Are Arsenal on course for a worse season than the last? (Opinion)

The pressure has cooled on Mikel Arteta since Christmas after he guided the team to turn around their dreadful form, but where does our season sit in comparison to last year?

When Unai Emery was sacked, he had steered his side to 18 points from their opening 13 Premier League fixtures (1.385 pointer per game) in his second season in charge, and 10 points from their opening five group games in the Europa League. Unai’s side had won the first three which had put them in a strong position to top the group.

Fast forward 14.5 months and we have 28 points from our opening 23 matches of Arteta’s second term (1.35 points per match), and despite financial backing, the team appears to be in a worse position than we were last year.

We have no FA cup to potentially save our graces, and while Emery has a great record in the Europa League, our current manager has just one knockout tie in Europe against Olympiacos to take notes from, one which we lost thanks to our team surrendering the lead we took away from Greece by losing at the Emirates.

While Emery was sacked during a season with a worst points/match ratio than our current boss, Arteta appears to have the backing of his players and the fans, but can we really argue that he is any better than Emery was?

What happens if Arteta doesn’t seal European football for Arsenal next season?

Tags mikel arteta Unai Emery

43 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Yes, we could have a worse season if we don’t win EL. I think Arteta would still have his job next season if we could finish in top six, despite losing in EL

    Emery’s situation was different because Arteta was available at that time, as an ex-Gunner who was supposed to be familiar with Arsenal’s problems and had been learning from Guardiola. However, the currently unemployed high profile managers are Allegri/ Sarri and they would likely request a big transfer budget

  2. Pepe says:

    I don’t see us winning the Europa league even with a better squad than emery had..
    Arteta gets many free pass even with all the power and backing he gets over Emery.
    Fans backing him even when he is failing.
    I am tired of so many things at this club especially it’s loser mentality starting from owner we accept everything and only react when things get too toxic..
    Now there is no fans in the stadium to agitate things will remain the way they are we can only play and hope arteta improves, I don’t even know if the owner knows our position in the table or can identity 3 of our players by name…
    I expect arteta to stay regardless of if this season is a failure or not..

    1. Larry Dunlop says:

      Hey Pepe,
      you are absolutely correct as far as Arteta is concerned. I honestly cannot watch anymore Arsenal games because its too painful. The owner has “Arsenal” only as an investment project which is 3rd or 4th in his “Investment portfolio” behind his 1st place NFL – LA Rams franchise and (new stadium estimated to cost $5.5bn). He probably doesn’t know where Arsenal stand in the league table and doesn’t care “that much”. I doubt if Arsenal Inc. is now worth $2.2bn. I truly hope the owner sells the club “soon” to someone only focused/interested on football and “winning”. Us diehard Arsenal supporters have suffered far too long. For now, Arteta is going nowhere soon regardless how poor Arsenal may perform…. plain and simple. I guess this gives him time to “experiment”…..

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Start organising your buy out proposal. Personally I and my associates don’t have a spare £2.2 billion.

  3. S.J says:

    Realistically, the best we can finish is 8th with some winnings.

  4. Innit says:

    I don’t see us finishing in the top six even though I hope we do

    If we don’t or don’t win a trophy then we should get a new manager

    But we still have time to improve

  5. Sir Michael says:

    He could be employed to get rid of the deadwood just like Frank Lampard was and then bring in a top manager to purchase the players he wants

    1. Loose Cannon says:

      Sir, MA showed his pedigree by winning the FA and CS against good opponents. Unfortunately the distraction of Ozil & pals showed on the pitch coupled with Edu’s Tres Amigos (Willian, Luiz, Gabriel), we reached this low. Trust Mikel to achieve great things if he is given the free hand. Also Unai was hounded out by the O fan club, Mikel would have met the same fate had these toxic people been in the stands this first half of this season.
      Mikel needs to get rid of Xhaka, Elneny, Willian, Luiz, Laca, and we would be series contenders next season.

  6. AUBA_14 says:

    we need this EL real bad !
    Top 8 is the best we can achieve in PL

  7. jon fox says:

    I am so certain that MA WILL be here next season that I AM PREPARED TO BET ANYONE ON THAT BEING SO. He will remain far longer too, IMO. I factor in that we are not asacking club like Chelsea is.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      jon, “not a sacking club like Chelsea is”; tell that to Unai Emery!
      After the same number of games in charge as Mikel Arteta, Unai Emery (despite no say in the players provided to him) had Arsenal 14 points better off.
      The advantage Arteta has at the moment is that any of the available replacement managers available will require significant investment by the Club to sign up. Given the financial impact of the Covid19 pandemic and conservative ownership this is not going to happen.

  8. Atid says:

    Two things for certain, Arteta will fail to retain the two trophies he won in the summer.

    Also, unless he goes full out for the Europa League he will also fail to qualify for the Champions League.

    Also if he doesn’t take at least 30 points from the remaining 45 available he will fail to qualify for the Europa League.

    Therefore he is more than likely to have a worse season, that unfortunately is the bare facts.

