Arteta needs to ignore the pressure and stick to his plan

Arteta Can’t Give In To Fan Pressure by Dan

Sir Alex Ferguson once said the test of a good manager wasn’t when things are going well but in fact when things are going wrong. Arsene Wenger would often say something similar.

Anyone can handle working with top players, winning trophies and being told how special they are. What separates the good from the great is who handles adversity.

Who has the man management skills to not let a crisis get out of hand?

Who handles himself with integrity no matter what the outside is saying?

Who can handle a little leak without allowing the whole house to crumble?

Ultimately that will be Jose Mourinho’s legacy. Yes, a man who will do anything to win but who didn’t have the skills to halt a slide.

Just a couple of months ago, Gooners were excited by Arteta, They were proud we had a manager who could tactically out think the best in the business. Some were saying he was better than Guardiola!

Better then Wenger!

I was called negative for dismissing talks of a title challenge or lifting the Champions League in three years. That’s because I think we have someone in charge who could be special.

Yet I knew in the world of social media how fickle and reactionary supporters can be.

My fear was that expectations being unrealistic, instead of allowing Arteta the little steps he requires, overreaction will not allow him the time he needs.

That’s why this is a crucial period for the Spaniard. While I have been critical of him freezing out Ozil, I maintain that decision has been made above his head and he’s simply picking his battles. In that sense he’s been let down by his employers.

Every time we lack creativity, Ozil will be brought up. A more experienced boss wouldn’t put themselves in that position.

That’s what we got to remember though. Arteta is still a rookie, he hasn’t yet been a manager for a year. It’s only natural that he’s going to make mistakes. That’s okay.

The likes of Edu would have known when offering him the job, lack of experience would mean learning on the job. If that was an issue we would have hired a more experienced candidate.

There’s a difference between learning from your mistakes and being pressured to change.

Arteta has shown he can improve players and tactically make a team hard to beat. Now though he needs to show he’s got the strength to stand by his convictions.

I believe long term his ethos is to play the attractive brand of football that has long been our DNA. You don’t get mentored by Pep and then decide to play 5 at the back and 2 DM’s.

He’s decided to organize his defence first and maybe feels he hasn’t got the players yet to go on the attack.

When and how the time comes to change tactics needs to come from his beliefs, not pressure from the outside.

A Klopp, A Pep or A Wenger have their vision, and stick to hit even when the world has a different opinion.

That’s why I resist this notion that there are signs of the Unai Emery regime. We never had an identity under Emery. One week it was a back 5, the next it was a back 4. He would freeze out Ozil, then bring him back. He would say Ramsey didn’t fit into his plans, then change his mind.

I feel Arteta has a plan but can’t cave in to peer pressure.

If he thinks being negative gives us the best chance of a result at Old Trafford, If he believes Auba is more effective on the left, he needs to be strong and stick to his vision.

We need to give him time to do that…

Dan Smith

Tags Arteta


  1. Again Dan, nice and strong piece!

    Nevertheless, we must understand that Arteta is human and would in some instance yield to pressure, particularly when the point being raised by the pressure is subjected to deeper thoughts and demonstrates clear merits of purpose.

    That said, and in hindsight, many analysts and deep thinkers would have seen that Arteta and Arsenal are on an incline and they should not be worried about the outcomes of recent losses. Myself included, I was and I am not worried at recent blips because the process at work is clear and the underlying methods are meritorious. I have listened recently to experts who have played the game at the highest level, including Dion Dublin, John Barnes, Micheal Owen, many of whom are not Arsenal fans per se, and they all are confident Arteta is on the right path, and we have nothing to fear… Its clear, and I wonder why we are worried..

    Take a look at last night’s game… And you would see that it was all about taking the half chances… Eddie took what seemed to be a “no chance” and the game immediately took a different dimension, which prior to, had been practically average. Now, Dundalk could no longer keep to a low block, which loosened up the game. I keep emphasising that such could have been the case in both the Liverpool, Man City, and Leicester games, assuming those gaping chances were taken. Recall, Westham got a draw against Mancity simply because Antonio took a half chance, something I would call a “no-chance”.

    So going forward, I think we Arsenal fans should give Arteta a break in terms of the pressure we are creating, majorly from shallower thinking processes, we should critic but also look at all dimensions to come to better and positive conclusions…

    The trend is clear, the process is right, the players believe in him and all confess to be learning, what more ingredients do we need for success? Nothing, except time! Let us allow time play it’s role… There will be loses, and the manner in which they occur will always be a learning process.

