At last, Arteta shows his ruthlessness with Arsenal’s squad rotation

Mikel Arteta was eager to rely on his players’ versatility, dedication, and quality for Arsenal to mount a successful title defence this time around.

Aside from our new keeper David Raya, he made sure to bring in flexible players like Jurrien Timber (who is currently out with a long-term injury), Kai Havertz, and Declan Rice to help him implement squad rotation.

He planned to have healthy competition in his squad, play players who are at the peak of their game, and bench those who are struggling in order to get the most out of his team, while keeping his players fresh.

We didn’t see the Spaniard’s ruthlessness in the first four games of the season. However, in Arsenal’s 1-0 triumph over Everton at Goodison Park yesterday, we saw Arteta’s brutal side. He benched struggling Kai Havertz for Fabio Vieira, who had provided a spark every time he came in as a substitute; he also unexpectedly benched Aaron Ramsdale for David Raya.

This squad change worked, and it must have given the Arsenal boss every indication that he needs to be willing to make such brave calls.

After the win over Everton, Arsenal’s first at Goodison Park since 2017, Arteta was asked about his squad selection, and one of the things he said was that none of his players should be convinced they are guaranteed to start week in and week out, as he doesn’t guarantee any player a spot in his starting 11. Every player will have to demonstrate to him in each training session that he needs to play.

“No one is guaranteed a spot. I don’t have a guaranteed spot,” the boss said on of the tough standards to make it to his starting 11 after the victory over Everton on Sunday.

“You are here to perform at the highest level and to contribute with our best capacity to win games, and that’s what we have to do. It’s not different for anybody, and we set ourselves those standards. Whatever happens externally, it’s never going to be bigger than that. That’s the end that we have.”

For those who were asking for the ruthless Arteta to be unleashed, are you happy now?

Darren N


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Tags Everton v Arsenal rotation


  1. Arteta mentioned he will rotate a lot and all players must be ready for it. I believe it’d be similar to Man City’s system

    He didn’t use Havert’s physicality, so it made sense to play Vieira or Trossard in Xhaka’s position

    1. From what I saw yesterday I think Trossard will also do well in Saka/ Odegard role he seem to be very good at play making his down side is just his physicality. It’s also an applaud to Arteta tactics to have played Everton and dominated with less physical players in our midfield and attack. I am happy Viera is growing in confidence but I wish he could advice to visit the gym more often😁

        1. Gai, Against ManCity in Community shield and now against Everton he scored from the slightly right side of the field. Even in Belgium game for Euro lqualifier he played as a right winger like BSaka and scored a goal. I bet Trossard can play on both wings successfully.

  2. Harvetz played well in the ten minutes , he actually won possession four five times . Overall the game was well managed and a well deserved 3points. None emphatic, but we’ll slowly get there, if it starts with the spuds the better.

  3. My belief was that last season Arteta didn’t think he had good enough players to rotate for what he wanted to do. I’m not saying this was right as many will look at those benched and wonder why they didn’t get a chance. This year, Arteta appears more confident

    I also think that Arteta is ruthless- which I am all for if he is to succeed and for Arsenal to do likewise.

    Im looking at a manager who has been given the necessary rope (hopefully not to hang himself with) to change the philosophy at the club and to have shown enough to the bosses that he has got the character to be a top talent. Some may say that he is copying Guardiola but he’s bright in his own right imo.

    Looking at what Poch and Ten Hag are having to deal with then it’s a little easier to see why getting back to former glory isn’t easy and no player is above the club

    1. Arteta himself admitted he was not brave enough to rotate his squad last yr and admitted himself being in learning phase. Now the question is will he be able to rotate any of Saka, Saliba, odegard, or Rice? To keep the squad fresh he should be able to rotate players with most game time and heaviest fatigue . Havertz, nketiah, zinko etc never played 90 mins and down the list in term of exertion. So can he do rotation of more important players on consistent basis and keep them fresh and healthy? And can he maintain similar level of performance and points tally with such rotation?

