13 games and only 1 defeat so far – Is it time to praise Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta continues to demonstrate that, post-Arsene Wenger, he is the man to lead the club to new heights. 13 games (in all competitions) into the season, the results so far can’t help but agree that Arsenal are not a one-hit wonder, as some claimed last season.

But how have they performed in the 13 games?

In these 13 games, they won the Community Shield against Manchester City; in the league, they are unbeaten in 9 games thus far this season with 6 wins and 3 draws (they are third in the league, two points behind league leaders and North London rivals Tottenham); and they have won two of their three Champions League games (they lost the other to Lens).

As they say in calm water, every ship has a good captain, and Arteta transformed the faltering Arsenal he took over into one of the toughest opponents destined to have a say in not only English football but also European football.
Though you may be thinking about our memorable Champions League win over Sevilla on Tuesday night, I can’t help but recall the 2-2 draw in the London derby.
The Gunners came from behind to force a 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Saturday, turning things around in the end after a poor start and falling behind by two goals. That comeback demonstrated Arteta’s team’s maturity as well as the team’s character to fight back and not give up.
Apart from the draw with Chelsea, there have been numerous occasions this season where Arteta’s team has done all possible to get results. They also didn’t play well against Everton at Goodison Park, but they won by one goal. The same thing happened when they faced Brentford away in the Carabao Cup and won by a goal. The dramatic late 3-1 win over Manchester United demonstrated an Arsenal team that is mature and capable of holding on.That said, the real test came when they faced last season’s league champion, Manchester City. That was a match in which Arteta demonstrated the progress his team has made; his tactics and game plan did everything to prove to Pep Guardiola, whom he worked under, that there’s a new sheriff in town. Notably, Arteta this season is 2-0 versus Guardiola, having defeated him in the Community Shield other than the league.

This Arsenal team has reached a point where they can collect “good results” even if they are not at their best. What a team!

Players receive all of the credit for Arsenal’s outstanding performance, but Mikel Arteta’s efforts should not be overlooked. He has assembled a dream team and, in doing so, has instilled discipline and found a way to switch tactics after tactics to get the best out of his team while maximizing their abilities and bringing the best out of them.

That’s why when Arteta says, “We are on a journey still, a lot of games to play for, a lot things can happen, it shows you how difficult it is to win in the Champions League, especially away from home.” I can’t help but think that Odegaard and Co. just need to, at the end of this season, crown Arteta’s fine job at the Emirates with Champions League glory.

Darren N


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  1. If we won at Stamford Bridge and win at St James Park, I would be confident about our EPL title winning chance. Pochettino successfully countered Arteta’s tactic, so I don’t think we’ll win EPL this season

    We could be lucky in UCL though. If we don’t meet any English team there, I believe we’ll have a good chance to reach the semifinal or final phase

  2. Nobody can complain about the twelve competative games since the start of the season and the way we have managed only one defeat. Yes the project obviously has born fruit. From my point of view, i saw the faults in the set up last season, that ultimately cost us. Some are improving some aren’t. I am not convinced we are always getting results because of what we are doing but sometimes in spite of what we are doing. I still feel our set up is very good but small things break it down. The Raya situation is a real baffler. The Haverz situation is/was a real baffler. The fact we dont have a number 9, i feel is a mistake. The now reliance on Jorghino is worrying. Playing Partey and Timber out of position at the start of the season, probably caused some of the problems we find ourselves in now. Today things are swimming along nicely, its just some of the “baffling” decisions that could ultimately be punished and its a case of seeing how much they cost us or wether, they turn out being productive.

  3. There is good and bad, praise and criticism as in all things.

    1. Good results so far, at times he looks the genius we hear about.
    2. Other times, we’re left scratching our heads. Partey at RB, dropping Gabriel for White at CB, glad that experiment is over.

    Man management continues to be an issue, and how certain players seem to always start regardless of form.

    ESR is a prime example. Odegaard is off the boil, yet ESR can’t get a chance over him? Raya has lacked the composure and distribution we heard about, yet Ramsdale is the one dropped?

    Havertz gets showcased by Arteta, while other equally deserving players left out and on the bench.

    Arteta has helped Arsenal become contenders again, but let him win something with his chosen players before we celebrate and have a parade.

    Positive and optimistic with club so far, but let’s stay grounded and keep our eyes on the prize.

    1. Durand
      I agree with your post and Reggie’s too, excepting, I presume, because you don’t accept his FACup trophy as they weren’t his players. I think you are being unkind because he had to coach what he was given and the 15 months or so that Emery was at the helm produced a team that (also) weakly gave up a strong position and got hammered by Chelsea in Baku.

      Whilst Arteta is definitely a new manager, he no longer falls into the rookie category when I gave him a lot of rope, so your comments about aspects of man management resonate with me. We can’t possibly know the minutiae of the health and fitness of the team from match to match but ESR is deserving of more time on the face of it. Raya needs to buck his ideas up or speak to a psychologist to regain his confidence.

      1. Sue, the fact that team, that wasn’t Artetas won the FA cup was more down to the players than Arteta. Many had won the FA cup before. The fact he broke that team up anyway, make it no a debate, as far as what is going on now. This is Artetas team and way. This is what he and the players should be judged on today. Everything has been put in place for the manager (in this case) Arteta to go out and achieve something. Not just winning games but winning major trophies including the league. I dont class the league cup as a “major trophy” not now but it is still a proper tournament, albeit not took seriously until the semi and final. We can only debate what Arteta is doing now as a yardstick. Yes that FA cup is on his resume and rightly so but it wasn’t with “his” team. This is his team.

