Is the Southampton game now a ‘make-or-break’ game for Arteta?

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?

Tags Arteta Southampton


  1. Grandad says:

    I think the defeats at the hands of very ordinary Man Utd and Everton sides is the tipping point for many fans, myself included.To bring in Xhaka for the full 90 mins after a lengthy injury, was the last straw as far as I was concerned and quite frankly, the prospects of us finishing in the top four are now remote.That said, I see little point in changing Manager until the end of the season , but that does not preclude the Board from setting things in motion now, with all that that entails.

    1. Sir Michael says:

      Good write up Grandad top four no chance indifferent performances prove that

  2. Dan kit says:

    As the above post mentioned ,how Xhaka who was injured for a couple of months and just strolled back into the team without getting his fitness up in a couple of matches before hand was unbelievably bad management but then to pair that off with starting Odegaard from the first whistle and having two immobile midfielders with the same pace as 4 year old children topped it off for me .
    Nothing but a win against Southampton ,but I said that about Everton and that now seems forgotten,so not much point moaning about results because the owners seem oblivious to what is happening at their club .
    Arteta seems to have a free reign ATM and league position seems something not to worry about .

    1. James says:

      Agreed why Xhaka started was beyond me. He wasn’t exactly mobile before he got injured, but against Everton he looked 10 yards off the pace. This is another area we need to add more mobile quality in. We also look like we’ve lost Martinelli to injury so our strike options are looking poor. He has to do what he did against Chelsea last season and bring in youth, Balogun is the only option at the moment. He won’t have the pressure of having to score cause 2 experienced players are letting us down badly in that department. He needs game time, start giving it to him then decide after this month to laon or keep in the first team squad.

  3. PJ-SA says:

    Xhaka will be a permanent now and clueless tactics! We could beat the Saits 9-0 and after I’d still say he should go!

  4. Silentstan says:

    Makings of a good manager. Mmmm, so they admit he isnt good now. So why do we have a not good manager in control of a huge club. Only great managers should ever be given the job.
    And what are the signs of ‘making’ only able to beat small struggling sides? Turning one of europes most fearsome strikers into a lazy pussy? Spending 100’s millions and not improving the league position? My knives have been out since day one. If you still believe in Arteta and his crab football and his ability to fall out with and sideline our better players then I think you need help. Do we really need to wait before failing to qualify for Europe again to get him sacked

  5. Mrcool says:

    With xhaka and auba in the starting line up, you are already obviously TWO men down.

    I have missed xhaka a lot, those moments of reckless tackles and red card is back.

  6. Durand says:

    I expect the excuses to continue to roll, the goalposts continue to be moved, and absolute silence in terms of standards and goals to reach for the season.

    Since Arteta has joined, he has gone from talking a return to the CL, (8th place finish), then changed to “The Project” (8th place finish), and now this year morphed yet again into “The Process.”

    12 new players, over 200 million spent, and we sent in 7th place like when he took charge 2 years ago.

    How some wanted Wenger and Emery sacked, yet defend Arteta is hard to defend.

    If one had standards, or the club had maintained standards, Arteta would surely be on his way out in December.

    Shocking how better managers got the sack and half the financial support, yet Arteta gets free reign and no fear of getting sacked for inferior results.

    All this without even discussing the negative soul crushing football on display under Arteta. Besides the kit, I recognize nothing “Arsenal DNA” in his tactics or game management.

    1. SueP says:

      I’m pretty sure that the patience of the most die hard Arteta supporter has reached a critical point.
      I have given Arteta far more rope than I gave Emery – entirely because one had managed at a high level and was a multiple European trophy winner and the other was on his first managerial post.
      I wasn’t going to call time on someone at the beginning of this chapter in their career as I knew mistakes were on the cards. There were players who held sway and a hierarchy that was barely fit for purpose and he did well during his first few months. I have certainly wavered occasionally but had not given up on supporting him. There was some promise with the new signings. I thought the cries for his dismissal at the start of the season were extraordinarily hasty but to lose two eminently winnable games on the trot which would have shown real intent if they had been won has given me cause for serious thought. The Everton game really shocked me more so than the ManU match and if you can’t beat a team down on its luck then questions have to be asked. I agreed with Declan earlier that Christmas is it as far as I’m concerned. I had decided on Autumn to see if the trajectory was upwards— and it was, but the last couple of weeks have filled me with gloom.

      1. GoalDan says:

        Hi SueP

        I could of written exactly what you have, except “Artetas supporter’s” I would of changed to “New Manager” I’ve lost patience with the poor mentally of the team, which must be at MA feet. Arsenal is to complicated for a inexperienced manager to turn into competitive Team (I don’t think it’s the players ability) but the mental preparation and conditioning before a match which should of been more evident by now.

