Arteta cannot be called a success until the Gunners start start winning EPL titles

Winning the Premier League is tricky, as Arsenal discovered last season. They led the title race almost the entire season before losing it near the end. It was hard for the Gooners to witness the title race heartbreak, since their failure to win meant that last season ended with nothing to rejoice about, nothing remarkable.

Paul Merson argues Arsenal must now push for the league title because playing beautiful possession football will mean nothing in the long run, as fans will have nothing to remember them for if they do not win the league. The Arsenal icon acknowledges that winning the league will be difficult, but he believes that as well as Arsenal are playing, they must find a way to transform themselves into a title-winning squad.

Merson writes in his Sky Sports column, “This current team has to find a way. They have to go on and win the Premier League sooner rather than later. That’s the only way they go down in the history books.

“It’s such a hard thing to do. Getting your hands on that first title is a huge challenge, but then getting your hands on the second one is also just as hard.

“We wax lyrical about this Arsenal team, and rightly so. But, in the end, they have to turn it into something.

“I don’t want to be a party pooper because Arsenal are doing amazing, but if the current crop of players stay there for the next five years and don’t win anything, the fans won’t be talking about this team in 20 years.”

Do you believe Arsenal will only be deemed a success under Mikel Arteta if they win the Premier League?

Daniel O


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Tags Merson Premier League title race


    1. The other fella won 3 in 10 years and that was a success when it was a two horse race for 10 years and 0 in the remaining 12 years after the EPL became interesting with more teams competing. Shame on you!

      1. Yup but lets not mention russian billionaire and arab owners and how they changed the landscape of football transfers everywhere in his last 12 years.

      2. Amazing how you leave out, probably the most important fact, we were competing on a shoe spring budget compare to the others and still maintained top 4.

  1. The money has been spent, the time has been given, the process is done, this is Artetas expensively assembled team, major trophies must now follow. There can be no excuses, just action.

  2. The gaffer is not expected to win the title until phase five, so an FA cup, Europa league cup or any of the big jugs with a top four finish is a success, anything more is really bonus territory we are in.

    1. when does phase five start? Sounds like NBA sixers saying trust the process, didn’t work though…

    1. Yea I agree Gai👍
      That’s the standard.
      I am sorry I don’t think Arteta can win UCL I have seen so much lack of experience in some of his decision making, selection and even tactics. Arteta in some games need to learn how to sacrifice beauty football for pragmatic tactics to win a match. Success is about result and not really about flare. A coach can only be remembered for trophies. Only winners are celebrated.

  3. Considering where we were when he took over, and the fact the club had been regressing for over a decade, MA has already been a success.

    Normally I’d agree about the title, but that is an unfair expectation these days with City’s unlimited funds, and years of cheating being allowed. So making us competitive in the league is what we can ask for, but not to expect a title win.

    We all define success definitely, but if MA where to leave tomorrow, one has to acknowledge that Arsenal is in a much healthier state than what he inherited. There has been improvement in every aspect of the club.

    1. Not meaning to knock Arteta at all but wouldn’t you attribute our position down to the massive influx of finance by the Kronkies. Managing becomes a heck of a lot easier, when you put money in like they have. Which they didn’t with the previous managers. They had to work on a seemingly tightish budget. So with that in mind, its the managers JOB to win trophies to help justify the input.

      1. Yes and no.

        Man Utd have outspent every club in Europe, yet have only regressed and are a million miles away from the top clubs. So you do also need the correct structure and manager as well.

        One of big reasons we’ve halted the slide and improved is because of the structure MA has created.

        I agree that having money to spend makes things easier, but you’re forgetting context. Almost the entire squad needed changing for various reasons, and given how far away we were from the likes of City, the spending was only enough just to try and close the gap, given City were already far better, whilst continuing to spend themselves.

        Secondly, the money spent as actually created huge assets for us, baring the odd mistake like Hatvertz. Whereas the squad inherited had very little value.

        Finally on previous managers Wenger was reluctant to spend. Remember that summer when all we signed was Cech? Yet there was money to spend. I will admit Emery wasn’t fully backed, although we did still spend huge, Pepe for example.

