I am behind you Mikel Arteta

5-0 is a deep cut.

Oh we are feeling low.

It’s very disappointing but it was to be expected.

This was not going to be the bounce back game.

The wall was too high the wind too ferocious, the water too deep.

But I can see the fight in Mikel’s eyes, the hurt in his voice and the commitment in his body language.

We’re in it deep but now especially we need to stick together and hope for better.

I am going to stick with beleaguered Arteta.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

By TotalArsenal.

63 thoughts on “I am behind you Mikel Arteta

  • Well enjoy it then cause you’re in for more hurt.If you think this season theres going to be a miracle you’re dead wrong.Its gon abe worse then eight but anything better then wenger right???!lool

  • The sight of the fans, the players and staff clapping one another at the final whistle is going to be one I won’t forget in a hurry and says it all. Some of the fans share in the hurt and chose not to abandon the team in its lowest period. It was an iconic scene which some pundits could not comprehend.

    Backing Arteta, after all that and seeing our position in the table, is swimming against a very strong current. For this, I can only salute your courage and dogged trust. For me, though, if Arteta does start to turn things around, I will be most pleased because I love the man and think such a story of overcoming adversity is the kind you love to tell. Problem is it is looking a bridge too far. The owners may not be patient to incur the wrath of the fans and the potential reduced sponsorships. I support the club and the team but don’t like to see them all suffering like this, if a change can put an end to it.

  • TA, I share your hope but I am becoming increasingly sceptical that Arteta is the man to turn us around. Yes, I know we have had key men missing this season and a loss against the oilers was entirely predictable but, it was the manner of the defeat that rankles with me. Sending out the team with that backline was rash to say the least. Neither Kola or Chambers were in their best positions and it showed. Then when you look across to France and you see how well Saliba is playing you have to question the manager’s judgement. https://www.planetfootball.com/quick-reads/five-william-saliba-stats-from-arsenal-loanees-brilliant-display-for-marseille/

  • Great comment, Eris. I really see football as a continuous journey with changing landscapes and weather types. Arteta and the team are in a hard, wild spot but he is fighting and that is all I want to see.

    Changing the manager may seem attractive right now but I don’t see it as a structural solution right now. Just pain relief.

  • What is this this thing called “love”? This crazy thing called “love”… Love can be a wonderful kind of madness, but I’m sorry, I can’t share it with you in this case. Mikel Arteta is an incompent fool who never should have been given this job for which he lack ALL competence. Arsenal FC as I once learned to like it, doesn’t exist anymore. It’s sad, but it’s not important. Football is just a game. And never let a game become a substitute for life – for love.

  • Cheers OX10,

    I have also issues with the formation and selected players, but actually thought that we were weakest on our right side.

    Once Mikel has the team back on the rails I reckon we will roll again

  • Ah, Total, a spoonful of Emily helps any medicine go down.

    Brother Hasse, this may help you in your quest to understand love… Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

  • Well done Total, I’m out of my cave now, 4 more days to do some more transfer business, it’s also an opportunity for the club to reaffirm its support of Arteta and maybe he needs that. It must a lonely place when the media and certain sections of the social media fan back are at your throat.

    The away fans were brilliant again yesterday and Tierney showed captaincy material in the way that he persuaded and led some of the team over to our fans to thank them for that support.

  • Good stuff, Hasse. An incompetent manager would not win silverware in his first season against all the odds, would not have beaten all big PL managers at least once already in his young career.

    He aint no fool.

  • Hi there TA. Good post and great support from you for the team, the manager, and indeed the club.

    It seems ironic to me that, when pundits and ‘fans’ alike demand more steel, resilience and leadership on the pitch from our players – ie Auba should work harder when we are down to 10 men etc; we never seem to apply any of that discipline to ourselves. The minute we have a bad run, we flap around blaming everyone else, how unfair the refereeing is, the VAR is against us, the owners haven’t spent enough, you name it, it must be to blame. How could it not be, as otherwise we ought to win the league every season no???

