already left for this very reason, and the chances are grim for M. Smith or Olayinka. The situation get wors for our existing player (excluding Elneny who is not likely to wear an Arsenal shirt again) with the signing of a midfielder looking for a starting spot like Matuidi, Partey, Ramsey(!), Soler and co.

    In the attack Aubameyang, Lacazette and Nketiah are plenty. If we keep them all next year we need no further strikers – that applies to external signings, the academy (TJJ, Balogun), and Martinelli will not likely play up front (which might be a good thing). Talking about wingers, we have Auba (as our captain mostly starts from the wing) and Pepe as regulars rotated with Martinelli, leaving virtually no time for Nelson and Saka in his primary position. And what if Mkhitaryan comes back? For full backs we have 3 on the left and 3 on the right, but the lack of rotation is not an issue with the current injuries, however it could become one with the return of Tierney who has the potential to become the best LB in UK, while the extraordinary talent Saka is yet to sign a new contract (and being courted by Liverpool and Real Madrid). The same happens on the right: Bellerin being our starter at RB, with Chambers and Mustafi being able to play there competently, and Cedric is also looking forward to fight for minutes we should clearly sell Ainsley, which would upset many fans, as well as Elneny which might not result in similar outcry.

    And the situation at CBs is by far the worst. This year we have Luiz starting every game (and rightly so), and it seems he formed a surprisingly great partnership with Mustafi. That means minimal minutes to Sokratis, no minutes whatsoever to Holding, and Mari is still a black horse with the potential to become a regular in Arteta’s long-term vision. Next year we will have Saliba – another extreme talent – Chambers oscillating among RB, CB (& DM?) probably as a utility super-sub, and Mavropanos will be back who plays at an unbelievable quality in Germany; plus the fans – as well as the pundits and club legends – demand a marquee signing like Umtiti, Upamecano, Tah or Djene Dakonam. Not to mention we have the next level of talents in the Academy like Ballard (North Ireland senior international) and Medley.
    With such a(n uncharacteristically) large squad it will be no longer enough to send a few players on loan. We will have to sell some who could have been kept – or sold for more money – with a more intensive rotation.

  • Very busy so I’ve just read the post, thanks for that Total, upbeat and positive.

    Could be an interesting summer ahead with quite a few players entering their last year, do we stick with them or try to generate income by selling before they walk on a Bosman?

    Arteta’s coaching has made players, who formally looked clueless, into valuable players, players who can get us a return if we choose to sell. We have a very strong squad in terms of numbers especially if we decide to keep Mari and Soares whilst not forgetting the arrival of Saliba next summer.

    All this has been achieved by Arteta coaching them properly and getting the maximum from them.
    Now, to me it difficult to see where we badly need strengthening, maybe if we do bring in a player next summer it’ll be a Pepe quality player, a top top performer, maybe a Jaydon Sancho, it wouldn’t surprise me because that would be typical Arsenal. Reiss Nelson will be in his ear telling him how great it is at Arsenal now and Arteta will know him.

  • Hi Kev,
    I absolutely agree that ‘it is difficult to see where we badly need strengthening’. Maybe if we sign Ceballos permanently (depends on how he performs for the remainder of the season) we might be selling Guendouzi, who might be younger and more popular, but so far inferior to Dani (mostly in positional awareness, but practically in every aspect of his game).
    I don’t see a Sancho signing. It was quite a shock already that we broke the record for Laca, then auba, then Pepe, but even his 72M fee would almost be insignificant compared to Sancho’s Ł120M asking price.
    Maybe if some club will be interested to actually pay for Ozil, we might be interested in bringing a world class attacking midfielder, but Havertz could still be expensive, and I would prefer to keep Ozil and let him go for free in 2021 and give time for ESR (or Willock) to succeed him.
    If we lose Martinez – which would hardly be a shock after Arteta broke the verbal agreement – we have to bring in a capable backup-keeper…

  • Cheers guys for your comments. 🙂

    Pb, that is a fair point/challenge to Arteta’s reign until now; I like it. Rotation of players/ using the whole squad is of course ideal. But it looks like Arteta uses the training sessions to determine who will play. Those who perform the best will be picked and so there is a level of fairness in Arteta’s approach. It also makes for healthy competition and good back up players if and when his first choice players get injured, suspended or simply need a rest.

