The Independent’s Chief Football Writer, Miguel Delaney claims that some Arsenal players are quietly questioning Mikel Arteta’s decisions as he faces the crucial game against Villarreal.
The Spaniard was made the club’s manager in 2019 and he has been overseeing their progress since that time.
He won the FA Cup and the Community Shield in his first few months at the helm, but this season hasn’t been close to what it promised.
They have spent much of it in mid-table, but they are on the cusp of reaching the final of the Europa League and winning that competition would be a major positive at the club and would return them to the Champions League for the first time since 2017.
The report says while the Arsenal situation isn’t similar to what Jose Mourinho faced at Spurs, complaints have started in their camp.
That makes beating Villarreal a critical outcome for Arteta’s future at the Emirates.
Delaney writes: “A growing number of Arsenal players are privately questioning Mikel Arteta’s decisions, to go with a small number who can be snappy in training.
“Sources around the club say it isn’t “like Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur”, but the risk is that complaints have arisen for the first time. Some of that is inevitable human grumbling amid indifferent form, and precisely the kind of thing that goes away with positive results.
“It is still why this Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal is a genuine knife-edge game for Arteta. It is impossible to escape the feeling that this early stage of his Arsenal reign – if it is to be an early stage – has been building up to this match.
“A lot of that is because Arteta has almost ensured his first full season comes down to it.
“If Arsenal get past Villarreal, the Basque has the tangible achievement of reaching a European final. That would likely be against a Manchester United side he has an unbeaten record against, having defeated them twice and drawn once. There would be confidence. There could also be true success, as well as another trophy, and a swift return to the Champions League. More than anything, there would be a real feeling of progress.”