Throwback to November 2019. 

Arsenal were losing 2-1 at home against Southampton. It was stoppage time. Gabriel Martinelli does brilliantly to beat his man and dig out a cross for Lacazette who equalised. It led to one of the most reticent celebrations the Emirates ever witnessed. Fans were fed up with Emery and many were hoping we’d lose just so he would get the sack. 

Two years later, our players and plenty of fans properly celebrated a stoppage-time equaliser by Lacazette against a team on a similar level. For the record, I am not against celebrating a goal. Each to their own. Everyone has their own way of looking at things and we should respect that.

But what I did find interesting, was the difference in perception amongst the fanbase between the 2 situations. I do feel Arteta is very lucky to still be in the job and have that much support inside the stadium - he needs to be questioned.

This might sound ironic, considering I was someone that heavily backed Arteta, essentially giving him a free pass last season. I believe that a rebuild is necessary, so any manager who comes in needs to be given a reasonable amount of time to turn things around - but you must draw the line somewhere.

Arteta took over the reins in December 2019 - if you told me that we would’ve spent over £230m in transfers in the next 2 years, I’m expecting us to be around the top 4. We have fallen behind and there is no progression in terms of how we’re playing.

Arsenal are not Manchester City. They spent over £270m in one transfer window. We haven’t spent that over 4 windows. So this notion that we must keep spending until Arteta has the best players is ludicrous. 

Also, Arsenal have a pretty good team. I’d say the level of our squad is about 6th. A good manager can make this team compete for that 4th spot because that’s what great coaches do - make their teams punch above their weight.

The goalkeeper and back four are a solid foundation. We have a Rolls-Royce midfielder in Thomas Partey who has been let down playing in a Fiat system. And let's not forget the exciting talent in that front 4 - Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe among others. People will point to their inexperience which leads to inconsistency, but a good manager and cohesive system would go a long way in helping them polish their games.

Just look at our metrics this Premier League season courtesy of Understat:

Games played - 8

xGoals - 9

Actual goals - 7

Position based on xPoints - 12th

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Actual position - 12th

We deserve to be where we are. Yes, we had a dreadful start in the first 3 games, but apart from that one half against Tottenham, I’ve seen nothing to indicate we’re on the right trajectory.

As a fan, I’m willing to go to the extent of saying it’s fine not always getting results in the short term. But play good football, create chances and have an identity. Our football is absolutely dire to watch and a lot of that falls on the manager and the system. These are his players. He just hasn’t brought the best out of them.

Under Arteta, we have underachieved. It’s harsh to blame him for the 8th place finish in 2019/20, but last season he was definitely culpable. He’s also got knocked out to Olympiakos and Villarreal. It’s not ‘entitlement’ to expect us to win these games. And yes, sometimes you can lose out on the day in these individual matches but the manner in which we went out in both was unacceptable.

We are too choreographed and the players aren't able to consistently express themselves. As I've alluded to in the past, our players are more suited to chaos than Arteta's positional play approach. There's no intensity off the ball. It is almost as if players have been asked to maintain position and stay in certain places as opposed to running hard. There's no use playing one game a week if we have such a laid back approach towards the games.

The in game management is dreadful. The substitutions are always too late and we haven't made use of the squad depth that we have. The fact that we've scored just 2 second half goals in 8 league games so far is appalling and proof that we haven't been proactive during games.

I put out a rather controversial tweet the other day drawing light to Xhaka’s importance in midfield. But I would also like to add - whether he is important or not, Arteta needs to adapt and find a way without him. And he has shown time and again that he needs everything to be absolutely perfect to win games. Crystal Palace were without their 2 best players - Zaha and Eze. Yet they dominated the ball and caused issues in our final third. And we were at home with a crowd. What is Arteta’s excuse?

For the good or bad, this was the same manager that got rid of Matteo Guendouzi who is absolutely killing it at Marseille. We could do with a player like this right now. The best managers find a way to bring out the good in players who are "hot-headed". The same, the case with Saliba who claimed that he only had one opportunity to prove his worth. Remember last season when Mustafi was getting game time over Saliba? 

Arteta’s man-management has simply been appalling. Maybe he learns one day and becomes better at this, but he cannot do so at the detriment of Arsenal. We aren't a coaching school.

In the stadium, most fans seem like they’re fully behind the manager. I believe Arteta is an excellent communicator and has a conviction in the way he speaks. He exudes sounding like someone who knows exactly what he’s doing. And that's certainly had an impact on how fans perceive him. But let’s look at the reality - it’s not bright. Emery was never going to be what we needed and he had to go - but he got sacked for much less.

Don’t be scared of change. This notion that we need to back a manager just to be stable isn’t it. Keep making changes and do everything you can to make the right appointment. Be ruthless and do all you can to get back. Liverpool struck gold with Jurgen Klopp. We need to do the same - go for a manager with proven experience who plays attacking football and can elevate the level of the team. Graham Potter, please!

Just like most people, I despise the Kroenkes who are obviously a big problem. They aren’t good owners. They are never dropping the levels of money the oil clubs are. So we need to be run extremely well to compete - it’s not just the players we bring in and sell, this goes beyond the squad planning. It also includes the managerial appointments we make and when we decide to pull the trigger.

Bottomline - I’m not convinced with Arteta and I see no reason why he should continue as the manager of Arsenal. Do you agree or disagree? Intrigued to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


(Featured Image: Press Association Via bt.com)