    Furthermore, we are now at a stage of the season when every loss will be felt badly, especially in the EL and FA Cup. So Arteta will pick a team that he believes will do everything to win the game AND CAN win it. Having said that, I reckon he will give a few a rest on Thursday, albeit on the bench, and then v Portsmouth a few more will get a chance to shine.

  • Cheers Kev. Can you imagine Arteta having a whole summer to work with the squad and get the best out of individual players? I don’t see a big need anywhere other than next to Xhaka and that might also be resolved by the development of Torreira, Guendouzi, Ceballos or AMN. Oh and Bellerino will have to reestablish himself as a nr1 RFB, which I think he will.

    I can see us selling a few to replenish the books but cannot see us buying another big-bucks player.

  • “I don’t see a big need anywhere other than next to Xhaka … ”

    Good thing we have Mikel Arteta.
    Who else better to find us the next Mikel Arteta?
    That– seems to be what this team requires most.

    Oh. And KdB. We could bring in deBruyne. 😉
    That would do it. 😁


  • PB, we could be in for quite a few surprises this summer, as GN5 wrote, we need to tie down Saka to a long deal, if we don’t then we’ll lose him, imagine him signing for Liverpool, that would be terrible?

    It’s all a balancing act, balancing our wage bill which must be in the red as far as FFP is concerned, it could cost us Ceballos if Madrid ask an unrealistic fee, alternatively Dani might fancy a return to Spain? It’s one to watch.

    Aubameyang, do we offer him a big deal, can we afford to offer him a big deal and offer Saka a big deal and sign anybody let alone Sancho (I don’t think we’ll get him tbh but then I didn’t think we’d get Pepe). If Arsenal sold Aubameyang that could free up a lot of dough, because we might be left with no choice if we can’t agree with his agent?

    I agree re: Guendouzi, if a big enough offer came in a la Iwobi, the same with Maitland Niles, both could generate finance we could recycle, Mkhitarayan, Elneny, Mavropanos, Sheaf, Olowu, Iliev, that lot could add a bit more to the kitty.

  • Yes Total, Mikel has already shown that he’ll give any player a chance if they’re good enough and they put in the effort, so Smith Rowe, John Jules, Balogun, Olayinka and Ballard have big summers ahead.

    I’m keen to see how Tierney responds when he returns and we’ve not seen Mari yet or Soares, so yeah a summer under Arteta and we could end up winning everything… 😄

  • Yeah, Kev. I do like ESR. He’s a comer.
    Can’t wait till he catches up with his mates already in the team.

    When we signed Laca, then 6 months later Auba?
    I felt these were two players who would help the club remain competitive for the 1-2 years post-AW– until the incoming Newman (yes, Arteta in my mind) could lay the groundwork for his own project.

    In the interim all hell broke loose– and the pair became integral to Arsenal’s survival as a top-flight club. As much as I like what Auba brings– he’s heading for 31. While he doesn’t look like he’s slowing any in the time he’s been here– there’s another perspective Arsenal ought take.

    Actually? It’s the path Liverpool has taken. When they sold Phillippe Coutinho– the world was going to end– as far as their fans were concerned. But that £127M brought them VVD and a cascade of lesser-but-important players who rounded out what they’ve become.

    Auba could be the financial catalyst (along with others you’ve targeted) to allow MA to terraform– HIS team– in short-order, into the model he believes can compete. Hopefully with Pool 1-v-1.

    I think it’s a risk. But one taken freely– if you can determine who our perfect target player might be. Otherwise we get a 31-34 year old Auba with a hefty price tag– and a reduced value next year and year after.


  • Unfortunately, GN5 is unable to do the mathc preview for tomorrow’s game due to treatment sessions. And we wish him well.

    Does anybody else like to write a preview?

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