I have been extremely negative in my appraisal of Mikel Arteta since his appointment at Arsenal. I didn’t think he portrayed a confident manager, and seemed limited in his tactical awareness and flexibility. And my stance of Arteta has been brought under scrutiny in the comments on previous articles I have submitted.
However, this season, not even I can justify my formerly held opinion
of our manager. I may never like him, or understand where and when he became synonymous with Arsenal, but I will acknowledge that he is doing a very good job.
He has shown a surprising amount of backbone in his dismissal of Aubameyang and Lacazette, and some excellent recruitment in the younger players he has brought in.
The result against Man Utd was disappointing, but I couldn’t be negative about the performance. Today’s game against Liverpool was the real test of where we are as a club. And we won!
We beat Liverpool. Obviously Firmino scored, as is usually the case, but the real story was Gabriel Martinelli. He terrorised the Liverpool defence, and Trent was probably glad to get injured so he could come off.
Gabriel Jesus was his relentless usual self and didn’t give Virgil or Matip a moment’s peace throughout the whole match. It was never going to be straightforward and I was certainly unsurprised when Liverpool scored, but I was so impressed with the response.
Unlike previous seasons we didn’t wilt and just give up because “it’s Liverpool” – we kept going and going. Jesus is undoubtedly responsible for some of this but it clearly stems from the top and this is the mentality the manager is trying to instill in the players.
Credit to Mikel Arteta. He has done a good job. He has bought well, been strong with established players, rejuvenated Granit Xhaka, and made us fun and exciting to watch again.
Well done, Mikel!