    But we don’t recognise that a) most good (ie winning) sides are the product of stability of both squad and manager, and b) the attacks on players on line and worse still at the grounds, amount to an extra player for the opposition. When do we take some responsibility ourselves and show a bit of spine and get behind our team when they are in trouble? Constant changing managers is what Spuds did for 30 years – thank goodness, as they might have won something otherwise. We need to stay better than that, give the manager and all the new players some time to work things out – and give them support and understanding while they do so. They are people after all.

    When our friends and family are in trouble do we shake our heads and say ‘that’s because you are bloody useless’? Maybe that’s what an Arsenal fan does? A sad thought if so. You do a fine job TA of showing an example of real leadership – I don’t know how you keep up the strength with so much negativity around. But it’s a good job you do and I for one am very grateful to you for it.

  • Kev, I watched that last moments with players clapping the fans. It’s was poignant and looking into eyes of Ode, Tierney, Elneny they looked shocked and depressed. There were hurting and that may be in a sense a positive. I wonder why the coach didn’t join them.
    I have said it everything in the last thread. Iam still hurting because I Love the club and i am not wedded to the manager. They come and go but club always remains. I see no indication of any progress from this manager and I am done.

  • Hah Kev, hope you had a fine darjeeling brew this morning. Wild oats for breakfast? 😅

    The Away fans are great and fine spot about Tierney.

  • Best and heartwarming sight- players and supporters acknowledge if and clapping each other after a heavy, painful defeat.
    It is clear what strategy the Club is adopting – build for the future with a foundation of young players, with a handful of matured payers to help in the process. Though the potential
    And promise of the young is there for all to see, the matured players have disappointed.. worst off is Willan – brought in to add experience and guidance but he ends up being 3/4 choice for his position. Look at Chelsea, ManC, Liverpool- right now it’s like Arsenal
    Under 23 against these teams. It’s going to be a long painful journey. Watching an Arsenal game these days is like a visit to the dentist.

  • We just need to see the changes at Chelsea after Tuchel took over from Lampard. Tactically, Arteta is one dimensional and he certainly doesn’t know how to spot and manage talent.

  • i prefer facts and reason, which this ‘article’ is completely devoid of.
    There are no logical reasons to stick with a manager who has —
    # given contracts to over the hill players,
    # u turned on loan players, ostracised players,
    # changed formation and team selection every single game.
    # Failed after 20 months to establish a defence or team identity
    # persisted with Willian despite the most abysmal performances
    # persisted with strikers who were clearly out of form
    # sanctioned sale of our best keeper, bought a lesser replacement for more money
    # selected 2 keepers on the bench for City
    # selected Kolasinac and Cedric against city!

    lowest home points in a season—–lowest number of home victory in a season——most games without a win—–lowest goals scored —- worst start to a season—–most consecutive defeats——-lowest position

  • I see alot of people banging the Saliba drum, why? He’s playing in a substandard league against substandard attackers. If you think that he will perform the same against Chelsea and City and much more aggressive players they are deluded and clutching at straws and using Saliba as another stick to beat Arteta with

  • With the exception of (the much maligned) Davis Luiz this is the same squad as we had last season when though the football wasn’t an easy watch we had post Xmas the second best points tally.
    The big difference is that we started the season with a large number of first team players either injured or ill, which has been reflected in Atrtas team selections. Did anyone seriously think with such a weakened squad we were going to beat Chelsea or Man City..clubs that have been supported by owners with open cheque books since 2003 & 2010 respectively. Never mind the starting line-ups, look at the value of the benches! The mess that Arteta inherited was never going to sorted quickly & just who does anyone think is going to jump at the Arsenal job if Arteta is sacked now? We ended up with Emery because no higher profile manager wanted the job & after Emery, guess what..same again but just further down the food chain. Arteta was a gamble but probably the best on offer. Last season by Xmas once he’d got Osil & other disruptive players out of the door the team did well.