  9. Sean Williams says:

    Arteta is not good enough as a manager or coach. As a coach, Arteta has not improved us football-wise in well over a year and he keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over again. As a rookie manager of men, Arteta is even worse, his man-management is too emotional and without wisdom. He will have to go sooner or later so for me the sooner the better.

  10. Goonster says:

    It’s Arteta at fault.
    This team should be doing much better and consistent than we are being served at the moment.
    Arteta is walking to his own demise.
    No one to blame but Arteta himself.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      So Wenger, Gazidis, and Emery had nothing to do with the absolute mess Arteta inherited then?

      So there are no consequences to ones actions?

      1. Goonster says:

        I have seen massive improvements in out team defensively. We seem like very tight team.
        But will not keep blaming everyone and everything for each individual.
        Arteta has cleared out most of the players he does not fancy. I am not here saying sack Arteta but here to say it as I see it. No mental gymnastics, word salad or trying to be politically correct on every matter.

        Again, Arteta has to take some personal responsibility. This business of always blaming this and that for why a certain player or manager is underperforming does not convince me anymore.

        And let’s be honest. We should be doing much better than what we are right now. The current Arteta team looks much better than the one he inherited and keeps disbanding.

        I can see a bit of wenger in Arteta. Wenger concentrated too much on attacking and offensive play while we suffered defensively.

        Arteta seems the opposite, more worried about not conceding, he is more concentrated on the defensive side while we suffer offensively.

        1. ThirdManJW says:

          I agree with most of what you’re saying, but surely Arteta had to put everything into sorting out our defending, which had been shambolic for over a decade. It was priority number one.

          As a result, our attacking game regressed, but where I see some light at the end of the tunnel, is that over the last 5/6 weeks, we have improved our attacking, whilst still retaining defensive solidity. Even in defeat, they are tight games. With a little more time, and the use of our better players, Partey, Tierney etc, we will see further progress.

          Our results against quality opponents is excellent under Arteta, even more so when looked at in context, and that is a good measure of what is possible under him.

          Of course we should be doing better this season, but I still think it would be unrealistic to expect any higher than 6th.

          1. Goonster says:

            You and me seem to always be on the same side on nearly all matters Arsenal going as far back as 2014 when joined this forum.

            I agree completely with most of what you just wrote. I just feel like Arteta is too cautious, that’s all.
            😊

  11. Reggie says:

    The truth is Arteta is not delivering and that is a fact, we are a worse team than last season and an even worse one from the season before. Arteta is taking us off the top table and we now just pick up crumbs. If we dont get European football i think he will be sacked because this club cant survive without it and we need CL to sustain our model.

  12. Kev82 says:

    This season has been an embarrassment if truth be told 10 defeats and we are only in February, yes the team isn’t anywhere near top level but they aren’t as bad as the table shows so Arteta is failing miserably! We have to stop using the we aren’t a sacking club excuse.. we most certainly are, the club layed off 55 employees! We often hear we have too much class in other words we just accept mediocrity it’s got nothing to do with class. The club hired Arteta as coach and then manager, and if they were to get rid of him now, they would look ridiculous so I’m guessing they will stick with Arteta for the foreseeable in order to look like they made the right choice.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      The last manager to oversee 10 defeats in a season by Arsenal, was Terry Neill, who was sacked.

  13. The Real Vieira Lynn says:

    This is a difficult one to assess…in one respect we’re in a better position because we’ve eliminated many members of the deadwood society, but from a League table standpoint we will almost assuredly end up in a worse position…both managers were hurt severely by unwise purchases, one, in Pepe, that Unai had no say in, and another, in Willian, that was self-inflicted…if Arteta had just stayed the transitional course we likely could have rid our selves of those who left in January during the summer window, then got Partey and Aouar, of something similar, over the line, and kept Saliba in house…that way we could have started the process of building for the future right away, instead of keeping up the ludicrous notion that we were in a position to compete for European positions or trophies…regardless I’m a little more hopeful now simply because Unai’s battle was far more problematic since he had no real say in personnel decisions…that said, the powers that be must be absolutely certain that Arteta has a viable long-term vision for this club before we allow him to make anymore decisions regarding recruitment

  14. S says:

    If Arsenal don’t get Europe next season, fans must be willing to part with their season tickets. They won’t have the chance to watch their team, let alone afford to pay them

  15. Jimmy James says:

    I can’t see us making top 6. Before the season started our chances were very slim. We simply don’t have a good enough squad. 8th last season was a fair assessment of the squads standard. Despite what some people think, our squad is worse than the one Emery inherited. In the summer of 2019 we started the first phase of significantly reducing our wage bill. The 2nd phase of this plan was just completed. There will be more phases to come and improving the squad whilst reducing the wage bill will I suspect prove nigh on impossible. I expect us to finish between 8th and 12th this season and think the board will stick by Arteta. Im sure the summer window will be a tough one with a few freebies and loans being the order of the day. It will be tough to sell the likes of Torriera and the vastly overated Guendouzi so expect more loans out and a small/non existent transfer kitty. Most clubs will be in the same boat. I’m expecting a mid table existence for a few years and until we resolve our recruitment and contract problems I doubt if any manager will change that.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Jimmy, to get to the heart of the issue look at the number and “quality” of players at Arsenal currently earning £100,000 per week compared to other clubs in the EPL. Arsenal is stuck with Champions League wages for low table mediocrity, and inability to sell on underperforming players, because other clubs won’t match wages. This failure was continued with Willian, so not left behind with the departure of Gazidis!