        1. I get kind of get your point Reggie but I don’t find it relevant to whether they are his players or not. Saka and Martinelli are not his players – nor any of the academy players that have come through such as RN, EN and ESR.
          Players always come and go and I still think it was stretching it a bit by Durand to suggest that Arteta can only take credit from us fans when he wins with his so called players Just my feelings that’s all

          1. SueP
            I apologize for any misunderstanding, and of course I credit Arteta with winning the FA Cup.

            I just apply an asterisk because many on here consider the players “deadwood” and “not good enough” yet he won with that team.

            Since Arteta rebuilt the squad with his chosen players we have not achieved similar success.

            We finished 2nd last year, but to me it felt more a case of losing 1st place than rising to finish 2nd.

            I am positive about our club and our potential, it’s just time to achieve the trophies. Time, money, patience, roster control, everything has been provided, it’s time to produce now.

        2. “His team”? Surely Arsenal is OUR team ,all of us.

          Who cares who bought those players, as we won the cup. THAT is what matters, not who bought the then players. A manager, correctly, is given the credit for winning us any trophy, irrespective of who played or who bought those players.
          True? Or do you deny that!

      2. SueP, Unai Emery, at Arsenal did not “produce a team” because he was expected to coach the players provided to him by others. Yes, Arsenal were “hammered by Chelsea in Baku”, but could that have been due to the attitude and effort of the players given that Emery has won the Europa League with Valencia (3) and Villareal(1), including putting Arsenal out?

    2. @Durand
      Could it be, that we (including you) as fans only know very little compared to a football manager, and it tends to become a “fact”, Arteta’s selection isn’t based on what is the best team, just because some think other players should be selected?
      It seems to me, you think you know the players mentioned, should be picked, and as they aren’t, you conclude Arteta has a problem with man management, when a logical explanation is, Arteta picks the players, thak make up the best team, and that is in fact why, we are doing well.

      1. Could it be that all fans should just never question nor criticize decisions made by the manager? No fan will ever know more than a manager, so lets all keep views that differ from the manager out of a fan site like JA

      2. Wow, you completely misunderstood my point, pulled my opinion out of context, and then based your reply on what YOU thought I meant.

        I will make it simple so you can understand.

        I never claimed to know more, but when more successful manager, former players with more success, and even less success managing point out his “man management” it is worth taking note, is it not?

        Playing an injured Saka, and he missed the following game? Raya over Ramsdale has proven questionable, has it not? White at CB over Gabriel? Partey at RB?

        If you choose to never question Arteta, that is fine and your choice, I will not condemn you for it. Unfortunately, for those of us who think for ourselves and may fall out of step and question Arteta you seem aggrieved as if no one should ever question or criticize.

        I did so even with Wenger, a far more successful manager. I question everything, as a thinking individual should.

        1. Well said Durand. I am well known as a true supporter of MA but I too have oft criticised some of his, to my mind, puzzling decisions, mostly the ones you list.

          We have a right to our own views and to give them.

          Otherwise why bother with ANY fan debate site. We fans are FAR MORE IMPORTANT, COLLECTIVELY, than ANY player, ANY manager, as all those can be replaced but without fans, football clubs die. Reality!

  4. Arteta’s project certainly shows promise, but to be candid, we’ve had to work hard for our results, often due to less-than-ideal starting 11 selections. I’m optimistic that in the upcoming transfer window, he’ll make key acquisitions – a reliable goalscorer and a midfielder who can truly fulfill the role he initially envisioned for Havertz, whatever that may be.

    The choices of Raya over Ramsdale and the omission of ESR have left many of us perplexed. However, I have faith that Arteta’s Bulb will switch on from these decisions readdress them, and guide us toward Premiership glory.

    So my thought is it’s a bit early to be blowing his trumpet.

    1. The issue here is that any decision that some people disagree with is interpreted by some fans as “wrong” or a “mistake” on the part of the manager. Everyone can have opinion, it does not make them right.

  5. Arteta is doing what good managers do, building a squad. He’s not alone in this, you can compare what he is doing to Howe, Emery and Postecoglu. Its about how long it takes and how good they get. Generally its going to take a few seasons. Klopp sorted out Liverpool in one but all he had to do was rebuild a midfield. As far as Arteta goes I do feel he hasn’t yet completed the rebuild and by now I’d have expected him to. Still you can’t argue that the squad is a lot better than when he took over.

    1. Arteta seems more of a creative manager than a methodical one. He does seem to understand that no one player can actually “substitute” another. It’s about nuances.

      If you start with a player A and want to substitute him with player B, you can’t employ that same game plan and if you do, ypu should be aware that either player A or the player B will be better suited to it. It will never be equal or even close.

      Rather than keeping the gameplan same, if the plans are devised to suit certain player “combinations” rather than individual players, we can have a more manageable situation. And that’s what I believe Arteta is doing.

      That’s why I am lenient on his decisions, even if they fail sometimes. But given enough time, he will have a squad that will be so annoying to play against, other managers will wish they won’t face Arsenal ever again.

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