        I’ve seen enough for a change of management now, I suppose
        Some fans had seen the signs earlier than I did 🤔

      2. Durand says:

        Well said and I understand completely.

        For me after 2 years enough is enough.

        1. Same mental frailty, no change.
        2. No style or substance to our play.
        3. No improvement in his game management or tactics.
        4. Has no answer to strengthening our attack
        5. After we score, we go defensive like a turtle back in it’s shell.

        I find it shocking that we have an inexperienced manager in charge of such a young squad.

        We need leadership and an experienced hand to lead us now. Clearly Arteta is not the answer.

        The manner in which we lost to such a beatable Everton team already on the ropes was the final straw for me.

        No guts or intensity, such negative tactics, a shocking performance and failure.

  7. gotanidea says:

    If we lose, I think Kroenke will start looking for an interim manager

    We’d unlikely to lose though. Because our attackers will put in extra efforts to press, motivated by our supporters at the Emirates

    I don’t like the players’ conditional motivation, because it only appears when they play at the Emirates or when they play against a big team. If Arsenal want to return to top four, they have to replace the senior CFs in the summer

    1. Phil says:

      GAI- are Liverpool and Man United not big teams? Not too much motivation from the players against these two sides was there?
      Just how much more motivation do these players need in your opinion?
      My view is this. The players are totally confused with what Arteta is expecting from them. We have a very good squad of footballers at this club and we should be expecting a lot more than we are getting. Arteta has had two years and still we are yet to understand the system he wants to play. This is the same as the players. We have a novice manager that is clearly out of his depth and the players know this.
      The reason we are struggling is because of Arteta and his team selections and tactics. Nothing else. Lose any game up to and over the Xmas period and he must go. If we get battered by Citeh he must go. Lose to Forest in the cup and he must go. Lose against the Spuds and he must go.
      I trust the board will be decisive and act.

      1. gotanidea says:

        The players were actually motivated at Old Trafford, hence we won the ball possession and scored two goals there. Unfortunately, we decided to park the bus after scoring the first goal, otherwise we could’ve maintained our lead

        I agree that we struggle this season partly because of Arteta’s lack of managerial experience. But let’s see whether we can fix that in January or not, if Arsenal can replace one of our senior CFs

        As for his sacking, I bet the Kroenkes will wait until they can sign someone else first. I think they’re waiting for Ten Hag/ Overmars, but maybe they’ll contact Joachim Low if things are getting out of hand

        1. Phil says:

          GAI- they were not motivated at all. They were clueless after going 1-0 up and sat back instead of going forward. We should have been on the front foot and confident. We were not. We were indecisive and clueless as we have been all season.

  8. Peterhos says:

    As I have said before the talk of a ‘project’ is nearly always code for ‘ Please pay me millions per year for as long as possible, and do not forget the huge pay off when I am sacked’. Those of us who are fed up with our decline look at a highly paid manager, even more obscenely paid players, and the highest ticket prices in the world. Net result – continuing mediocrity. How often are we confident of beating ANY team now, or have we enjoyed incisive flowing football. Get in a no nonsense manager. I say Simeone.

  9. Kev82 says:

    Even if we lost our next 3 games Arteta’s job is safe I’m not sure what it will take for him to be sacked, the owners and board are absolutely clueless and probably believe in the phantom process so for us who believe Arteta’s time is finished will have to wait quite a while before he’s removed unfortunately. For me personally I’ve just become totally disillusioned by it all, we have owners who simply just don’t care enough and they have placed their total trust in a complete rookie although I give him credit for his footballing philosophy, he’s the godfather of the backwards and sideways passing any which way but forward 👌

  10. Declan says:

    Yes he will be under pressure but he won’t be sacked but things get any worse it could happen in January.

  11. WAYNE says:

    If Arteta fail to win against Southampton, he should be sacked. And as to performances of his experience favorites Aubameyang and Lacazette, whether good or bad, Arsenal must move them in January transfer window. Partey should be sold in the summer too. They’re not good enough leaders. Tierney, Odegaard and Lokonga should considered for the captaincy. Arsenal needs a young quality striker like Karim Adeyemi, Isak or David in the January transfer window.

  12. Kondwani Tyson says:

    To be an arsenal fan isn’t a joke, am even failing to impregnate my wife.

    1. Coyg213 says:

      Looool 😂 Keep trying bro, one day you will succeed! 🤞🏼💪🏽

    2. Phil says:

      Let me know if you need some advice PAL

    3. guy says:

      Lol Kondwani, so your Auba isn’t working either?

