Five Reasons To Believe in Mikel Arteta

A win v Chelsea was an incredible Boxing Day gift, and this makes it easier to write this post. But I would have written it anyway, as I believe there are good reasons to keep believing in Mikel to bring glory and beautiful football to the club eventually.

Five reasons to believe in Mikel Arteta:

  1. A football paradigm-shift takes time. Why was Mikel appointed by Arsenal? Inexperienced and young, he only offered enthusiasm, a vision for the game and having been taught by one of the best managers in the game; the sort of manager we should have appointed after Wenger left. So Arteta was given the job because he had a vision that fitted the club and the team – and it was not without risk. There will have been no illusion that not an evolution but a revolution was required to make Mikel’s vision – a paradigm shift in terms of system and style of football – a reality. Revolutions in football are hard as the players have the power and the unwanted players are hard to shift during these C19 days. Arteta needs much more time to create the right setting in terms of cultural changes, tactical adjustments and putting together the right group of players.
  2. His victories over the top teams are impressive. Other than JM – who does not currently manage a top team but has been successful enough to call him a top manager – Mikel has beaten them all this calendar year. This is a big sign that we have a manager who can prepare a team and give them confidence in the big games all the way to victory. For a young manager in his first season this is very impressive and promising.
  3. The signings of new players since he arrived are very promising too. Mari and Soares are good back-ups to first team players, Partey and Gabriel are top quality, and Willian, although yet to deliver on his investment, was a shrewd move imo. The only dubious one was Runarsson, and let’s not judge him too soon. He needs two more transfer windows to get the balance right in terms of his player group. This does not necessary mean spending loads of money, but half a dozen players will have to leave to make space for youngsters and two or three quality purchases. A new right FB, another quality central midfielder (as Allezkev has been telling us), and a CF who is strong in the air would do miracles I reckon – oh and a nr2 goalkeeper would be nice.
  4. Young players develop well under Mikel. He may not use them yet as much as many would prefer, but he is giving them chances and those who do well will keep playing. Arteta has to find the right balance between using both young and experienced players continuously, and it cannot be easy to keep all happy and motivated. If things do not go well we understandably cry out for change, any change, but Arteta will have to balance many needs and expectations, and I think he is doing a great job. Saka is getting better and better; Martinelli is getting chances straightaway from being fit again; ESR got his first start; Holding, although not that young anymore, is growing into a first choice for RCB, and; AMN and Eddie are getting chances to play themselves into the first team. Which other top-team manager is using so many young players this season?
  5. Arsenal are going through a difficult phase as Arteta’s vision and instructions are not baring fruit on the pitch as yet. The win against Chelsea is promising but we need to stay grounded and not just believe that all is fine now. We will see more ups and downs and the next two games, v Brighton and WBA, will be stern tests for him and the team. Yet I felt we were never played off the pitch, but did most of the damage ourselves. Arsenal were playing way below their levels and that is hard for the players: a mixture of nervousness and frustration set in and made things only worse. But sooner or later this will change again when the hard work on and off the pitch starts paying off; and for this we need a calm, humble and hard-working manager who just keeps believing in the course he has set out for the team. I have been very impressed by Mikel’s resolve and humanity during these very testing last few months. He does not blame, he does not hide, he suffers right in front of us, but he keeps believing and working hard to make the breakthroughs, and that is what I love about him.

So I see plenty of reasons to support Arteta, but then I do support our team as an amateur Stoic, and I can see this is not for everyone.

I will finish with a fine quote by Marcus Aurelius, probably the most qualified of all Stoics to give advise:

“When forced as it seems, by circumstances into utter confusion, get a hold of yourself quickly. Don’t be locked out by the rhythm any longer than necessary. You’ll be able to keep the beat if you are constantly returning to it.”

By TotalArsenal.

43 thoughts on “Five Reasons To Believe in Mikel Arteta

  • Total that is a fine assessment of our current manager and I see no reason that he will not become the right long term choice. I don’t read any anti Arteta or anti Arsenal articles so I don’t know what the critics are saying – and don’t care to either.

    Injuries and suspensions forced him into using our best youngsters against Chelsea and they most certainly didn’t let anybody down – it was the level of their energy and performances that spurred the team on and totally surprised Chelsea.

    The next few games only look easy on paper but as we witnessed yesterday West Brom will be no push over and we have never beaten Brighton at the Falmer Stadium in the Premier League era. We will most certainly have spells that bring out the “boo boys” again but their impatience while understandable will not affect Arteta. I just hope that if, maybe when, it does happen that the players stay true to the long term plans of Arteta.

  • Always enjoy your positivity TA and largely agree with most of them. If the results start to come, then Arteta deserves more time, but any run that persisted any longer without points would have been dire. I’m glad he and the boys were able to churn out a win finally, but I would have been worried had some of our senior, underperforming players been more fit.