    My major praise of Arteta is that he is an intelligent man because he accepts and identifies problems in a humble and honest way, he accepts that those problems exists truthfully, and it is always clear that he sets out to solve them…

    It can only be brighter for us in the journey ahead!

    Have a blessed day!


    1. Fire,
      That was a really interesting read on top of what was a great article by Dan. I started my own response but couldn’t come close to bettering yours.

  2. How can he ignore the pressure when we are not winning games? His tactics and game plan against the TOP SIX CLUBS is poor . He needs to win us those games. #NO TIME FOR MEDIOCRITY. WIN US GAMES

    1. Oxy calm down bro, last season we won against Liverpool Chelsea and city and they are a top6 team, so please chill a little sir, I also want us to win games and play attractive football but you saying his tactics and against the top6 is poor is a bit too much. I’m sure we will see an attacking team against utd

      1. Good article Dan.While I am a fan of Arteta, I fear he may be overcomplicating what is essentially a very simple game aimed at outscoring the opposition.He has been hindered in terms of injuries to central defenders but a clear pattern of play has yet to emerge, as he gets to grips with the strengths and weaknesses of the squad he inherited.I am not sure he knows his best team, as he tries combinations which ,as Willian alluded to recently, are foreign to him.Partey, will I am sure prove to be a good buy, but a team is only as good as its weakest link,and we still have a few who are not giving us value for money, no names required.To convince me he has what it takes, I hope Arteta has the strength to leave out our non performing “assets” and give the likes of AMN, Willock and Nelson an opportunity to gain from the introduction of a power house like Partey, To do that he has to play them on a regular basis or continue with the likes of Laca, Pepe and Xhaka who have brought little to the table in EPL matches so far this season.At the end of the day, this is a results driven business, and another two consecutive defeats will set alarm bells ringing.I hope we get back to winning ways soon but if not please exclude players like AMN , Willock and Nelson from the deluge of criticism.As always the buck stops with the Manager.

        1. Grandad I know you rate AMN very highly, so I want to ask you, what position do you think AMN should play.

  3. ‘While I have been critical of him freezing out Ozil, I maintain that decision has been made above his head and he’s simply picking his battles. In that sense he’s been let down by his employers’.
    Are you saying that if Arteta really want ozil in the team that the board won’t allow him?

    1. Lenohappy,
      We have all complained about the Kroenke organisation and their lack of interest in what is going on, so to suddenly start interfering with team selection is an odd notion to me.

      1. I think what Lenohappy is talking about is that recent reports make out that Ozils contract and weekly pay is based on alot of extras to make up the £350k per week he is on.
        So with that, he probably is on a base wage of around 100-150k per week.
        If he is not registered to play and therefore doesnt play, the club can save 200k per week and put that wage somewhere else.
        Personally I dont think its was KSE that have done this but the board and Edu, that is, if that is true

        1. Appearance, goal and win bonuses are common clauses in player contracts. The majority of players in our team would probably have such clauses in their contracts. Not playing the other players would also save the club on wages.

          If the club felt it’s worthwhile to pay Ozil 350k a week at the time they offered him the contract, his level of performance would have been deemed good enough for the club to be willing to pay him 350k a week.

          If subsequently the club felt it’s not worthwhile to pay him 350k a week, it’s probably because his level of performance was deemed not good enough to warrant paying him 350k a week

          1. Fat chance. Players will never sign such a contract especially when they had other options. Incentives are on top and above the weekly wages and are normally paid on milestones.
            If Ozil is not paid 350k a week currently you would hear about it from both parties.

            1. Why would players not sign contracts with incentives tied to appearances, goals and wins? From media reports, it seems like a common feature in player contracts.

              So you mean Ozil’s 350k a week is before incentives?

              1. Yes that’s what I think otherwise it would have been easier to sell him or trade him which whould have been ideal for the club.

      2. SueP it’s funny that some fans still thinks Arteta will risk losing his job just to please the board, Messi had a go at the Barcelona board but the coach keeps playing him, why, because he’s the best in the world. The bitter truth is Ozil is finished as a footballer but some of his fans still don’t see that. They blame the players around him, before, blame the coach now they are blaming the board,,😚

        1. Without getting into the pros and cons of Ozil, it just seems preposterous that Arteta would deliberately sideline any player if he believed they could improve the team. It isn’t logical to me

          1. It really isn’t a matter of what I think; it is down to Arteta to pick his team
            This is my stance and is nothing to do with any view I may hold on the merits or otherwise, of Ozil as a player. I didn’t write my post to discuss him

            It would, therefore, be impossible for me to support Arteta as your article- which I largely agree with – suggests we should do , if I thought he was being coerced into axing Ozil. It would be totally against what I believe about him. If at some time in the future I discover Arteta has been guilty of not being true to himself then my faith will have been misplaced and no doubt I’ll be reminded of it.