    2. Regressing for over a decade when MA took over Jen?

      The lowest position in the PL the decade before MA took over was 6th, the highest 2nd.

      In that same decade, we won the fa cup three times.
      We qualified for Europe every single year of that decade and got to a european final.

      Since MA took over for four years :
      In the PL we have finished 8th twice, 5th and 2nd.
      In the FA cup, discounting the squad that he took over as it was a mess (your words) we have been knocked out in the 3rd and 4th rounds.
      First time in TWO decades we were out of ANY european competition and got knocked out in the Europa league at the last 32 stage.
      In the last four years, just over £800,000,000 has been spent on new players.

      During the decade you mentioned, both chelsea and city have been fined for “cheating” so it’s not something new.

      So what has improved?
      There has been some excellent players bought in… along with some duff ones…but in general, we have recruited well since Kronkie opened his wallet.
      The connection between the club and it’s fans has been incredible and this is solely down to MA.
      We can all see how much he wants to succeed and we are behind him 100%.
      But, as with previous managers /coaches success is measured by trophies and / or european involvement and, while in phase four, he has not delivered.

      I believe he will, but to say there has been an improvement in every aspect of the club, is just not true… at least in my opinion.

      1. The only thing that has been improved ken, without question is the money put into the squad. The rest is opinion. MA has to win trophies to justify his job.

      2. Well, one thing has surely improved.
        For more than a decade, we didn’t compete for the PL title, and only Arsenal fans did actually believe, we had a shot at the title in that period.
        Nobody else actually thought we had a chance, and unfortunately the were proven right.
        But now, a lot of people see us as one of very few challengers for the title. Surely, that is improvement?
        It is also funny, that some of those, who claim that only the investment has improved, demand a major title now. Because that demand is actually based on the premise, we are good enough to compete.
        In other words, a big improvement in our status under Arteta.

        1. Anders, we are not claiming that, you are!!!!! You are making out Arteta has achieved miracles with this team. Where would we be without the massive investment? Tjhe massive investment NOW requires Arteta to actually do his job and win something.

          1. Exactly where have I claimed miracles??
            I claim Arteta’s project has been a huge success so far. I th as taken us from well outside top 4 to being a serious title contender for the first time in at least 10-12 years.

        2. Spot on!

          Before each season begun under Wenger, we already knew that we wouldn’t compete in the league or in Europe, and even the League Cup was a curse upon us!.

          So every season it was only the FA Cup to look forward to and that as it.

      3. As usual, zero context!

        Wenger SHOULD have been doing better because every player was his signing, and he was a vastly experienced manager compared to the rookie MA. MA needed a lot of time to stop the slide, clean up the mess, and literally start from scratch.

        Clear improvement in the league Ken, because we almost won the league last season, whereas Wenger’s last genuine title challenge was when he won it last…14 years previous! And MA has an excellent record against the top 6.

        Cannot judge Arteta on the CL as he’s it’s first season, although he hasn’t impressed in the EL, but then again Wenger was terrible in Europe!

        And for the final point, you’ve got wrong as you’ve misunderstood me. I was talking about improvements on how the club is now structed and run, not the results.

        1. I should also add, that Wenger went a whopping 9 years straight without winning anything, yet kept his job. He wouldn’t have survived at ANY other top club for failing for that long.

            1. Well Arteta got us challenging for a title last season for the first time since 2004. Our first genuine title challenge in almost two decades!

              Is that not an achievement?

              1. Didn’t say it wasn’t an achievement, ask what has he done that Wenger didn’t
                Season Leicester won title we finished 2nd and were title contenders
                That’s kind of my point , Arteta hasn’t reinvented the wheel
                In three full seasons as manager he’s finished top 4 once

        2. NO context you say… then proceed to say that Arteta had to “literally start from scratch”…. I guess you mean players like Saka, Martinelli, Aubameyang, Leno, Bellerin, Koscielny, Lacazette, Ozil, Martinez, Xhaka, Nelson, Nketiah, ESR, Balogun?
          Just some of the players he inherited and he gave new contracts to nine of the fourteen, wanted another two to sign further contract extensions…. yet he “literally started from scratch?”

          As you now admit, we haven’t improved in europe, nor in the league cup or the fa cup (4th and 3rd round ko’s).