  16. Dboy says:

    We will make top six. I believe we can.
    COYG!!!

  17. Neath Gunner says:

    Partey Tierney both out on Sunday.
    Bad news.
    Already dreading the game.

    1. Quantic Dream says:

      Partey is the new Diaby.

  18. Jim wall says:

    Can’t understand some fans think we’re not good enough for top 6,
    And arteta is doing a reasonable job with the players he has,
    Any manager who can’t get into top 6 with players of the calibre of Leno, Bellerin, Cedric, mari, gab,
    Holding, Chambers, Luiz, Tierney, xakai, Partey, cobbello, saka, Pepe, martinelle, ESR, auba, lacca should be sacked…

  19. Joe. S says:

    Don’t know if you were being tongue in cheek or not, Mr wail. Half the names on that list are either, underperforming, simply not good enough or underemployed because of injury. These are often signs of a badly run organisation.

    1. Jim wall says:

      Not saying they are world beaters but they are good enough to get us top 6 out of the list above their is only a couple I’d want at the club next season. Leno, mari, holding, gab, Tierney, Partey, saka, ESR, martinelle…

  20. Joe. S says:

    I’m with you there.

  21. ozziegunner says:

    Look at Arsenal’s current position, points earned, future programme of games and player injury and form profile and predict the maximum number of points you are sure Arsenal can bank on.
    So the answer is YES, Arsenal will do worse than last years 8th.

  22. JW says:

    We desperately need to start scoring goals again. The lack of scoring is putting pressure on the defense. If they make one mistake (like against Villa) we lose. If we cannot score, maybe we need to start playing 3 at the back again. We changed the system to help our scoring, but since the goals have dried up, perhaps we should go back to being defensive. What do y’all think?

  23. RW1 says:

    It was patently obvious at Xmas that we were not getting in to top 6 with arteta at the helm and EL while not impossible is a long shot … like Wigan winning the fa cup … he should have been removed then but we will now endure another 4 months of hapless tinkering and uncreative football with the likes of xhaka Luiz bellerin willian lacazette aubemayang getting paid massive amounts of money for 3rd rate performances … on Sunday we will be up against a team that plays superior football on a wage bill one sixth of what our clowns earn …

  24. Mish says:

    We are yet to play, city, the chickens, leicester, liverpool, chelsea and even westham… We may end the season with 15 defeats

  25. Sue says:

    Yes!! And we’re heading there at an alarming rate!
    10 defeats already, with more to come
    Goalshy all season
    Out of the cups
    Top 4 no chance
    Let’s face it, we need a miracle to win the Europa League! Although we have a chance, so let’s hope we pull it out of the bag, as no European football next season will be disastrous! And I fear MA could very well find himself unemployed…

    1. Sue says:

      How poor were Wolves last night? Knocked out of the cup, rubbish all season, yet still managed to do the double over us!! 😡

      Sunday – back to winning ways…. right?!

      1. Quantic Dream says:

        @Sue
        Well if it’s any consolation, it’s not just Wolves that have done the double over us. Aston Villa did, Man City will and Liverpool probably. Does that make you feel better? 😂

        1. Sue says:

          So much better, QD 😂🤪

  26. Baba sagna says:

    Although the article is right in some aspects, I have a problem with the part where you said ” despite financial backing” you are very wrong. The only key additions Mikel has made are Gabriel Magalhaes and Partey, Willian wouldn’t have been brought in if Pepe had played to the level of his talent, Cedric and Mari were brought in as backups and about 7mil or so was spent on both. Same with Ryan and runarsson. We don’t know for sure yet but odegaard at the moment is also for depth. Gabriel was funded by Martinez sale and only Thomas was funded by the board. So how has he been backed? If about 70% of his signings are backups it means he has not even started the real rebuild, and the fans who dislike him(mostly ozilites) are already out with the Emirates cannons gunning for his dismissal. Although I’m not happy with the league position, I understand that this needs time, Arsenal would never spend 200 mils in one window like Chelsea. Greetings to all gooners

  27. OnceGreat says:

    For sure we’ll have a worse season. Last two defeats have pretty much destroyed our chances of European football.

    Too many results have to go our way and then Arsenal has to win games to take advantage of direct opponents losing. And that almost never happened in the past, I don’t see a reason why would it happen now.

    I predict we’ll finish the season between 8th and 10th with at least 3 more defeats. And then good luck attracting top talent to the club.

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