  • That’s a super post Total and there are also some great supportive comments.

    I waited 24 hours before I made a comment but that was a tragic and toothless performance.

    I am clearly an Arsenal supporter (74 seasons) and lover and absolutely nothing will ever change that.

    Yesterday we saw both Arsenal and Chelsea reduced to 10 men – Arsenal were a shambles and had hardly any possession and conceded 3 goals with 10 men – while on the other hand Chelsea were resolute and very well organized, conceding zero goals.

    My dilemma is – was this down to the coaches or the players. I’m fully aware that Chelsea have a stronger team but is their manager also that much more tactically astute?

    I’m with Arteta and want him to have the opportunity to show us what both he and the players can achieve under his management but I really fear that if it’s not a quick turn around the Kronke’s will drop the guillotine.

    With the Kronke’s all the love in the world will quickly disappear when compared to their need to protect their ROI.

  • I think we are way beyond the point where it could make sense to bring arguments and try to convince our fellow man.
    This is perfectly fine, though. TA hasn’t reached the point to turn his views around, and him seeing the fight in Mikel’s eyes is apparently enough, even though not much strategic skills, game management or any type of tactical awareness are to be found there. But as I said we don’t have to form a union here, varietas delectat as Cicero said.

    However I have one question (and some follow-ups). When and where will you be willing to draw the line, TA? If we fail to win any from the next 2 games? Should the board sack Arteta if Arsenal will be at relegation position after 6 games? If we will sit at #14 at Christmas? If we finish the season at #11?
    If you can give an answer then it’s fine. You have your own preferences, and you are welcome to be more forgiving than the majority of the fans. (Let’s not forget, if the majority demands something that doesn’t make it smart – see the Willian transfer, or many other example.) But giving an answer – any – would make the distinction between a loyal supporter and a blind follower.

    Yes, rebuilding takes time, money, sweat, and support. And also strategic thinking, concept, talent and even more time. But Emery could have been given the time; he is a talented manager with plenty of respectable performance before and after his tenure at the Emirates. Hell, even Tony Adams could have been selected for the opportunity. He could have spent 200M just fine, he has Arsenal DNA, is a club legend, has managerial experience in the UK. OK, he might be the worst manager ever, but one cannot tick all the boxes.
    I see very few signs to justify this worship towards Arteta, but that’s just me. I was halfway to the moon when I heard him being appointed, I was delighted after the FA Cup win, but it seems all downhill ever since. And the more I see the team struggle the more I’m convinced that not these unfortunate results are the rare outliers, but the FA Cup semi-final against City.

  • Cheers Sunn

    “It is clear what strategy the Club is adopting – build for the future with a foundation of young players, with a handful of matured payers to help in the process”

    Exactly, and patience is needed as there’s no turning back now.

  • There is a two weeks break coming up and we may just be able to pick our south American and African contingent with the rest of the squad to afford the coaching staff time to re-calibrate, get back some injured/sick players and go again starting with Norwich city. I do hope we can start to garner wins and the points from then on. The good football can come much later. This is what I wish for Mikel Arteta, as I do really will him to succeed.

    Anything short of this and Arteta will be gone, I’m afraid. Process or no process.

  • Just saying Spurs on top with 9 points, goal difference of 3. These 3 games also included a game against ManC. We are at the bottom with goal difference of -9. We are already 9 points behind them. So what does that say , is the gulf between the team’s so much? Other than Son and Kane , do we want to swap any of thier players?
    Where will we end up this season vis-a-vis spurs?

  • I congratulate TA on his optimism. I also envy him because I don’t have that feeling since the Villarreal tie.

    Alex McLeish won League Cup 2011 with Birmingham (against Arsenal) but got relegated at the end of the season. He was eventually appointed by their bitter rivals Aston Villa but he didn’t last for long.

    Roberto Martinez won FA Cup 2012 with Wigan (against Man City) but got relegated in the next league game (against Arsenal). He was sacked but got a bigger job at Everton. Didn’t impress – aside from a decent first season – and his results with the golden Belgian generation should have been better.