            1. But either way , wherever he’s doing it for football or non football reasons , it’s not proving the correct decision is it
              We are losing games and lack creativity

              1. It’s only natural that he’ll make mistakes. Give him time
                I feel Arteta has a plan but can’t cave into peer pressure

                I’m only following your suggestions and will give him time – more than you seem to be in your reply to me

                In case you think otherwise, I do not have blind faith in Arteta but I do have at least sufficient faith and patience to give him a chance to deliver on his plans. If he cocks up then it’s goodbye Arteta and thanks for giving it your best shot.

              2. During the Wenger out days, we were losing games and ooze creativity.

                Wenger couldn’t get the balance right to defend well, while Arteta couldn’t get the balance right to attack well.

                Whatever he does, I hope he finds a way to make it work soon

                1. Yes indeed Winston
                  I like your posts as your use of language is streets better than mine – regardless of whether I agree with you or not.

                2. Wenger never finished 8th and then froze out our only creative player we had
                  Be like Wenger not getting a team to defend well then leaving out Koscielney?

                  1. Knowing what happened to Wenger, Arteta probably figured his priorities lie elsewhere, instead of creativity?

                    Perhaps he didn’t want to remind fans of the same leaky defence as his predecessors?

            2. I’m sure it must have occurred to a bright fan like you SueP, that both reasons could be or are true!

              Firstly, that tht board do not wish him to play, to save money. Secondly, that MA does not wish to pick him anyway. All the evidence points to the second certainly being true and I think on balance that the first is also true.

              But my second reason is the prime and real one why Ozil is sidelined and I much agree with you that MA would never accept being told to drop OZIL, unless HE WISHED TO DO SO HIMSELF.

              I am 100% convinced that MA has no desire, nor any intention to ever pick Ozil again, even in the fanciful fairy tale situation that the board or owner wished it, which of course they do not.

          2. You really dont need to about not having a CAM/Ozil. Its how you will do with patterns of play. Look at liverpool before they sign thiago, robertson and arnold were banging an assists because thats the way they want to create chances. Its up to Arteta how to make chances. Please man if you have been a football for some time now i would reccomend you to read tactics and football in general….

      3. No more odd notion that he plays ozil Jan – March we lose one game in the League
        Yet suddenly after lock down he can’t get a look in ?
        That’s a odd notion to me

        1. Switching from 4-3-3 when Arteta first took over to entirely 3-4-3 post lockdown was an odd notion too. Nonetheless, it might have helped us beat several top teams to win 2 trophies.

          In a 3-4-3, it’s hard to have Ozil as part of a 2 man central midfield without being porous

          1. Wilson you say: “In a 3-4-3, it’s hard to have Ozil as part of a 2 man central midfield without being porous”

            First of all we don’t know that. Second we are loosing matches because we are conceding so regardless of the formation Ozil’s absence was premature to say the least.

            1. I feel that way because in a 3-4-3, the 2 central midfielders should have some capacity to shield our defence and win the ball back when we don’t have the ball.

              I don’t think Ozil has the defensive attributes to play in a 2 man central midfield, if 3-4-3 was what Arteta wanted to play post lockdown

                1. Have you forgotten the criticism Wenger got for playing him out of position on the wing in the front 3?

                  Or do you suggest playing him as a false 9 like William did against City?

        2. Dan. Some might think it odder still that certain fans cling to ludicrous conspiracy theories of MA being ordered to drop OZIL against MAs will.
          Please read my reply to Sue P(above) FOR A FULLER EXPLANATIONOF WHAT I THINK.

          1. Not just fans though
            Allot of ex players are saying the same
            It’s obvious
            You don’t leave out ozil for elneney out of choice then scratch your head and say we have zero creativity

            1. Care to name these mysterious “players”? I bet no one here today and with no personal axe to grind is saying what you claim.

      4. Yes SueP, it would be quite odd that Silent Stan somehow turned into Hands-on Stan.

        From what’s been reported about how he handles his sports investments in the past 20 years, it appears he has a genuine lack of interest in the details of how his various teams are run.

        Apart from appointing CEOs and approving budgets, he doesn’t seem to be involved in anything else. Interfering with something as trivial as team selection would be quite out of character

        1. It would be strange that at a time he’s sacking 55 staff and making players take a salary cut that he wants Ozil off the wage bill.
          Is it that strange ?

