The jury is still out on Arteta – When should Arsenal fans judge him?


It seems that Mikel Arteta is as a divisive figure as his predecessors Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger were within the fan base.

In fact, I believe he is proving to be even more divisive than those two put together!!

1. Despite the position we find ourselves in at present, semi-final of the league cup and fourth in the PL, there are still a section of the said fanbase, that remain unconvinced and very vocal about the style of football being produced.

2. Likewise, we have another section of the fanbase who have been supportive of Mikel from the outset, and have been unwavering in their support.

3. Another section have been critical of his appointment, but have changed their views as the season unfolded and THEN expect others to do the same.

4. Finally, yet another section is in the camp that have made it known they will wait until the season ends, before deciding their views.

That makes four different viewpoints, all with valid reasons and, despite some fans claiming the “vast majority” agree with them, there is no way to determine what the percentage of each viewpoint is.

The only sure thing is, however, we all want the club to be successful once again.

So, why is this split happening, and what, or how, can this be solved?

Let’s be clear, both UE and AW, in his last year (?) also divided the fanbase, but it was one or the other camp, not a four-way split as detailed above, in my opinion.

That brings me to the heading ,and would any of the three solve this four-way split?

1. Could we change the manager?

Of course we could, but would that then appease the second, third and fourth section?
I believe it would be as divisive a move as the club could make – can you imagine how long the “what if’s” would keep on about the decision and what chance would the new manager have with them anyway?

2. Would we change the manager?

From what the owner has said, there is no chance whatsoever that Mikel will be replaced, at least until his contract has come to an end and his three years can then be fully broken down…. IF this current season doesn’t see us worse off than last season.

Furthermore, who would we replace him with at the present time? The only manager who might fit the bill, is the Ajax manager, but he has just signed a new contract.

There is also the view that any new manager would want to sign his own players and Mr Kroenke will not keep forking out his money for a complete restructure yet again.

3. Should we change the manager?

It’s my view that, as I belong in the fourth section of fans, we should wait until the end of the season and then take a very good look at what Mikel has or has not achieved.

Not only with regards to the league and cup results, but to the players brought in and sold, the players out on loan (Saliba for example) and how much money has been spent and lost (AMN for example) in comparison to the results.

Also, how far behind we are to those clubs that finish above us (and below us of course) and what plans both the owner and Arteta/Edu have.

Meanwhile, we should support the manager… but not blindly as some seem to do, telling everyone who might listen, to “trust the process!!!” whatever that means.

I really believe that Mikel will become a top manager and if it means we wait until the end of the season, or even for the duration of his contract, then so be it…. otherwise we could regret it for years to come.

Finally and this will be controversial, I really don’t see any current PL manager, apart from Pep and Tuchel, who would fit MY idea of an ARSENAL manager…. MA might just do that, simply because he is a Gooner, but learning on the job unfortunately.

But I will judge him in the same way the fanbase judged UE and AW, isn’t that fair and correct?


THE JUST ARSENAL SHOW – Dan Smith has a rant over Arteta and ‘Players Welfare”

Tags Arteta trial arteta


  1. End of season obviously. Some on here are still very happy to end 6th with no trophies and somehow come to the conclusion that this will be a success.

    MA/team have shown us what they can do and credit to them, why should we accept a regression now? I think that would be a loser mentality, one we’ve had for far too long.

    Personally I expect the following at the end of the season based on being here over 2 years already + financial backing received:

    -4th place if no cup trophies
    -5th place if we win EFL
    -6th place if we win FA Cup

    If we can’t end 4th this season then we are even less likely next season once we have our extra European games on again + ManU/Spurs seem to be improving so who knows what they’ll look like next season.

    1. It is a tough one.

      under Wenger with little financial support 4th was not good enough for most and 6th saw him leave.

      Arteta has spent more cash than our previous mangers in a single window and with that outlay surely 4th should be a minimum requirement.

      However, we can’t forget the squad is the youngest in the competition and will only get better in a year or two as they mature.

      So would 6th be so bad? considering the money spent yes, but considering the age of the players is considered for the future then 6th should be adequate this season?

      It is a tough one really, all teams above us have a better squad and United below us have a better squad as well.

      maybe we should also consider the way we play, are we developing and identity?

      Are we showing fight against the big clubs that have better squads. i. e. are there signs in these big games that in a year or two we will be competing with them?