  13. foreverinourshadows says:

    The fact is the so called Arteta work in Progress has failed miserably, six games lost, could be ninth if Brighton and Wolves wi their games. He is a novice with no experience, to bring an unfit Xhaka into the side shows his clueless experience, Eleney before that at Man Utd. The simple fact is Arteta has to go, West Ham, Wolves, and Man City, can anyone see us getting anything from those games so we could be at nine games lost before January the 2nd. This was an experience that was doomed from the start but the Kronekes as usual trying to do things cheaply.I have never seen an Arsenal side this century play so poor, we are lack lustre, devoid of style. He has to go before he does too much damage

  14. Jake says:

    Arteta needs to go..he needs more experience and he’s not worth coaching arsenal for now.

  15. Cliff says:

    You can’t win anything with kids and a clueless manager. The worst is yet to happen,keep watching this space.

    1. Grandad says:

      And how have our “senior” players performed?

  16. Nickerless Bender says:

    He should have gone at the end of last season.

    I can’t even be bothered to argue this season as it is exactly the same as last.

    Lack of entertainment and gutless.

    1. Sue says:

      There we have it – thank you, NB 👍

  17. gerry burke says:

    i always thought that football was meant to be entertaining and exciting. even with bertie mee, don howe,terry neill,bruce rioch and george graham this current crop of players would have shone under any of the above mentioned.leave it alone to what they would have done under arsene wenger (early days).there is nothing in this team, i reckon zombies would put up a better fight. i think this all comes down to arteta, he seems so much out of his depth,goes to show the cheap option seldom works.i was an arteta fan at first, but, this season , for me, is the last straw. we have no spirit, we have nothing,basically. a hugely talented crop of players, and, yet, when they take to the pitch it feels like a lottery. what team will turn up next match ?, how is it possible for such a collection of good players to defy logic and play so badly ?. i have no idea, i really dont,thank the heavens that rugby union is back, at least there i am guaranteed the arsenal stands right now , they would be at home playing for a funeral directors sunday morning side down the rec.not one of our players are enjoying playing at the moment. surely, this speaks volumes.

  18. jon fox says:

    Without pre- empting the detailed article I am writing tonight and tomorrow on our whole fan situation with MA, I will say that I think it extremely difficult to impossible for him NOW to ever turn around the negative opinion of him by many on line Gooners.

    Were we to lose against Southampton, I think it would really be a seminal moment for him and though I doubt we will lose this game, I see things getting closer and closer to being impossible for him to ever get a lot of Gooners now to ever support his future at Arsenal.
    (This does not mean necessarily that I think his time is yet done. It simply means I will go into it in more detail in the article.)

    And that is bound to have an effect, in time, of how the hierarchy see his future.

    Right now, I think it foolish to actually EXPECT him to be here beyond next summer. He MAY be but I DO NOT actively expect it!

    It is in some serious doubt, at least! I certainly could no longer claim to be heartbroken were he to leave. In fact , though I have hitherto supported his stay, I have never been in a position where I would have been heartbroken.

    I never wanted his appointment but when it was made I then decided to give him a proper chance to come through.
    My article will examine in great depth the case for and against him and other matters pertaining as well. I will be giving my own conclusions on what I think will and should happen.

    1. Joe. S says:

      Jon Fox, as someone who actively wanted his appointment, I think the seperation would be for the best. Of course Arteta still has time to prove us both wrong, however if he does and for the sake of the football club we both love I hope it has positive long term consequences beyond merely giving himself a lifeline.

  19. Reggie says:

    It wont be but it should be, we are struggling and there is nothing to suggest he can put it right. Maybe he can start Elnenny and Nketiah together before we sell them in January just to p!££ more players off.

  20. 03 gooner says:

    This game in isolation no but I do think this month is make or break for him with tricky games coming up against West ham(h) Leeds(a) Wolves(h) alongside the more winnable Southampton(h) Norwich(a) if we do poorly in this month the board have to act and they should approach mancini although it will be difficult with his Italy commitments.

  21. Joe. S says:

    Don’t want to pick on him in a personal manner, because as a human being I know nothing about him, nor need y but the thought that Xhaka is most often the first name on the manager’s starting list fills me with bile. The main point being of course Why, Why Why…. Why?

  22. Hafedh Loussaief says:

    1- it could have been a 4/1 but it could also have been a whole different game if Godfrey had his red.
    2- the defeat against Everton cannot be acceptable, it is indigestible.
    3- Arteta’s big blunder is in my opinion not to have replaced Schaka immediately after his yellow card

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