          1. Yes Dan, it’s certainly strange that he suddenly wants to micromanage the affairs of the club after taking no interest all these years

        2. Very naive mate to think Koronke has zero say on budgets etc
          Very easy for him to say during a pandemic i want the wage bill lowered
          Jus say it out loud
          You think Arteta chose to replace Ozil with ? Elneney ?

          1. May I know where did you get the impression that I think Stan has zero say in budgets? Didn’t I say above that he appoints CEOs and approves budgets?

            Appointing someone to run the club and giving him a budget to do so, sounds like something a hands-off owner like Stan would do.

            Asking for a lower wage bill is not the same as asking specifically for Ozil to be excluded. The former leaves it to the people running the club to decide what to do to lower the wage bill, the latter prescribes a direct instruction on how to lower the wage bill.

            Given how little Stan cares about the details in running the club, I don’t think he cares about which individuals are excluded, as long as the wage bill is lowered. It’s up to the management to decide.

            It’s possible that Arteta chose Elneny over Ozil in a 2 man central midfield of a 3-4-3. I don’t think Ozil is well-suited for a 2 man central midfield. Do you?

            If he wants to include Ozil, he should have played a 3 man central midfield, like a 4-3-3

            1. Simple he will tell someone to get 350 000 pound off the wage bill
              That person will decide if we freeze him out he will be more receptive towards either a transfer or ripping up contract
              It’s backfired as Ozil is stubborn
              Let me tell you a story about ‘ the Arsenal ‘
              A lady was a red member who was dieing of cancer
              Had been a member for year , asked the club to pass on membership to her son
              Arsenal said no !
              Now you can say the likes of Mr Koronke is not sitting in his living room , reading that email but it is his company
              He pays people in various departments to make decisions
              He sets budgets / criteria
              If he wanted to he could say make tickets cheaper , he could say we are going for title this year
              Any man who owns company his responsible if it fails

              1. If Stan tells someone to get 350k off the wage bill, he clearly cares more about the 350k than who’s removed from the wage bill.

                That someone could have gotten the 350k off the wage bill by freezing out other players, instead of Ozil. Somehow that someone decided it had to be Ozil. So why make it seem like it’s Stan who specifically wanted Ozil removed?

                For example, if I tell my wife we need cut our monthly expenses by £350 and she then pawns her jewellery, should I be accused of forcing my wife to pawn her jewellery?

                It’s sad that the club wasn’t more accommodating to the lady with cancer. Big clubs these days are too businesslike.

                I don’t think it’s fair to blame the owner for everything because various stakeholders at the club have various interests. What’s deemed as a failure to fans may not be a failure to people running the club or the owner

              2. Dan, Your last line is profoundly true and I have been telling all who wish to think about it that the owner of a business is ALWAYS responsible for failure.

                He alone has the power to hire and fire and if he does not care that his HIS employess are mismanaging the clubs affairs, like GAZIDIS, then the OWNER is always the one responsible.
                You should not own a business unless you take proper care of it. That applies as much to AFC as it does to Microsoft or Amazon.

    2. No I think that essentially Arteta was told don’t worry about Ozil, he will be leaving the club
      It’s not Arteta’s hill to die on as there are certain things Ozil can’t do in this system
      The fact he stayed and failure to get anyone better wasn’t the plan

    3. I also think that the tactics, formations and systems he’s using have all be dictated to him by the board.

      I also think the Chinese goverment has told arsenal to not play him.

      I also think the racist Germans have told arteta to not play him because he stood up for the oppressed chinese muslims.

      I also think Arteta is jealous of ozil’s individual accomplishments and talent. Hence why oz is being sidelined.

      I also think wenger was being instructed to drop ozil in his last season.

      I also think Emery was being told what players to pick and not to play oz too.

      Is there any other conspiracy theory that I have left out?

          1. And yet still zero answer to why he would play every game from Jan – March and moment refuses pay cut , never plays again
            Going by some logic you think arteta went I’ll bench him for City and Brighton , we lose and he says I know what went wrong , if I leave ozil out of squad that will fix it
            Tell me honestly that he believed after zero shots on target at Villa Park , he went Matt Smith needs to be on bench but not ozil ?

            1. FACE FACTS Dan, you lost the argument for good when he was left out of the playing squad. Whatever anyone thinks it is now academic and a hopeless quest to get him back.

              THAT IS THE FACT!

              Whatever you say and however ludicrous, it will not help your odd cause one jot. You have lost and that is a fait accompli, I am glad to say! Glad for the health of the team we all love but only some wish to help. Now THAT is odd!

              I am only interested to discuss relevant things, ie present and the future and I leave discussing the merely academic past to those who lost the battle, like you.