      If we continue playing the way we are and show fight against the big clubs and dont roll over the 5th or 6th shows there is hope and maybe as the squad matures we will be title challengers in the future.

      So far there is no sign of fight against the big clubs and we get steam rolled.

      Arteta has a few days left to change that starting with City the weekend.

      1. @Mambo

        No one can say Wenger wasn’t supported or not given enough resources. I think his judgements let him down. In his latter years, he signed the wrong players. Eg: Xhaka instead of Kante.

        If MA is getting money to spend, how much more Wenger?

    2. The problem is that you can never expect a trophy to be won – especially a cup competition. All you can expect is for us to play well and not be knocked out to a “lesser” side.
      The league is similar in that there are 3 sides that are clearly better than us, and two or three with similarly good and arguably better squads (bearing in mind we have terrible CF options – only Lacazette is remotely competitive with the forwards most of our rivals can pick), so our position is also determined by how well they play.
      I’m going almost entirely on the eye test – if we play well in most games and see real potential I’ll be happy enough going into next season. At some point it has to end, though – either we become truly competitive with City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc or Arteta will have to go.
      One thing though – arteta will almost certainly leave the club in a better place than he found it. It will take a dramatic decline for that not to be the case.

    3. It seems a small minority of people keep saying there is discontent… this is social media stirring everything up

      I find it laughable everyone questionig whether top 4 or top should determine the fate of the manager…likely the same people who refused to believe Wenger when he said top 4 is the target because he knew he could not conpete financially. Anyone believing the toxicity created by social media doesnt affect the players is in cloud cuckoo land.

      Reality is Chelsea first then Man City spent billions to win the league. MAN Utd always had the most money and bought their competitors best players to win the title ( Cole RVP etc)

      This get quick rich mentality will never satisfy people.

      Wenger ahould have left when he won the FA cup… we could have got a top manager then. But now there is a project underway which Liverpool undertook with Klopp.. ..youngsters will flourish in a few years and need one or two top players to add that experience so I dont think we are too far away from competing.

      Ramsdale, Tomi, White, Gabriel, Tierney / Tavares
      Partey plus CDM
      Odegaard / ESR , Saka, Martinelli plus one top CF

      So 2 players off a v good 1st XI.. I would say that is good progress and the team will start to compete with the top 3 in endt year or two if we add those 2 missing top players and with experience

      1. Well said Neil, I would say Liverpool process started under B Rodgers. I feel there isn’t enough recognition on how far we had fallen, throwing money after star players is a short term strategy that Arsenal can’t sustain unlike Chelsea and Mancity who can make mistakes and still carry on buying. I would say only Alexi Sanchez Was worth the money, but even then it turned out to be short term. Youth policy is the only way we will compete with the oil money, as long as we see a team that is progressing and because we are a big club historically we should be able to keep them here because we don’t have to sell them and we do pay well….my point is we should stay a little more patience
        With the team and manager because the pay off is massive if it works out…..

  2. Seasons greeting Ken!The ownership has made the right decision for once and support Mikel, so make no noise, Mikle is staying and I’m glad and so are the millions of AFC fans. There were going to be blips – Van Gal and Jose failed at Man U, Unai – a decent Europa manager failed over here. So did Carlo at Everton and now Rafa. The bottom line is that until we have disciplined players, willing to play for the badge and manager, then only can we have the results. And this applies to any club and in every sport. Mikel is silently changing the mentality in the dressing room and is more of Pep then Wenger in this respect and rightly so. Hence are the decisions for the snoby/grumpy players – Guendz, Torera,Ozil, now Auba. Financially we are taking a hit, but long term it will reap rewards as future players will have to give 100% what the club demands and not the 100% waht they can offer. The good part of Mikel’s leadership is that he is hiring young talent which will be the future of the club (under him or any other manager) and not wasting millions by hiring busted flushes and finished doormats.

    1. I never understood why many fellow gooners wanted arteta to be appointed our manager. I did not see the credentials in him.
      But what has endeared me to him is the way he deals with our overly pampered primadonna players.
      I also like the fact that he tries to address our problem / weak areas. He always tries to strengthen areas that the majority all agree with.

      As I keep saying, he would make a very competent Director Of Football or Assistant Manager.

      Not convinced yet about his managerial competence. Lets see how he does against the likes of City, Spurs, Chelsea, United etc. This is where you are deemed good or bad manager in my opinion.