          The “context” you leave out is The Emirates build, the Kronkie take over, though I’m glad to see you haven’t disputed the chelsea / city influence that first appeared during Wenger’s time and not Arteta’s.

          The PL has seen progress last year and I give Arteta top marks for that, along with the coming together of the fans and the club… but he still hasn’t won anything with his players and, as you judge Wenger on that specific, surely that should be the same criteria for Arteta, especially after the £800,000,000 plus outlay on his players?

          I wonder how MA would have performed if he was manager during the Emirates build and, equally, how AW would have performed with over £800,000,000 to spend in four years?

          By the way Jen, have you changed your view on Sanchez?
          That was another screw up that Arsene was blamed for wasn’t it?

          1. Name one top club that keeps the same manager on that goes 9 years straight without winning a trophy and goes 14 years straight underachieving in the league after winning it?

            You can’t! Because that would have been self harm by the club’s of the highest order. Yet Arsenal’s policy was always “Arsene knows best”.

            1. Name one top club that built a beautiful new 60,000 seater stadium, while witnessing boardroom unrest, a new owner intent on not spending a dime of his own money on the club itself, battling with billionaire owners who were intent on spending vast amounts of money regardless of the rules and regulations, while entrusting one man to keep the club in the top four and ensuring that CL qualification brought in the money needed to remain competitive despite all the above and yet insisting he sold his top players each season to help balance the books. Players such as Sanchez, who would stab the club in the back at the first opportunity.

              You can’t!! Because there wasn’t anyone who could do that, yet The Arsenal found the man who actually did it and became a legend at the club… despite the WOB brigade… of course it was Arsene Wenger the biggest “underachiever” our football club has ever known.

              At least Mikel Arteta appreciates what the man did for our club – such a shame that you can’t grasp the bigger picture Jen.

              1. Wrong again Ken!

                Any manager would have jumped at the chance to be consistently one of the highest paid in the world, and not get judged on results! In fact, in any walk of life, that is the dream scenario for any employee.

                Get paid the most, and don’t worry about your performances

                1. No I’m not wrong and, once again, you deflect instead of answering the question.
                  It’s becoming tedious trying to get you to admit that AW, despite his faults, carried the club, through its most turbulent history, forward.

                  As for his salary, I have to, once again, compare that to Mikel Arteta’s reported £8,000,000 a year for winning what exactly?

                  As Dan points out, he hasn’t surpassed anything that Arsene Wenger achieved – but I hope he becomes the most successful manager in our history and we can look back at what he achieved… the bigger picture Jen, not just judging on trophy’s won – because, if we did that, Mikel has been a flop these last three years.

      1. So getting rid of Auba was a mistake? MA should have let his I’ll discipline infect our young impressionable players?

        1. Yet it was MA who wanted him to sign a new contract at, reportedly, over £300k a week!!
          That was after the fiasco of Ozil’s similar contract of course and Aubemeyang had already had issues at the club by the way.

          1. And that was after the fiasco of blowing your entire summer budget on a player (Ozil) you didn’t even need in the first place and then letting his contract run down! Whilst ignoring all the squads deficiencies, because Wenger felt that yet another attacking midfielder was what we needed! 🤣

            1. No excuse for Aubameyang though Jen was it, but I understand your need for deflection 😂

              By the way, when Ozil signed, we won the fa cup that season and that must have pleased you, as it ended the trophy drought you are always on about 🏆🏆🏆🏆In fact, that’s how many fa cup trophies we won while he was at the club – it seems we really did need him.

              Talking about ignoring the squads deficiencies, buying Havertz and loaning Raya certainly helped our need for a goalscorer and a DM didn’t it?
              In fact, it allowed us to have two goalkeepers on the bench 😱😱 and allow ESR to sit idly on said bench while fully fit 💪

              Of course, Aubameyang was also allowed to let his contract run down under Arteta’s watchful gaze👀, but don’t let that alter the “context ” of your balanced reply👍

              Arteta didn’t have an “entire budget” as the £800,000,000 plus proves, but he seems to have “blown” quite a lot of it on players who are struggling to end our current trophyless run. 🤔
              I do love these emojis though, they certainly make a visual point 😎🤓

  4. Firstly, we are not utd and why use them has our yardstick. Did the squad need changing? That is opinion, he won an FA cup with it. So by that, his team should be winning an FA cup and arguably more. Or why do it all?