      1. I totally take your point. With each passing week Arteta must show bravery and/or a better understanding of the job. He’ll have been a manager for 4 years come Christmas which is long enough to be getting most of it right but still not long enough to have mastered his craft as the top names have.

        As for team rotation- it is vital to keep the players fresh

  4. I think the last line and question is rather an insult to many of us and was unnecessary, Darren.
    It could, at the very least have been phrased in more adult tone. My own view is, that like all other top level managers, MA has always been ruthless,in th sense of putting team success above and before the hopes of ANY individual player, no matter whom.

    Otherwise he , like other manangers, would not be fit to be a top level manager.
    We fans , frankly, have little idea of what REALLY goes on inside the club and are essentially just wildly guessing , most of the time.
    Sometime we will be lucky fans and guess right , but very often we will be wildly inaccurate.

  5. He kept the same team when we had one game a week and is rotating how we have two games a week – it ain’t rocket science.

  6. Rotation is NOT ruthless….it is intelligent. Arsenal players could have up to 60 games this season and that doesn’t include internationals. Arteta is being sensible, intelligent and even compassionate. Players are finite human beings. He is being a good manager.

  7. I’m nit5sure we can say that MA is a top level manager yet, as he hasn’t won anything with his own players as yet, unlike Pep, Klopp, Mourinho, Wenger and Ferguson.

    Their ruthlessness was just accepted as part of the job and, to be honest, two changes doesn’t equate to the night if the long knives.

    But, if we finally see the likes of ESR and Kiwior getting some playing time, well done I say.

    1. Surely some action for Smith Rowe can’t be too far away, my concern is allowing the kid to develop ring rust
      Have seen it happen to Tierney, you can only motivate yourself so much.

      1. I’d say the season is young and as has been suggested before by others, the players who haven’t started or come on so far need to bide their time. If, after the hurly burly of the league starts to gather momentum then getting game time should be expected. If that doesn’t occur then it looks like Arteta will cut ties, so to speak and a move away is probably on the cards.
        I’m not a mind reader but it became fairly obvious that Tierney was looking like he was on borrowed time. The same will apply to others this season. It’s not the case that he, or the future “Tierneys” are not good players, it is down to the view of Arteta as to how he develops his squad. He will be judged on that

  8. Speaking of ruthlessness , what amazes me is the gaffer stating he wanted to change his goalie twice in the last campaign at the sixty and eighty five minutes mark in different games but didn’t, which made him unhappy.

    If I am made to understand the gaffer, could we be seeing a change of goal keeper in a given match?

  9. Arteta rotated massively in EC last season, but players like Viera, Nheketia, Sambi, Holding, and even Kiwior were very disappointing. So he did not trust them in the PL last season. This year Viera probably got a little more accustomed to PL, we have Havartz, and Kiwior will be more accustomed. But Nheketia is still untrustworthy in my opinion, Timber out, and Arteta does not trust ESR and Nelson. So our rotation options are still limited. Too many squad players are a huge drop in quality compared to first 11.

  10. Yeah very happy with ruthlessness and deliberate tinkering with the first eleven!!! Let the Spaniard keep it up. He’s a manager for God’s sake he should live it and love it!!

  11. I dont kniw where this “ruthless” has come from. It has nothing to do with ruthless, just not relying on favouritism. Relying on favourites last season cost us the league. If Arteta didn’t have a light bulb moment, and realise his mistakes, then he wont ever make a top manager. He HAS to rotate, he has to be BRAVE not ruthless. He was not brave last season, or the season before come to that. He has to this.

    1. There is no evidence that Arteta has relied on favouritism, a ridiculous view perpetuated by a number of fans.
      He has rotated previously but quite clearly this was not always successful. Last season’s squad had a number of players who were not at the level of the more regular players. It was therefore understandable that there was a reluctance to rotate much in the PL.
      What is also clear is that the team has been strengthened and some of the younger players are more experienced. This allows the manager more scope to rotate. It is not a “light bulb” thing. This is simply carefully considered analysis used to improve the squad and ensure we can maintain our competitiveness.
      As for implying that Arteta has not been brave, clearly lacks credibility.