      1. Can’t agree more Goonster!!!

        It was clear we needed a proper DM but Wenger reneged over a decade. MA sees what’s obvious and address it.

    2. Seasons greetings to you Loose Cannon, my fellow Gooner.
      Just a little reminder about hiring busted flushes… Willian comes to mind of course.
      Therein lies part of the problem methinks.
      One side see only the good areas and the other questions the mistakes… that’s why us “inbetweeners”, in my opinion, are the realistic supporters.
      Anyway, have a good break and let’s see how we perform against city!!!

  3. It all depends on expectations.
    So what is progress?
    Top 6? Top 4? Title winners?
    For me the league is a lot harder than in Wengers years especially pre Chelsea and pre Man City. Then Pochettino at Spurs and Klopp at Liverpool.
    Progress is being made on the two 8th placed finishes. A new young squad is emerging. But
    we must return to Top 6 by May because it is season 3 and we had a substantial summer spend.
    This season top 6 should be the minimum.
    Next season 22/23 top 4 should be minimum.
    23/24 a serious title challenge.
    If these goals are not achieved a new manager must be appointed.
    My prediction remains a top 6 finish by May and if so Arteta must be retained

  4. I always say he should reach top six in November or December, otherwise he’d better go. That target has been achieved

    So let’s set the same target for the end of the season, when we could sign Ten Hag and Overmars

  5. average age of This team is too young to except too much too soon….This is a team in the making……forget the past two seasons..that wasn’t This team……you don’t win trophies with a very young team….Arteta isn’t Wenger…..)

    1. Age is no excuse, most players who have been bought or play for us have at least a year or more in the Premier league or the leagues they came from and are Internationals for their nations. They are young but not wet behind the ears.

  6. What a good write..,as always.
    Big up Ken that’s a very precise and balanced opinion.
    I was part of the group that believe MA had something special in him for him to be recognised by Wenger and Pep

    After the FA I was willing to give him last season as a learning season, after seeing his performance last season despite all the loses I knew he had a good plan and was implementing something, just that the players were not really understanding the whole idea or rather he didn’t have the right players to implement the idea.
    By January he brought in Ode and the coming in of young energetic young players to show us all what he was trying to do which the old guys couldn’t understand.

    At the end of that season, with statistics of being 3rd best in the league since January (youthful injection),
    I was convinced he has it in him and only needed the right players to carry out his exact intentions.
    Though we started the season at the back of 3loses I was convinced we were better than last season based on the personnel we had, and it’s proven right.
    Now I think we can judge him this season and if we fail to seriously challenge the 4th position, he should be sacked.
    Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t complain if we finish 6th so far we challenge for the top4.
    I believe atm MA has proven he is better than the likes of Lampard and to me the best of that Lot, maybe on same Level as Gerrard, both coaches are deeemed for greater things in the nearest future.
    If Arsenal sacked MA today, he will get a big club to coach with what he has done so far

  7. I have already been wrong by judging too early, thinking winning the FA cup meant we had the next coming and then watching us bumbling along. We have had a massive injection of finance into this team and regardless of any excuse of age or inexpensive, we are ready to get top 4. Our football up until a month ago was sterile and boring, for whatever reason all of a sudden we are scoring lots of goals, WHY? Maybe the opposition, maybe the tactics, maybe we had been underperforming, maybe we are overperforming or maybe it was in the PLAN. Whatever the reason, micro judgement tells us nothing, the end of the season will and that is when true judgement can be made on Arteta, Kronk and the team. Top 4 is eminently attainable, if we dont get it big questions should be asked because there will not be another 250 mil investment over the next 2 years, if not.

      1. Also Ken what i think you are saying, AW and UE was judged by the fanbase at falling out of or not being able to get CL football. Arteta should be judged the same. Wenger was basically given 2 years out UE less. With the massive investment that neither previous managers got by the way, injected into the squad, Arteta has to be judge equally.