    However, I would like to offer counterarguments to points #2 and 3. Not a big one on #2, but we still are yet to beat Tottenham (don’t know how that one continues to elude Arteta). For #3, I would say that Cedric has not been a successful signing by any means. I think there are more capable backups that Cedric and we didn’t need to sign him to a 4-year deal on relatively high wages (for a backup at least). He doesn’t really push Bellerin and provide the necessary competition – Arteta chose to go with AMN when Bellerin was out suspended, which is evidence that Cedric should fall into the Runarsson category for the time being (still time to see if he’ll turn out good).

    If we’re going to give praise, we should also criticize the rationale behind attempting to extend Mustafi too. Not sure what Arteta or Edu were thinking there, but thankfully Mustafi turned that extension down and announced he will be leaving the club when his contract expires.

    For #4, I would say that Arteta has to continue to stick with the youngsters within reason. Saka, Martinelli and ESR put in the best performances of the season from a league attacking standpoint and all deserve to start going forward. If Arteta falls back on his senior players immediately once they’re healthy again at the expense of the youth that just performed well, I would start to get concerned again.

    Lots to be excited about under Arteta, hopefully he’s shed the stubbornness and the slow, insipid build up/horseshoe passing, and with more pieces this January, we’ll see more consistent and expansive performances.

  • Good challenges, HH. Re #2, I don’t think it is Tottenham but Mourinho that is the key factor here. All Arsenal managers have struggled against him. But I was disappointed in Mikel after his last game v the self-adoring one. Perhaps the worst game under Arteta.

  • Well we have to agree to disagree re Cedric. For me he is ideal for being our nr2 and I think he would do really well in a 4 at the back once the team is settled. I actually prefer him to Hector and I expect the Spaniard to leave sooner or later and to be replaced with a quality signing, or AMN will get the position.

  • Extension for Mustafi was indeed a daft move, unless they were trying to get some money for him if and when they could sell him.

    I really like the idea of three mobile midfielders/attackers with good ball control in front of a double DM pivot – two of Partey, Xhaka, AMN, Elneny, Ceballos – and a sole, mobile attacker. I wish this is Arteta’s way forward this season, and I see it more like a 4-5(2-3)-1 moving up and down like a harmonica (Victory Through Harmonica! 🙂 ). If so, then we can play a variety of players in the ‘3’ in front of the DMs: Nelson, Saka, ESR, Willian, Ceballos, Martinelli, Willock, AMN, Laca, Pepe, etc. I really feel that would make a big difference and would be less bothered by it having to be youth players in those three positions. At the moment, Marti and Saka are first choice picks and like you I wish they will start tomorrow. It would also be nice to see Ceballos play in the ‘ESR’ role sooner or later.

  • Great words TA! 👍 Loved the JM shade (“Does not manage a top team…”) 😆👏Good to troll even if they are in a better position than us in the points table today.

    It is very difficult to experiment with lineups given the pressure on managers. To do so during these early stages of building a career as a manager requires huge courage. It is tempting to go with the “known” quantities such as a Willian. Even if the changes were somewhat forced on Arteta, seeing this performance and energy from the ESRs, Martinelli, etc. hopefully lets the established stars know that there is real pressure and that they cannot take their selection for granted. Now to build a good run of games with wins and start climbing up the table.

  • TA, I don’t know if this season’s Ceballos could play the same role as ESR. Ceballos has been very poor this season and has transitioned to a sort of deep playmaker role under Arteta. He takes too many touches for me and his decision making in the final third is a bit off. He also doesn’t have the pace of ESR to join the attack as fluidly.

    Maybe Ceballos is just in a bit of a funk, but I’m not really sure where his best position is anymore with the displays I’ve seen in his last 5 or so games.

  • Thanks StH, agreed re the process of the young players putting some healthy pressure on the older players to raise their game and effectiveness. That can only be a good thing. Still I also feel that we need to use the experienced player the best way possible. Auba is a pouncer and cannot do what Martinelli does, well at least not anymore… so play as the CF in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Willian is a much better player but he cannot make play on his own, etc. But Arteta may now have found a formation and formula that will give us much better performances.

  • Cheers HH, Ceballos has been poor and like you I don’t rate him highly in the deeper midfield position. But I think he could do well between Martinelli and Saka. To be honest, as he is a loan player I am not too bothered whether Arteta will try him there a lot. May as well try Azeez a few times too.

  • JW thanks for the link article yesterday. Really detailed, quality analysis. I really do think Arteta is reading us on Bergkampesque because he stopped emphasizing high crosses, and remember us railing against the performance last week because of the lack of pressing. Everyone everywhere was saying give the kids a chance, so that’s not specific to us 😉.