    Michael Laudrup won League Cup 2013 with Swansea (against Bradford). He got sacked in roughly a year after his biggest success because Swansea’s league form was underwhelming and they almost got relegated. It was his last job in a big league.

    My point is, a cup success doesn’t mean much if it isn’t followed with a strong league performance. Juande Ramos won the last Spuds’ trophy but he finished 45 points behind Arsenal. I highly suspect there is a single Spur fan who feel nostalgic about those days.

  • Eris, thanks for the interesting article.

    Admir (nice to have you back), thanks for the cup vs league perspective. Valid points indeed.

  • James, I am one of those who have mentioned Saliba not because I want to ‘beat the drum’ for him nor do I necessarily see him as a regular starter. we don’t know whether he will cut in the PL because he hasn’t been given a chance. You could have said the same about ESR and Saka before circumstances forced Arteta to pick them. We bought Saliba because someone saw his potential. He has played very well for St Etienne and Marseille, his position is CB. Yesterday we played Kola and Chambers as CBs – out of position.

  • They are not valid, PB. Stats are dangerous tools when used in isolation. Stats are also the soul mate of confirmation bias.

    But I am sure it was just a bit of fun by Admir. 😊

  • Here is the perspective.

    Realistically, if the games had been spread out over the season, given the phases the various teams are in, we would have expected to have taken about four points from these games. Chavs one point, Brentford three points and MC no points. So we lost four points and I think there were mitigating circumstances for this.

    There are 35 games left and those four points could be earned back once we are on a good run again.

    UTA ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • TA

    I wrote a piece for Bergkampesque not long ago where I had mentioned shades of George Graham in Arteta’s early days. As you can recall, Graham’s first season was also a full one and he won a trophy. It was a start of a great spell. Except, he had four years at Millwall under his belt before taking over.

    On top of my head…

    Zidane took over at Real Madrid from Rafa Benitez. They were in a poor state, lost first El Clasico (without Messi) 4-0 at home but he got them to the Champions League glory and almost pip Barcelona to the title (a single point was the difference).

    Roberto Mancini… He started at Fiorentina, cash-strapped club on the verge of bankruptcy and led them to the Coppa Italia glory. His next job also included financial constraints and a cup glory in his second season (Lazio).

    So, let’s take Mancini from Italy.

  • Johan Cruijff started his managerial career with cup success first, both for Ajax and then for Barca.

    Mikel Arteta is just like JC 😉😁

  • Red Nose Fergie won the FA Cup with MU first, only three years later did he win the league for the first time.
    You see what stats can do, PB. 🙂

  • First off… Beautiful piece TA. The most literate and cultured sport blogger on the web.

    Onto the circumstances with Mikel. A lot of good points made on both sides here.

    I was one who, when it was obvious that a good manager in Emery, seemed to have lost the team, believed he had to go.

    Then also, I have to admit, that I was in favor of taking a flyer on the young ex Captain.
    This though, was also partly due to the fact that I thought we wouldn’t pay for a top manager, or attract one with our player budget.

    I hoped the owners would see the danger of the team falling into mediocrity eventually, and said here that would be the only thing that could force them to spend. I think I was right, and it seems that maybe we can go for an established manager when the time comes, and give him a decent, acceptable budget.

    I have my worries that Arteta has got the players so bogged down in assignments and information, that they have forgotten how to play beautiful football. The things he has is trying seen to be showing me that it’s only confusing our players even more, and making things worse, like a drowning man flailing.

    This is not a recent worry, I’ve had it all through last season.
    A great comment from njk yesterday about our passing game reminded me of the big picture. I’ve talked about the signs and stats that show a degrading of our football ability and style…. So much that I even question what the heck is going on in training drills.

    It’s getting so bad that when people ask if is have Arsene back, it makes me smile and consider it.