        1. Reggie, Emery had to go not because he failed to achieve top 4, rather him loosing the dressing room. Top that with 9 or so games without a win. Remember we won a single game away from home the entire season!. Arteta is beating teams we should yes remember how scared we were facing the so called small teams leave alone the top 3!? The amount of goals we used to concede , fact is we are doing most things right and yes top 4 should be the target, that can only be confirmed end far the gradual progress we are seeing points towards a good finish. Hopefully it ends well for this club that is stuck in our hearts 🥰

  8. I have to agree with LC above. The club set out a clear and quite bold strategy last summer which needs to be followed through. Unless, there is an absolutely disastrous set of the results the plan should be allowed to run and then be assessed at the end of the season.
    Those who have asked for fans to support the manager and ‘trust the process’ have never suggested that the manager should not be criticised if we think he has made mistakes. The point that has always been made is that this is a young squad which has recently been overhauled to a considerable degree. Therefore, with the dynamics of what is a very strong league and other prevailing circumstances there will inevitably be some missteps. However, over time it is expected that the investments, with Arteta at the helm, will enable Arsenal to become a force once more.
    I have seen the comments of those in your third grouping and what is quite clear is that they expect fairness in the articles and comments. If people wish to stick to a particular point of view that’s all very well. One does expect some reasonable rationale however.
    Many of the criticisms from those against Arteta lack any kind of balance and some of them are nothing more than insults.

  9. The age-old “question”
    Is the glass half full or half empty?
    The fact is, there are indeed few clear facts showing either or (yet?), so in the end it becomes a question of belief, and it is very difficult to discuss each others belief.

  10. Seasons Greetings 1945 We can beat some lower teams but the crux of the matter is we cannot beat the top four teams and that is where the team should be so Wait and see where he finishes for me top four at least

  11. Ken always comes over as oh so reasonable and he certainly has a gift with using words.

    I do not, broadly,( HIS VERY LAST SENTENCE APART**) find anything much to dissent from – his thinly veiled but clear references and insults to me apart – and I wish to state that I personally have ranged from total support of MA, ONCE HE WAS APPOINTED, to a few months ago doubting his long term suitability and now once again I am fully in support.

    Before he came, he would not have been my choice and I have many times made that clear on JA.

    But I do believe in giving the clubs choice a fair chance and that is where I have been at odds with the “we are not having him now, not at any price, UNLESS he makes top four at minimum this season” brigade, who I need not name, as all regulars know exactly who they are.

    I am a fairminded man and like so many others, probably all other fans, know he has made MANY mistakes while learning on the job.

    That cannot be seriously disputed, except by those who were never in the slightest doubt as to his talent.

    Contrary to how some chose to paint me, I was never without doubts and a personal degee of doubt still remains, even though I fully support him now. I also believe that only foolish persons never change their mind when the evidence leads one to that conclusion .

    Those who belittle others for changing their minds when the evidence leads, are IMO stubborn and unthinking fans who would rather follow blindly and ignore all evidence to the contrary, than change their own opinion, when evidence leads.

    ( To illustrate this exact point, I was once a massive OZIL fan; I could see his sublime talent as well as anyone else.

    But I also saw, in increasing quantity as time went by, his aversion to consistent hard work, something that I PERSONALLY BELIEVE ALL PLAYERS SHOULD DO ALL THE TIME! Or else not pick up the huge wage packets that we fans indirectly pay them.

    That is a core life belief and I abhor idleness on the field, as much as off it too.)

    They are the sort of fan who blames other fans for admitting their own fallibility and thus changing tack. I call such fans the anti vaccers equivalent, as they will not follow evidence or reasoned thought, instead preferring to cling tightly to their original outmoded views when all around them is proving them wrong.

    IMO, only a bighead never admits to making mistakes and blames others who DO admit their own mistakes.

    Such is life though, and I feel fortunate that I remain able to have my opinion changed and accept my own mistakes – as I accept I am very far from fallible, when sufficient evidence proves me wrong – as in life generally it has many times done and doubtless will again in the future, etc.

    ALL the above is only my opinion of ourse and therefore of no concern at all to what WILL probably happen to our club. Will we finIsh fourth, given our recent form then?

    I think it will be a close race between us, Spuds and United. I see United at a disadvantage, by comparison, as they are still involved in Europe and, more importantly, appear not to have the massive desire to win, which both Contes recent Spuds and ourselves have in spades.

    Uniteds debacle at Newcastle, which I watched with glee last night, was to my mind a massive sign that all is far from right in their camp.
    How upsetting! NOT!!