    I will say one thing about Arteta that I like, he is not afraid to switch things up tactically, and he seems to be always working, analyzing. The crosses and pressing are 2 things that needed addressing and he did it. He does make many mistakes, (like the strategy against Tottenham, which I’ll never understand)… but anything can be forgiven if we get on a good run.

    We need to be prepared for a different lineup against Brighton because most teams are going with totally changed squads with the short rest, but we should have our energetic game changers at least ready to go from the bench. I would lean towards caution because they’re so valuable and have recent issues, and Saka is really getting worked a lot.

  • HH great observation about Ceballos. There is a lot of talent there. I believe Arteta, needing CM’s, worked to give him a deeper role. He’s playing midfield and defending much better, and he acknowledged publicly that Arteta added to his overall game that way. But I think its turned him into a player part one thing, and part another, and his role is out of balance now, also depending the needs of the moment. I still like him, but I think he needs focus and clarification. I wish he were a little pacier when he tries to drive through midfield, and if he’s more advanced, needs to think about scoring more. I’d have him watching Ramsey videos.

  • T, my transfer wishlist is similar to you and Kev. Definitely another CM. On a good team, Elneny should be 4th or 5th on the depth chart there, for the two slots, not 3rd. Backup keeper of course. The risk we took trying Runarson was really a bit irresponsible for a big club. Though I almost never ask for specific players, I will say I love the idea of Buendia. He always impresses me, like Jota did, though a different type of player.

  • I watched the game again now and would like to adjust some of my scores:
    MotM really has to go to Saka. His best performance until now and a Bergkampesque goal to top it all off. Unbelievable performance. A nine for him.
    ESR and Martinelli were equally industrious and important, so an eight for them both.
    Bellerin was better than I thought so extra half point for him, now an eight.
    Mari gave the pen away so half a point less for him: 7.5.
    Holding was very good and close to MOTM, so half a point extra 8.5.
    Elneny made a few more mistakes than I remember, so half a point less: 7.

    Rest the same.

  • T, kind of like I described… whenever I watched him play for Norwich, I was left impressed every time. He always seemed to be so active, in the middle of every good move. Definitely seemed industrious. There are not many names I remember from teams like that. They say he can play deeper but I remember him more as the creative player. High energy enough for premier league. Even if another team comes in for him, we can guarantee starting. Just looked at an 11 minute YouTube. Very strong show. Not the best way to scout, but Arsenal doesn’t scout anyway.

    I always say I love how Liverpool wisely adds some England proven players. Mane was one, Jota, I think was a brilliant move. Both were players we all should have been looking at.

  • Really enjoyed that Total, upbeat and positive, just my cup of tea…

    Almost January Window time and for me the big question is do we have to sell to buy, because KSE pushed out the boat to get Partey on top of big contracts for Aubameyang and Saka?

    And if we need to sell who do we have to sell who can generate some funds to reinvest?
    We’ve got plenty of players who we’ll be happy to give away but raising funds to spend is another matter especially if KSE don’t stump up some greenbacks…

    There’s plenty of rumours linking us to this particular player and that particular player but we’re not signing anyone with fresh air and that’s all we have it seems to me…

  • I think our transfer business should perhaps focus primarily on moving a few out of the club this window, I’m not exactly that worried about new signings especially as I’d prefer to see our youngsters given a chance before we start throwing money at a problem we might already have the answer to, for example Smith Rowe might just ensure that we save a shed load by missing out on Aouar?

  • Cheers, Kev. If, big if, we are going to play with one CF, we can sell one of Laca, Auba or Eddie. We could also try and sell Pepe but we will not get much for him now.

    I think Bels could fetch a few pesetas.. In old money.

    But I think most important is to free up space and wages by letting a number of unneeded players go this January.

  • Total, kudos to you for defending Willian, but, if a club came in for him next summer and would be prepared to take on his salary under the proviso that we let him leave for free would you say that thats good business?

  • Yeah Total, there is a lot of links to Barcelona for Bellerin and as much as I like Hector, if the price was right we’d definitely hav3 to consider it with Soares and Niles as alternatives. Although the vibe I get is that Hector wants to stay.

  • If by the summer he has still not come good, I agree. But I think he will, Kev. Just rate him highly and Arteta needs to play his strength. I think he would have loved to play in that 4-2-3-1 formation… 👍🏿

  • Maybe the Mustafi to Barca rumour has more to do with his agent trying to agree a summer move rather than Arsenal trying to move him on next month forca nominal fee? Mustafi isn’t going to pass up a nice signing on fee in July to suit us in January.

  • TA, Buendia is a very interesting player and is the creative force for Norwich. He is great at pressing, tackling and interceptions. 4th most creative player in the prem last season and he had more successful tackles than any other player on his team. Very good in tight spaces with his footwork and can play a variety of quick incisive passes to break teams down. His weaknesses are consistency and goal scoring though he’s scored many goals in his seasons in the Championship.

