After two and a half years, how far has Arteta gone? By Eddie Hoyte
Hi Gooners and Goonerettes.
It’s been over a month since I last made a comment contribution on here. Work, studio, and everything that keeps me away occasionally.
It’s been a year, 9 months, and 5 days since I had written my first article specifically on what Arteta changed when he came in December 2019, and how he was changing the activities and culture among the players.
Today I’m sharing another of my in-depth views and research, quotes about him and the club since then, and this might a bit long for some of you folks, but I hope you make it to the end.
For reflection, I’m going to explore the situations surrounding the club and manager, and of course, this will be my opinions alone and quotes from a few people.
You can check my first in-depth article about Arteta here.
No point going into how Arteta got the job or the moves he made when he got the job. I’ll like to believe everyone knows that at this point. Has he done the things he said he would so far? Yes, he’s done some very impressively, and some are still questionable up until this moment. I’ve been a vocal supporter of Arsenal, the players, and Arteta since he came in. I’ve had to stay quiet about his struggles for a full season because I always said his first season was going to be nothing to me, as I’ll give him the rookie pass and a chance to learn and experience the job before I’ll start having my expectations.
I did get questioned, about my loyalty towards the club and all, but I understood why some fans would think that way, and I understood what I was doing by standing behind the manager in his first season.
Contrary to how fans pretend to make it look, this is actually Arteta’s second full season in charge of the club.
He started this season poorly and understandably with a weak team that had to face two of the best teams very early into the season. After that, I’ll be honest, I thought okay the best we’ll be able to get is top 6.
I never thought at some point we’d be in the race for top 4, but here we are still in the fight with a few games to go despite losing our last two games, and deservedly so. From here, we’ll need to put in our absolute best and nothing else to make the top 4. If we don’t make it, we’ll only have ourselves to blame and we’ll have to settle for Europa League qualification. That’s not enough for me. I barely watched our Europa league games during the past seasons, nothing about it gives me joy, so I don’t put my time into it. In return, I never got affected when we crashed out or lost the final.
A couple of weeks ago, Arteta gave an interview and he said this…. “Until now I think one of the biggest successes has been to create – as a club – a culture and an atmosphere where our players, staff, and everyone can feel that this is a place where they can fulfil their potential.
“It is a place where they can grow, they can participate, and everyone can add value to the club. When you get that, you create a real sense of belonging and that’s something more powerful than just personal interest. I think that’s been one of our biggest wins so far.”
So far, we can agree with the fact that the culture in the club and dressing room has evolved a whole lot, and the team when they win, they win together, and they lose together, and even among the staff on the training pitch there’s a lot of togetherness.
He went on ahead to say this: “You have to be aligned to give the players the right environment and protection – and sometimes the right push – that’s necessary. Obviously, before we sign them we do a lot of work to understand whether they can adapt and evolve in our culture and if they have the qualities they need to be successful in our team.”
Also, after PSG got knocked out of the UCL and Arteta’s name was being thrown around for the PSG job. Kevin De Bruyne gave an interview, and I think about his comment, and I see where Arteta might’ve gotten his ability to bring together new players and form a strong bond between them. KDB said; “Man City looks for the best players but also learns about personal life, the way you behave. They know how to create a group. It’s a little different from what is done at PSG.”
It’s only fair to see where Arteta might’ve picked his recruitment ideas from. If you want to build a group of players and turn them into a family, you’ve got to make sure they’re players that can work in a group, whose personal lives and behaviour are important.
Perhaps this is why the manager got rid of certain players? We know, aside from Ozil being a player past his prime, his personal life and dealings with the media at some point became controversial, and somehow he’s still struggling with that, as he was currently suspended. Take note, this is not about Ozil or going back to what he was to us, this is not to attack him or incite attacks against him.
Another example would be Guendouzi, whose talent isn’t no secret but his attitude got him where he is right now.
Do we actually believe Arteta doesn’t seem to think he’s good enough to be around as a squad player, that he’s better than Elneny?