    ** Back to KENS LAST SENTENCE. What I dissent from in that, at what seems at first sight,a fair minded point, is this:
    I do not believe that one can ever honestly compare judging one manager with previous managers in EXACTLY the same way.
    The reason? Because we are not then judging like with like and to my mind all comparisons, to have truth, must either compare like with like OR accept their will be differerences in comparison.

    AW had over two decades here and was in a completely different set of circumstances to MA. Judging him in the months or even several years before he left, was to judge the whole period of his tenure, a vastly varying period in success( I realise KEN will disagree on what constituted success”) which is why the above is only MY view, not his.

    UE was again in a unique set of circumstances, in that he had enormous language and communiation problems which set him apart from AW and MA.

    He was unfairly mocked on here because of his speech and even his facial features and hairline(Dracula etc, so unfair!!). Three very different managers then, each with their own set of circumstances bringing them peculiar problems unshared by the other two.

    1. With regard to MA, I believe we’ve had similar views on him for most of his time in charge – however his decision to give Xhaka a new contract did lose me for a while. Also the borderline striker “crisis” we’re currently experiencing was predictable. He took a risk on the striker front but he’s done a brilliant job with the other areas of the pitch (beyond just the signings, I don’t doubt he has had a positive influence on the young attacking midfielders), and has got us playing well again for the most part.
      As I’ve said from almost the beginning, at the very least he will leave us in a better place than we were when he started due in great part to the mentality he’s trying to imprint on the squad; I’m becoming more convinced of this each week. Even after a poor performance and result against Utd, I never felt like that mentality would be broken, and we picked up again shortly after.

      1. Key point you made Davi. If Arteta leaves at the end of this season (which is unlikely) there can be little doubt (at least in my mind) that he has left his successor a much better squad then Wenger or Emery did.

    2. I’m sure there are many individuals who might think my article was aimed at them and, if someone else had written it, I would be thinking the same thing.
      That wasn’t the object though and as I read the feedbacks, it seems only Jon has taken part of it as “personal.”

      As for changing one’s opinion, I agree that there is nothing wrong with doing that.

      For example, I previously asked what it was that Odegaard brought to the team, as I couldn’t see anything at all.
      I was wrong, as the last few games have proven and I await, with much anticipation, to witness his performance against city.

  12. Very good article Ken.I fall into the fourth category and if we are still in the top four at the end of the season I would be very pleased.A number of those who are , or have been highly critical of Arteta, are under the impression that he is responsible for the “asset mismanagement” which has been apparent during the past 2/3 years..Since the departure of Arsene Wenger, I believe that neither Emery nor Arteta had any hands on involvement in terms of negotiations of players contracts.To apportion blame on Coaches in areas which are not within their area of direct responsibility seems to me unduly harsh , to say the least, and unless the “offenders” have inside knowledge to back up their views perhaps they could direct their discontent towards those who are responsible for the horrendous errors of judgement which have been made during the past decade .

  13. You’ve already said it, Kroenke will not sack him till the end of his contract so what’s the point in judging him? He’ll still remain whether we conclude he is competent or not.

    1. But there must be a point QD, where kronkie decides to act… either for or against.
      If we fail to finish in the top four and do not win any of the cups on offer, my opinion is that he WOULD act…. especially after spending over £25,000,000 to date and more to come, it is reported.

      1. Well the youth project started this season after the process failed. Even if we don’t make top 4 I don’t think Arteta will be sacked..maybe after finishing 2022/23 season without top 4.

  14. I am happy with where we are at the moment considering how we finished last season and how we started this one. It is fair to say Arteta has made good progress compared to his last season and a half.

    If we finish in the top 4 (and I am starting to get really confident we will) I don’t see why he should not continue on the job. He might even turn Arsenal into contenders again the following season.

    But if he finish outside of the top 4 (even by a goal difference) it will be three seasons of failure and I don’t see any justification why he should continue on the job.

    Only the table matters nothing else.


      I cannot understand the thinking- I presume there is some thinking – behind that entirely black and white comment of yours

      1. Emery was sacked because of the table. Wenger resigned because of the table. Any manager who is fired is due to the table position against the expected position.

        The table decides who is the champion, who goes to Europe and who is relegated.

        Without the table everything is meaningless including fan’s debates. Without the table what is the point of following the whole season week after week? What is the end reward? A table position of course.

        The table makes it easier to sign top players.

        The table cause more revenue or less revenue.

        The table decides status of clubs: who are title contenders, who are mid table teams and who are relegation contenders.

