I was just reading over the comments on Just Arsenal this morning, and I came across one that said that the Southampton game this weekend could be “make-or-break” for Mikel Arteta. Could this be true?
Naturally there were enough calls for Arteta’s head after we lost our first three games and were rock-bottom of the EPL, but, to be fair, there were some mitigating factors to explain those defeats, but after that our young Arsenal side started scraping an unbeaten run together.
As Luke Chadwick, the former Man United midfielder, said to Caughtoffside today: “With Arsenal, similarly to Manchester United, there never seems to be any in-between with them,”
“Obviously they had a poor start to the season and it was sort of the end of the world!
“Then their results improved and they climbed up the league, and there’s been a lot of hope around their fantastic young players, young English players too. Then the Manchester United game, if that had gone Arsenal’s way, which it could’ve done quite easily, then I think Arteta would still be seen as doing a great job and turning things around.
“Obviously they lost and then got beaten by Everton. They lost a 1-0 lead and it ended 2-1 but it could’ve been 4-1 with the goals that were disallowed, and it does seem to be slipping into crisis mode again.”
Is it now a ‘crisis’? Well the fact is that Arsenal have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Possibly Liverpool and Man United could be explained by the ‘quality gap’, but surely losing to an Everton side without a win in their last 8 is totally unacceptable?
The knives have come back out for Arteta, and next up we have Southampton. The Saints haven’t won any of their last 4 games, including a defeat against lowly Norwich City, and they are currently just six points above relegation.
We are back at the Emirates, and if Arteta somehow contrived to lose on Saturday as well, then the pressure will reach boiling point amongst the Arsenal faithful. But is it really ‘make-or-break’?
Edu and Arteta have continually made it clear that they are playing the long game, and actually expect to see some setbacks on the way, As Chadwick continued: “I think the hierarchy at Arsenal have shown they want to stick with Arteta, and I think that’s the right decision. I think he’s shown he’s got the makings of a real good manager and he’s got promising young players coming in, so it’s just about getting that all together.”
So, does anyone think that Arteta could be under pressure if we lose to Southampton? Or will be just been told that this is just part of the process?