Since Mikel Arteta has taken over as the manager of Arsenal, he hasn’t had much time to change things as dramatically as some fans may have hoped. He was thrown in with the team mid-table, performing way below expectations. The team looked directionless and lost, in the hands of Unai Emery and the club was at its lowest point for years; players were fighting with fans and the supporters was turning against individuals. Things had become sour and the task of changing the fortunes of the club looked like an impossible job.
In stepped Mikel Arteta, a former Arsenal player and student of Pep Guardiola, but, a man with no experience managing a club and certainly not a club of the magnitude of Arsenal. How has he changed things? How high can he take them this year? Experts in online betting like LegalBetting may have an idea. Let’s look at what has changed:
The first thing that Arteta addressed was the toxic atmosphere that surrounded the club. He quickly worked to get the fans back on side and smoothly dealt with the ‘Granit Xhaka’ problem. He laid his vision out to the squad and reinforced how important key players would be for his project. The biggest change seemed to be in the attitude of the players. He made it clear that he wanted 100% from his squad and that they should play for the badge. This in turn pleased the fans, as they saw spirit from a previously lacklustre side and even if results took some time to settle, the performance-levels were clearly higher. After Arsenal gained their first all-important win under the new manager the whole stadium breathed a collective sigh-of-relief as the positive showings were finally backed up with results. Perhaps the biggest change that Arteta made, was to implement a clear structure and style of play. Under Emery things often looked confused and uncertain; in contrast to this, life under Arteta is structured and drilled. It appears Arsenal have found a modern manager with a philosophy.
During Emery’s time at Arsenal he changed his formation 8 times in total. He started with his favoured 4-2-3-1, but tinkered with 4-3-3 and 4-5-2 among others and never seemed to settle on one system. Towards the end of his reign, his confidence seemed to waver and he was often seen to be tampering unnecessarily with the line-up. The Europa League Final was the last straw for some supporters and they had already lost faith in the manager before the season began. Arteta has a clear idea of the system he wants to employ and he is happy adapting it within the game, depending on whether the team is attacking or defending. The team took a few matches to adjust to his demands, but are starting to show signs of progress. Arteta has settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation, which he can adapt to a 4-4-2, depending on the quality of the opposition. The players are better drilled and know exactly what is required of them in both the attacking and defensive phases. The squad is working harder and running further than they did at the start of the season and they look like a much harder team to break down.
It is hard to judge Arteta after just 15 games in charge, but after a slow start, results have picked up and having only lost two games in all competitions, Arsenal have shown they are a more resilient side. With 8 wins, Arteta will be happy they are improving, but as an ambitious man he will focussed on increasing the win-ratio.
Arsenal fans will be praying he can secure them a Champions League spot, although it is looking unlikely and they will be hoping Arteta can convince talisman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to sign a new contract.