        The table is the centre and everything else revolves around it. The better the position the better the rewards. Tangible rewards to the clubs and emotional (plus tangible) rewards to the fans.

        If Wenger resigned because of the table, if Emery was fired because of the table, who is Arteta to be judged otherwise? Because he is a gunner they say? Is he really? Why didn’t he stay at the club after he retired? Why go to Man City? Didn’t they see his intelligence and potential back then?

        Because he is a gunner they say, have we forgotten Frank Lampard? A legendary Chelsea player but fired because of the table? Or Ole Gunnar (sounds like gunner lol😂) Solskjaer for that matter? Because he is a gunner they say, is he more of a gunner than Freddie Ljungberg? Is he more of a gunner than the great Patrick Vieira?

        If he does well on the table I am 100% with him. If he does not I will stop watching football than making any excuse to defend his failures at my emotional expense.

        1. HH No wise fan denies the table matters I agree with you on that. But you claim that nothing else at all matters and that is where we part ways.



          SEEMS YOU DON’T . Well, increasing age will show you to be wrong, as you live your own experiences, which as yet you have hardly begun doing, young man.

          1. In life yes but football is just football. Anything more or less is what people make it to be but in itself it is just football, just a sport.

            No shades of grey in football. It is either 3 points, 1 point or zero point. It is either Champion or knocked out along the way.

            1. Agree HH and that’s why we become supporters of a club.
              Because it is just as you say, a win, draw or loss…. no grey area there.
              That’s why the 1-0 to The Arsenal chant was born – it was the result that counted.

              Of course AW changed that with his emphasis on how football should be an art.

            2. The table in football dictates everything and is the be all and end all. There are no grey areas in football.

              1. It is definitely not true that there are no grey areas in football. Except in the eyes of some individuals.
                And AW, is by no means a trailblazer in considering football an ‘art’.
                For decades artistic expression in football has wowed people the world over. It is one of the reasons for its popularity.
                The suggestion that it is just about the result is a very parochial perspective.

                1. David, I didn’t say that AW was a trail blazer though, did I?
                  What I said was his “artistic” style of football was different to the 1-0 example…. at the end of the day, the result was what mattered.

                1. I’m not sure what your getting at, but what it gave them was CL football, revenue from the PL as runners up and a better finish than the season before… much like when we finished second to Leicester.

  15. The way I look at it is ,no top top manager would have a split fan base the way Arsenal do regarding Arteta which tells me all I need to know ,the club will not make any decisions till the season ends but anything less than a top 4 slot would be seen as a massive failure IMO ,seeing it was Arteta who took us to depths unheard of for a quarter of a century.
    Yea we have had a good last few weeks (against awful teams)but what we saw before hand was pretty much the same drab boring football we saw last season,I see nothing new in the way we play and a few wins won’t get me all gushing and being cringe with my views .
    I’ll wait to see if he can get better than 8th after being backed heavily in the transfer window .

    1. Perhaps Ken should have included another category for those who blame Arteta for “splitting the fan base” ? Correct me if I am wrong, but did this not occur also during the stewardship of Arsene Wenger?

      1. Maybe Ken could have done another category for fans that cannot stand the fact other fans have different views and try (I say try )to belittle them .
        Correct me if I’m wrong is that where you fall under ?

        1. Seems like a legitimate question from Grandad Dan. I seem to remember an even more divided gang base in Wenger’s last few years. Sadly it seems to be part of our DNA these days.

          1. Not sure why you have turned an Arteta article into a Wenger one (strange that)
            If your trying to be clever to distract from Artetas failings ,it’s not really worked because my views on Wenger were pretty much in line with most Arsenal fans .
            Why don’t you stay on the subject rather than trying to score points buddy 👍

              1. I gave you the answer in my reply ,simple really wouldnt you say .
                Maybe don’t try to hijack the article for your own silly Agenda buddy .

                1. Grandad / Dan, I actually DID cover the AW split, when I said that, in my opinion, there were only two camps of thought…in or out.

                  That WAS the most divided I have ever seen the fanbase, but that’s history and NOT what this article is about and I maintain that the fanbase is even more split under MA.

      2. Not a legitimate question at all voyager !

        A Childish dig once again from him ,unfortunately I have no time for it .