    Again, when the time comes, can we pay top money and big budget to lure a Conte or Naglesman (my choice)? I also have a new respect for Mancini after watching the incredible playing style of Italy, not simply the results.

    I am still hopeful of a big turnaround in the next few matches, but it’s not the way most people think. It’s not just results, whether good or bad, it’s the actual progress in the way we play. If we can’t find a way to get back to the fluid football that other big clubs play, I’m going to say he has to go.

    Results would be a more fair way to evaluate, but I know what exactly I’m looking for, and it’s an eyeball test.

  • What a bunch of entitled whiners on here! How many of you even have managerial experience at any non-professional level, or professional Football Vlub experience as a player or even a ballboy? you are all permitted to have an opinion IF you can defend it with logic and hard facts, which you cannot because there are only 3 games played this season. None of us know the plans and objectives of AFC, Arteta or even the Kronke’s and so many on here are soiling their panties because we’ve started the season poorly, calling for Arteta’s head, judging his tactical skills, questioning his management style ad nauseam. You call yourselves gooners but you’re basically fairweather plastic fanboys moaning about things you don’t know and will never understand. We’ve had poor starts to the season before, we’ve had difficult spells where the team hasn’t performed as we expected but supporting AFC is always a long term thing, and trying to bitch and whine like spoilt, entitled brats is NOT supporting anything or anyone other than your inflated egos.
    Get behind the team, shutup about your complaints and like the away fans at City, support them through thick and thin, because if you cannot, you are not worthy to support the Arsenal.

  • Omg, you are entitled to your opinion and you could do with using more sober words. No need to call names. By the way jot one said they wont support Arsenal. Everyone had supported Arsenal for ages. We will still continue doing.
    Suporting Arsenal doesn’t mean supporting an individual and having blind faith. when did Arteta become synonymous with Arsenal? Managers come and go but our support for Arsenal remains constant.

  • OMG, Personally I’m not one calling for Mikel’s head – in fact I would love him succeed.

    Everybody is entitled to their opinion as long as they express themselves in a respectful manner.

    Believe me I’ve experienced all of our ups and downs for 74 seasons but I have never ever seen us at the bottom of the league and scoreless – after the first three games..

    I hope that Arteta survives this period but it cannot be disputed that right now our team are shapeless and disorganized.

    Being without some of our key players has not been of help but that cannot be used as an excuse for our hapless performance against Man C.

    It hurts me to say this but a loss in our game against our zero points compatriots Norwich could be a bell weather game that tips the scales against Arteta.

    I am not being the least bit negative but simply realistic.

  • OMG, as Madhu correctly pointed out you are indeed entitled to your opinion, but please for the sake of Arsene don’t use strong words like logic and fact, because it might confuse newbies to this blog and could think that you have anything in common with them; which you obviously don’t.

  • After Stuart’s article I would come to the defense of Mari and Chambers.
    Against Chelse Mari went to ground after colliding with Lukaku, and Chambers did the same against City. I personally think neither of the contacts were strong enough to destabilize a professional athlete, but could be grounds for VAR to later disqualify a goal. These were no fakes or diving, but for me it both looked conscious choices to intentionally prefer a possible fault on their favor than to fight for the ball or position, and potentially give away a penalty if the fault goes the other way.
    Obviously these are 2 events, which could be 2 bad decisions from the boys; but I can imagine this approach being the new strategy to “hack the VAR”, hence both Pablo and Calum could have been advised/instructed to disprefer man-to-man struggle if they feel a there is a high chance fault in the cards. However when you play for Arsenal, a fault against you is never high chance, so maybe the directive was wrong in the first place…

  • I’m good TA. Frustrated like the rest of us with such a poor start to the season, and hoping that a little luck and time will get things a bit more settled. But I’m also realistic – just because we have spent a lot of money this summer doesn’t mean we have a squad ready to make top 4; I don’t think we do. But we have a young core with some genuine talent which can grow towards that and, if topped up each year with one or two quality signings might put a smile back on faces in a couple of years time. But it’s going to take several seasons to get there, whatever the manager. And changing manager now after spending all this cash would just mean starting again with squad building around a new and different plan. Some managers work and some don’t; we need to give Arteta another 18 months to show us which way it will be with him. Otherwise we will have wasted all the spend we have just made – and why would any young talent want to play for a club that hasn’t any kind of managerial stability? That’s a hospital pass for a young player.