      1. You tell me there is no evidence of favouritism and then go and tell us there was, in your post. Last season, he failed to utilise, Trossard, Jorghino or Tierney at the end of the season. He played an obviously unfit Jesus, in stead of Trossard or the returning, fit Nketiah. He kept ESR on the bench and tried to rely on a weak and ineffective Vierra in front of him. Some player had a bad game and they were ignored, others had a bad game and because he was not brave enough he quickly subbed or dropped them. I think he must have looked at himself and admitted himself he made errors onnthe run in. I repeat, he has to learn from last season, be brave and trust in players, that are not his favourite. I would suggest, he dropped Haverz eventually this season but not because he was brave but because of all the questions that were being asked of, why he kept playing him. If Arteta is brave and trusts his players, he may find he gets rewards.

        1. You are gettIng muddled. In no way does my post suggest there is favouritism. Sticking to players who have demonstrated they can perform at a high level is not favouritism.
          Your personal biases and preferences do not mean there is favouritism.
          Playing the likes of ESR or your other favourite players does not mean we would have won the league. Arteta sees these guys in training more regularly than you do. And is best placed to choose the players who fit his game plan best. We have seen all those players that you are hailing have good and average games. Vieira was better than ESR last season.
          This season we have a better squad overall, and therefore there is more scope to rotate.

          1. Correct David. You can just imagine the stick he would’ve got last season in the PL if he started games with the likes of Vieira, Holding and Lokonga, and we lost those games. Those players got enough stick as it was.

    2. it isn’t ruthless but what is expected of any manager at the top clubs. last season he didn’t change much so we just characterize this as ruthlessness but it’s just change of attitude or plan. Plus, he only dropped non performing Hevertz and not like he dropped important players like Saka, Saliba, or odegaard for tactical reason. we tend to sensatialise every little changes without enough data to back it it up, just like the Raya article.

  12. it isn’t ruthless but what is expected of any manager at the top clubs. last season he didn’t change much so we just characterize this as ruthlessness but it’s just change of attitude or plan. Plus, he only dropped non performing Hevertz and not like he dropped important players like Saka, Saliba, or odegaard for tactical reason. we tend to sensatialise every little changes without enough data to back it it up, just like the Raya article.

  13. This level of dishonesty I have never seen like it before in life or fiction.

    When Havertz was starting and struggling all excuses were made to endorse the manager’s choice (against the real thinkers who were against it). Now he benched him he is still praised for ruthlessness?

    1. Who or how many have endorsed Havertz?
      He has faced a backlash week after week
      Not by me HH as you have already posted
      As I’ve missed 2 games and in one he didn’t feature- I’m hardly the best to place an opinion other than you are always looking to find someone or something to discredit

      1. I didn’t speak against you or anyone in particular but the notion that Arteta can’t do nothing wrong. In this case he was innovative when he stuck to what was not working and those who disagreed were impatience.

        Now when he has changed what was not working he is ruthless.

  14. What you trying to say Mr. real thinker is that Darren whom was in agreement with your likes is speaking for all of us backing the manager’s decision hence we are being dishonest?? i alrealdy know who the dishonest is here and it’s not us.

  15. Arteta always been ruthless. Fair but ruthless. From the day he took over, he gave everyone equal opportunities and now he had improved every existing players, every positions and every aspects of the club. He removed all barriers and poisons. He is the earliest to arrive at the training ground everyday because he is ruthless to himself. His captain Odegaard plays, runs and fights like his last match. Every players that the fans had doubt proven to be Arteta’s eventual success.

  16. I prefer to see Trossard as he’s more creative and able to score from anywhere; I think the only issue is his lack of defensive ability, which may lead to more pressure on Rice “alone.” Call me crazy, but I believe we are better at attacking and need more forward players, while Zenchinko can help Rice when we are in attack position and Trossard is helping upfront.

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