        1. @Dan
          Were you already born during wengers last 10 or so seasons?
          The fanbase divide was something else..
          May be you never categorised wenger in the Top Top manager bracket.

          1. Mate
            If the answer your looking for is ,yes Wenger was a world class manager in his first 10-12 years ,it then went wrong and the fans divided so you have already answered you own question you put to me anyway🤔 ,but I’m not sure what that as to do with this article .
            I’m talking about Arteta I’m not sure why him up top as decided to go off subject .
            Strange one .

  16. Nice thought provoking article Ken. My problem is that I read one posters comments / opinion and I think, yes that makes sense, then read another posters differing opinion and think, yes that also makes sense, so where do I stand. Truth is, I’m not in any particular camp regards MA staying or leaving. What I want is for us to ultimately win the Premier league and Champions League whether It’s with or without him. I didn’t want MA as manager and I’m still not convinced he’s the man. I can’t deny we seem to be doing better now than when he took over but can take us to the top? IMO certainly not within his current contract. He’s got 18 months left and I can’t see us changing managers, so whether I am for him or against him I believe is irrelevant, but yes, it’s a good debating point and always good to read other posters opinions to give yourself a different perspective.

    1. Rob 49, You were not by any chance in the diplomatic service were you? (I assume 49 refers to your year of birth, though maybe I am wrong)Your post indictates that you would have been well served there.

      1. jon, you are correct that 49 refers to my year of birth, as for the diplomatic service, unfortunately diplomacy was never my strong point in early life but we learn and mellow with age. Thank you for your kind comment. Best wishes for the New Year, stay safe.

        1. Cheers Rob and I RETURN YOUR KIND WISHES KEENLY.


          Please do consider posting more often if you have time . I much appreciate real thinkers on here. Diplomacy on JA is regrettably not my natural style – it would make life far easier if it were – but I like to think that deep analysis is my way!

  17. We had a great run with Lonkonga til the Liverpool game where Arteta lost his marbles and handed the game to Klopp, then he was dropped for an unfit Xhaka in which we lost against Man Utd and Everton. I am still not convinced by him, he makes team selections that confuse everyone. The end of the season should decide whether he can continue or we bring in someone who can take this team to the next level, not sure Arteta will or can

    1. Interesting theory with regard to Xhaka. Too bad in unravels when one looks at the line-up against ManU and realises that an “unfit Xhaka” didn’t even make the bench that day. Elneny started with Partey in the pivot.

  18. This remains an issue because the club and management FAIL to state standards and expectations.

    Under Wenger it was top 4 finish; not complicated.

    Under Emery the same top 4 standard; finished 5th got warned and sacked in December when we sat in 8th I believe.

    Under Arteta no standards or expectations set, instead replaced by excuses.

    There needs to be standards and expectations; for example fighting for 4th rest of the season, finish 5th Arteta stays.

    Anything less and he must go. Stop with the excuses already, they have only brought us mediocrity.

    1. I think they know they hired a rookie, whereas Wenger and Emery were not. I think Arteta has his first contract to live and learn. Alot of fans won’t like that but I feel that the club is in a far better place now that what Wenger left behind. Arteta is a part of that and there has been probably far too much trial and error. But Arsenal was a mess made of 15 years of neglect it wasn’t going to change quickly especially under the same owers who caused it.

  19. I own a bet shop, yesterday something happened. Walked into the shop to see that one of the computers was damaged by a worker of mine. Saw it and kept quite and pretended nothing happened. Within 30mins the girl fixed it. Everyone was praising her for fixing it but I wasn’t moved 1 bit. You damaged it in the first place so why should I praise you for fixing what you damaged.

    That is the same view I have about Arteta. He single handedly brought us to unheard of depths in our history, breaking every unwanted record there is to break. 8th place twice would get any other manager the sack. People credit him for signings but also quick to criticise Edu. All of a sudden no one remembers the bad signings and ridiculous contracts he decided to offer or extend.

    I don’t buy the idea that this is a young team and as such we should give Arteta time, no I don’t. Here is how I see it; He was given time 3 and a half years I think, he initially decided to squander the first year getting the likes of Willian, Cedric, Mari, Ceballos etc. After which he realizes his mistake and decides to revert to young talents. How is that my problem? It is totally up to him how he utilizes the time he was initially given. As a business man I don’t buy this idea of the squad is young wait wait wait…….. All I buy is the 250plus mil he has spent, the 250mil plus and asset management is where I look at. Any other manager would have decided to get us challenging for the title with getting 3 to 4 quality players to add with the likes of a then firing Auba, Laca, Saka, etc. A different manager would have probably decided to aim directly at competing for title or top 4 at least with 250mil worth of investment so why youth the excuse. It was Arteta who chose to spend millions on kids so that’s not my business.