              1. I can’t lose the battle as it’s an opinion
                I’m shocked Jon that everything you see as fact you take as face value
                So you believe everything a politician says ?
                However peeps want to call me me how many names I won’t resort to that
                I ask you to think of this scenario
                Ozil assists the winner against West Ham and you think he suddenly becomes so angry he says ‘after that assist he won’t play again ‘
                ‘ But Mr Arteta , you can now use 12 subs ‘
                ‘ No after that assist , I’m so disgusted he’s not now even on bench , I prefer Matt Smith !’
                Come on Jon !
                He decides this straight after player refuses pay cut having played him for months
                If you can’t see that then trust me , I’m not the one who as you claim has lost lol

                1. But they ARE facts DAN. He cannot now legally play in the PREM AGAIN. Not opinion but FACT!

                  The FACT that you do not wish to admit it does not change that fact. A man who argues against FACTS is acting foolishly.

                  Opinions are well and good but FACTS decide the
                  truth. While you give your opinion, uselessly, I give the fact! You are deliberately using politiciansand their mere opinions, as a red herring to divert me from the FACTUAL truth. Which is that as you well know but will not admit, OZIL CANNOT NOW PLAY PREM FOOTBALL FOR US AGAIN.

  4. As I have said on another article earlier, we need to unite as a fan-base and stick together in support of the team, especially when times are tough.

    The amount of relentless criticism I am seeing being dished out to players, the manager, staff etc is, for me, more worrying than the nature of our recent defeats.

    The team goes up against the best in the business every week, bad results happen. Everyone hurts when we suffer a defeat, including the players and the manager. I ask again, how on earth does getting on their backs and relentlessly criticising them help them bounce back and play to the best of their ability without fear? The players need the fans most when things are going wrong. Let us suffer together with the team when things go wrong so that we can celebrate together with them when we play well.

    Have your opinions, but just remember that beating the players down is no way to get them to play better – it has the opposite effect on their confidence. Sometimes, unconditionally supporting the team is more important than voicing opinions that do not contribute to the club moving forward.


    1. Care to explain your puzzling choice of profile? NOT WHAT I’D EXPECT TO SEE ATTACHED TO A GOONER, as you seem to be!

        1. Not meaning to pry but I SURELY WILL NOT BE ALONE IN WONDERING IF YOU A REALLY A SPUD BY CHOOSING THAT UNFORTUNATE PROFILE. Your choice though , naturally!

  5. My wish, starting team against Manchester United is a front three with Nelson (rw),Aubameyang (cf)and Pepe (lw), midfielders are Saka, Partey and Elneny, Defenders are Tierney, Gabriel, Saliba and Bellerin ,with Leno in goal. Arsenal need to play attacking football against Manchester United and push their defense. To have a chance of making the top four, Arsenal must start winning again, especially against top six teams.

    1. I like your pluck Wayne, I think it’s in the best interests of the club going forward. It’s not going to happen yet,but a few more bad results following the United game and Arteta will have no option but to build for next season
      .I don’t think this will be Arteta’s year but believe he has what it takes to learn, adapt and build a winning combination, hopefully with Arsenal.

  6. Leno, I would like to see AMN as a right sided box to box midfielder in a 4-3-3 system with Partey as DM and Willock as the other b to b. on the left.What the young guys lack in football intelligence and natural creativity can only be improved from regular match play, under pressure. The midfield three may be lacking balance in the absence of a natural left footer, but unlike Xhaha, and Ceballos, they have plenty of pace and energy and an ability to drive forward with and without the ball.

    1. Don’t know what people see in AMN. He’s simply clueless going forward, poor touch/control, can’t pass/cross, no vision yet there’s clamour to play him in midfield. He’s at best a utility fullback.

  7. As long as Arteta does not give into the the Ozil cultists pressures like Emery and Ljumberg did then he should be alright.

    They are a formidable pack.


    1. Yeah I hope things stay like they are as well
      It’s going so well right now
      Every week I see how much more creative we are lol ☺

  8. On a serious note.
    Arteta should relax a bit and not always play scared, cautious football all the time.

    Let the boys express themselves a bit more.

    1. Yes and he needs to start against MU. Let’s see what he is capable off instead of playing scared.
      We loose with all 11 players on defense so what could be worse?.

  9. Another constructive and well argued article Dan . I do agree with the central point of your piece and I have perhaps more strong conviction in the furure greatness of MA than almost anyone else on here. To me that quality is obvious!

    But no one is perfect Dan – as I regularly say to all the other imperfect fans, me being of course the sole exception!!!!!

    In fact, until I achieved perfection, I used to be big headed but there is no need now!!!

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