Oh, I think he’s aware of Guendouzi’s abilities and potential, but somehow, trying to create a calm dressing room without ego and attitude seems to be more important to him, hence Guendouzi had to go. Maybe some more players too.
Another one of those non-negotiables for young and new players to succeed under Mikel is to get a grip on the language.
“Playing in one of the more difficult leagues in the world is a different challenge depending on where you have come from. But also, it’s about how much they do to adapt. They might not speak English when they arrive, but what can you do in a month or two months? They might say ‘it’s difficult for me’ but how much are you really trying? Because for me the language is an absolute basic. It’s the platform for everything. If not, you cannot communicate, make yourself understood or noticeable. You cannot create your figure, your identity, within the dressing room and the club without being able to communicate.
“It’s impossible, so I always put a lot of emphasis on players when they arrive – the first thing is you have to learn the language. You have to be able to communicate. That’s whether you are coming from the academy or not it doesn’t matter – you have to be able to talk with your teammates. It’s something we talk about because, in my opinion, it’s a key to success.”
This is a big one because we experienced it with Unai Emery. Myself, I lost support for him even though I started out as one of his biggest supporters, just as I did for Arteta. Aside from failing to control the big egos in the room and putting his foot down, Emery’s only biggest flaw with us was his inability to communicate in English.
Obviously now it’s crystal clear the man is clearly a great and underrated coach in Europe. Perhaps in some alternate Universe, Arsenal got rid of the big ego players, and are a team with the togetherness and culture change Arteta brought and have an alternate Unai Emery as the coach who could communicate clearly with the team. Basically, in some alternate universe, Emery’s biggest flaws and let-downs with us never existed, and I know that’s some bomb movie I’d love to see or watch just to see how it ends. If only it works that way. Lol.
Back to our universe, You could also question why Emery refused to work with a translator. He’s the professional, one of the best and underrated current managers and I’m just some guy who got his football knowledge from years of watching the game and reading books about the game and its technicalities. If the common fan understands that language and communication are important, how come Emery didn’t treat it as such? I can’t wrap my head around it. I mean you’ve got to hand it to him for preferring to take the challenge and effort to try. He’d go on ahead to communicate with the players and media in English. What came out of it was being turned comical for trying and his accent by the media, fans, including myself. That was the infamous “Good Ebening”. With leaks coming out about how players sometimes mocked his accent, and some couldn’t understand him whenever he spoke. Marcelo Bielsa worked with a translator, and you’d be left thinking, why did Emery refuse to get one for himself till he could handle the language properly?
Though Mr. Emery came out and gave an interview saying Arsenal fans weren’t patient with him as we’ve been with Arteta, and there’s really no lie in that. I was one of Emery’s biggest supporters, but I got tired of the game and the football we were playing after six months, even though we went on an impressive run. Perhaps if he had sorted out the dressing room first just like Arteta did, and the fans saw a cultural shift, perhaps he could’ve been given more time?
This isn’t an article written to criticize one man while praising the other. I started out writing this about Arteta and the team, and I think the Emery explanation coming into it actually proves Arteta has done one hell of a great job at the club so far. In his second full year as a football manager.
One thing I will admit to his time is I’m still unimpressed he keeps making some of the same mistakes he made last season. I think the Crystal Palace game was one of those days where it just doesn’t happen and everyone was off, but the Brighton game was a different ball game. I completely lay that loss on Arteta. After losing Partey and Tierney, there was no point weakening the midfield further by moving Xhaka to left-back when we had players who could’ve played the position.
So, I’m still impressed by the progress made so far but there’s also so much more to be done, and now is the time for him to show if he can actually handle situations like these.
The team has the chance to make one last big push for the top four.
Will Arteta and the boys make it to the finish line, or will they crumble further? This period will be Arteta’s most challenging one yet.
Have a great weekend you beautiful people.
Tou can read Eddie’s original in-depth article about Arteta here
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