  • Fully agree, AB. Let’s see through the strategy and give Arteta time to implement it.

    Arteta and his vision was a bold choice by the club. It’s not for the faint hearted, but investments are being made and we have only just started.

    A new manager does not make sense. It would just be an, attempt at pain relief.

  • I am a full disagreement with AB and TA, except from the Giroud part. But most arguments have been already been exchanged, and it’s almost midnight, anyway.

  • OMG, you are probably correct that none of the contributors to this blog has had experience managing a football team but why should that stop us from expressing opinions and concerns in a civilised manner? What marks this blog out from all the others is that it is usually free from the sort of name-calling that you have resorted to in your post. I’ve supported Arsenal through thick and thin since 1969 and I’m a little concerned.

    One reason why I’m concerned is that last season Arteta fixed our biggest issue which was our defence. This calendar year, our defensive record has been pretty good but, as we all know we haven’t been creating enough scoring opportunities. Our better teams have all benefited from stability and confidence at the back. When we’ve had injuries other players have come in and usually given good performances because they’ve been well drilled in and fully conversant with the manager’s preferred system(s) but, this season it seems that we’re playing around with new systems there again, why?

    I didn’t expect us to get a result against the Chavs or the Oilers because of our injury issues but, I am concerned about the slow reaction from the bench to what was happening on the pitch. TA was pleased to see the fire in Arteta’s eyes after the last match. That’s fine but, I want to see the fire in the eyes of all our player’s eyes when they step onto the pitch and to keep it there throughout the match even in adversity.

    I’m not calling for Arteta to go, it would be ridiculous after only three matches but, he will help his cause no end by being more consistent with the systems he asks the squad to adopt so, that we can all see what he is seeking to achieve.

  • Agree, OX10. Arteta has to resist the temptation to keep changing things, just to please the baying fans or for the sake of appearing to change the systems that have served the team well. “Failure is an orphan” is a saying that is apt for his situation now; but, he has to be very strong to remain aloof about all the noise around him. That’s my concern; he is too young and inexperienced to navigate that bend. Even Wenger balked at some point. Let’s se if he can use the interlull to get everyone going again.

    OT: Did anyone else see Pogba’s tackle on Neves, leading to United’s only goal of the game? Can anyone explain how that is not even ruled a foul, not to speak of a card when Xhaka’s can get a straight red? How is the EPL so revered when the refereeing isn’t even consistent? Xhaka has not made contact but was deemed reckless; Pogba makes contact and only whiskers away from a leg breaker, yet play was allowed to go on, against the protests of the Wolves players, leading to Greenwood’s goal.

    The club has to make a strong point of this to the PGMOL and FA executives. The biased officiating has to stop.

  • Exactly Eris, maybe Mike Riley should come out and explain the difference and at the same time he can explain why Chambers getting thumped in the face leading up to City’s 2nd goal isn’t a foul and then MotD can explain why they skimmed over it in their highlights broadcast?

    Whatever the frailties of Arsenal in our three EPL games to date there have been incidents in all those three games that could have influenced each result in our favour and not given.

    I hesitate to say corruption and tend to lean towards favouritism towards our opponents bordering on ineptitude by the officials, but there’s a lot of talk about Chinese betting syndicates and their influence…

  • There is something to life and it’s that it’s a storm. The bigger boats don’t always seem to weather it. However, the sturdiest seems to cut up the waves and cut through them eventually. I love Arsenal and I know our love story will be a sweet one to tell. I still trust the manager. The players must learn to be brave. Thanks sir the Brave Right.

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