    1. That was a reply to Jen above. I would also add. If we are not expecting to win major trophies for all this input, why did we do it?

  5. Gotta love how goalposts continue to shift. Narratives, agendas, all get fueled based on an affinity for whomever is managing.

    Wenger Era was a tighter budget, but when he could have spent or upgraded he did not. The Cech Summer window a perfect example. Or a decade without a decent DM, can’t blame any budget, that’s all on Wenger.

    Poor Emery was in a hole when he started.
    1. A squad in recession
    2. Hired as coach not manager
    3. Club executives a disaster
    4. Never had final choice in transfers
    5. Never had the open checkbook
    6. Had the 4th place demands overhead

    Arteta has turned things around, I am glad and thankful.

    However, he was given everything, and so little was expected for first several years

    1. Near unlimited patience and never faced the sack, despite finishing 8th twice and no European football, a first in the last 20 years.

    2. Open wallet for checkbook managing, who can deny that? How much has been spent under Arteta with his players?

    Expectations and Standards should not be unreasonable at this point, nothing anti-Arteta about it. It is just unfamiliar after missing them the last several years.

    I’d be willing to bet Arteta and the players also feel it’s time to show something to reflect their progress at this point. Especially after leading last year 90% of the season and ending up empty handed.

    1. Durand an excellaent post with full context and detailed reasons for your thoughts. I love posts like that!

  6. Wenger saw some of golden players leave when he was assembling a youth and very talented squad. All because the club was repaying loan for the stadium. Imagine if Cole, Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, Clichy, Sagna, RVP, Toure etc had stayed together that would have been a good team capable of winning trophies galore.

    Arteta has been backed massively. He must win trophies as that is the only yardstick of success for a team like Arsenal. For all the criticism about the squad he inherited it is the one that gave him his only trophy so far and maybe the reason he was not fired when he was struggling. History only remembers the winners. He has seen many transfer windows to have corrected most of the flaws in his team. He still doesn’t have a reliable goalscorer yet he splashes 65m on Havertz. He loans out Tierney leaving the team without a reliable left footed fullback. He is unnecessarily overstocked in some.psitions eg right back yet we are lacking in some departments which he seems to ignore.

    If he wins trophies he deserves all the glory same if he doesn’t he needs to be criticized taking into consideration hiw he has been financially supported.

  7. When MA took over, we were 13’th in the league, and the squad and the mentality was probably not better than to be somewhere around 5-10’th.
    We are now doing so much better, and the assembled team is still very young and talented. Lots of potential still to be “unleashed”.
    Without a doubt a huge success so far.
    But unless we at some time in the next 2-3 years win a major trophy, it will not be greatness.
    That is also true.

      1. No, Ken.
        Managers are judged almost on a daily basis.
        My opinion is, Arteta has done very well so far.
        How he does in the future, is still to be seen, and therefore still to be judged.

      1. Arteta has seen a very good financial backing, because he and his team have outlined and implemented a project, which makes a lot of sense both financially and in results.
        He has build and developed a very young team, which is getting closer and closer to even Man C, who are a standard above everybody else. The team is growing and the value of the team has risen like no other team in the league.
        For the first time in 10-15 years we are actually progressing.
        It remains to be seen, how far we we will get. Hopefully all the way .

    1. 13th?
      We were in 8th place when Emery was sacked, and in 10th I believe on December 20th 2019 when Arteta was named manager, when Freddie was replaced.

      1. Durand, I have checked again. You are right. We were 10´th, when Arteta took over.
        But I maintain, the team and the mentality, he inherited was not not much better than to be well outside Top 4, and the point is, we are now so much stronger.

  8. Yes and that is why he was rubbed yesterday and also last season agaisjt this same Newcastle to make sure they keep taking points from him to make sure he didn’t win anything… It’s epl things and we know… Imagine VAR taking away 10points from arsenal every season since introduced! Even bfor var the officials was taking 15-17points out of their corruption and unprofessional.

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