    Julian Brandt is the other intriguing name that I see we are linked to and I think he could be a better option than Aouar for the creative role, as he takes the best attributes from Santi and Ozil into one player though he’s never reached their levels at the same age.

  • I hope your right about Willian mate although I can’t lie, I’m not feeling it with him…

  • Hector seemed in his element yesterday, I have to say. Saka in front and Holding and Elneny around him really suited him. I was also impressed with his fitness levels.

  • Kev, it would be poor planning to only rely on ESR as our primary creator. He has an extensive injury record and is still unproven. We should have multiple creative CMs in this team.

  • Brandt looks interesting HH, he’s what 24 and valued at around the £30m mark, but can we rustle up the bread for a bid?

  • HH I don’t disagree with you regarding creative midfielders, Willian is one of those isn’t he or at least that’s how I read the blurb last summer? ESR’s fitness record is definitely a worry that’s a fact, but if we don’t have the money to spend and I’ve no reason to think that we do, then I’m not sure what the answer is?

    Maybe the lack of transfer funds was the main driver behind signing Willian in the first place?

  • I like Ward Prowse, Cantwell at Norwich is a good player as well, but Norwich are looking likely to bounce back up so they won’t sell cheaply.

  • Maddison was a really good player at Norwich, but only Leicester took a gamble and now he’s worth a fortune, the secret is getting them when they’ve not quite hit peak performance and that’s where I see Cantwell now.

  • I don’t see the problem. We can play a lot of players in the Three behind the CF for our current crop. Many of them can create chances.

    Marti ESR Saka
    Marti Saka Nelson
    Saka Willian Pepe
    Pepe Willian Saka
    Marti Laca Nelson
    Etc

    Key is the formation and willingness to work hard.

  • Kev, Cantwell is very inconsistent and overrated. He doesn’t even start for Norwich in the Championship week in and out. Their fans think he’s more easily replaceable than Buendia, but there is obviously potential with Cantwell and it helps that he was a boyhood Gooner.

    JWP is a great shout and someone I would love at Arsenal in the deeper CM role as he is also good at set pieces. However, he seems like a one team man and there would be little reason to leave Southampton right now.

  • Kev, not entirely sure but Ornstein reported that KSE would be making funds available to show their support in Arteta in January. Whatever amount that is, is anyone’s guess.

    Brandt is a wonderful player who’s been caught in a turbulent situation at Dortmund under Favre this season (who was sacked). He simply glides on the pitch, drives play with his incredible passing or ability to beat multiple opposing players on the dribble. He’s also 6’1 with some aerial ability, which is great for the prem and is very proficient at pressing and winning the ball back.

    He can play on the wing, at CAM or even as an 8 in a 4-3-3. Very versatile player and one that is just starting to scratch the surface. He’s also incredibly humble and team oriented, which would be a great match with the upcoming youth movement at Arsenal. £30-40 mil sounds about right in terms of his market value.

  • A new right fb, a quality central midfielder – i definitely agree with that
    In a near future, my ideal XI would be
    Leno
    ??? (Bellerin, MNiles) – Holding (Saliba, Chambers) – Gabriel – Tierney
    Partey (Azeez, Olayinka) – ??? (Cottrell, Patino)
    Saka – SmithRowe (Saka) – Martinelli (Nelson)
    Balogun (Martinelli, Nketiah, JohnJules, Moller)
    So what about the question marks? – in the right FB position, I honestly don’t know; i haven’t seen enough of the other english/european teams this year; the only lad who impressed me was Everton’s Godfrey when he played left FB against us, even though he’s right-footed …
    I think some time ago, you suggested we should try Reiss in that position, TA, I’d be very, very curious to see that – but it would take a lot of convincing, I think (young attackers don’t like being told they won’t make it upfront)
    Upfront, we’re packed with some of the most wonderful talents in europe, I just don’t get why we should spend any money on an attacking midfielder, when we have Emil/Bukayo in store
    Alongside Partey is the poisition where we might/should spend big, imo.
    There’s this wonderkid camavinga who has been playing for rennes – i can only dream of what his partnership with partey would bring us
    I know ALL of the usual suspects (Real, Barcelona, Bayern, Juve, pPSG, City/Chavs/Utd…) are on him, but i do believe we stand a chance:
    He’s only 18, and four full seasons in the PL and in Europe, without the competition and the pressure he’d get elsewhere, under the responsibility of a young, talented coach like Mikel, is just what he needs before making it to Real (this is where he’ll end up, eventually); from what i’ve seen of him the kid looks very bright and would see this point very clearly
    But of course, he’d come at a price … but i’d rather we spent very big on him than on a whole bunch of average players (you’ve been very, very kind to Soares/Willian, TA, …)

  • We would have to disagree on some topics, but we both dodged the bullet by GN5’s fine preview post. 🙂

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