    I’m solely judging Arteta on 3 different criteria. 1) What he achieves with 250mil worth of investment in addition to time spent. 2) Asset management 3) Eye test of what I see on the pitch. So far we have only played good football not beautiful, just good football this past month other than that its been same boring football since last season.
    He has clearly failed in number 2) but he still has 1) and 3) to make up for it.

    In conclusion since he has failed in asset management, come end of season I want a top 4 finish and beautiful football. Other than that I will still remain on the Arteta out side of the camp.

    1. I think it’s unfair to expect beautiful football from such inexperienced manager. It is something even more accomplished managers cannot easily do.

      The great Arsene Wenger spoiled us with such beautiful football so it is understandable we will expect the same from his successors but we should remember Wenger is one in a million and such a manager comes once in a generation.

      1. Agreed HH, some so called top managers acknowledge they can’t achieve beauty so prefer to always win ugly.

        At Chapel, I hate and I resent the 2 8th place finish comment that every Arsenal fan keeps throwing in Arteta’s face. How can you lay the final standings on a man, when he only managed 10 games (during the height of the pandemic) in that first quarter of a season he had in charge. The damage was done by Emery the season before last, not Arteta.

        1. Emery damage the season before last?
          The season he finished 5th? 1 point from 4th? I believe Emery’s selections those last 4 games and tactics cost us. He arrogantly overlooked Crystal Palace.

          I’m sure you placed Emery’s failing at Wenger’s feet, like you place Arteta’s on Emery right?

          Otherwise not sure your point.
          Arteta finished that year with FA Cup, solid finish with a trophy even in 8th.

          Next year’s 8th place finish and out of European football was on Arteta.

          Emery gone for 18 months by then, and nearly 3 years Wenger had been gone.

          3 year’s of decisions by Arteta and Edu, so can’t lay that blame elsewhere.

          Not to mention the deadwood people moan about finished higher under Wenger and Emery that the additions with Arteta.

          Arteta had and still has a difficult task to rebuild no doubt (and things seem up) but tired of Arteta being excused and his results put on previous managers.

          Owners fault, players fault, fans fault, covid’s fault…. like other clubs weren’t affected by the virus.

        2. And yet James, MA was given FULL credit for the fa cup win, while using the “dross” players he inherited – the same players who finished 5th and reached a European cup final.
          He then brought in new players, finished 8th, got knocked out of the fa cup in the 4th round and failed to qualify for europe…. that’s the conundrum we are talking about.

    2. Well said Chapo
      Fans forget that there is progress (very little ) because we regressed under him in the first place ,with the money given to him he couldn’t do any worse if he tried ,problem for me is that the football is still the same ,I think fans have gone alittle overboard these last 2-3 weeks (as is their right ) but it’s also my right and fans alike to also still have their views , if that upsets people then so be it ,we’ve been here before with him so I’ll keep the love in to a minimum .

      1. I think that’s an interesting topic for another article. Did Arsenal regress under Arteta ir did we simply stay at a mediocre level for 18 painful months?

        8th place in Arteta’s first season was a joint accomplishment with Emery. Last year was on Arteta (albeit with a tough hand but compounded by his own errors).

        This year it’s largely his team so agree with all who say judge at end of year.

    3. With respect Chapo, I think you’re being a little disingenuous here – you refer to fees spent on Caballos (loan), Willian (free), Mari (£5.4m), Cedric (free) as if they were a major part of the £250m in transfers you quote. The reason they were bought in was because in year one Arteta was given very little cash – certainly not enough to rebuild the side. Bad choices yes, bad team selections yes, and extra wages to pay yes, but not our major transfers. Those were this year’s six, plus Gabriel and Partey. Are you saying that these were bad buys, that except for perhaps Partey these are not already worth considerably more than we paid for them? That’s “asset management”.
      That we have had trouble offloading players given (with the exception of Auba) big contracts before he arrived is hardly Arteta’s fault. And I think you will find that a manager is not like a business owner, and has little control over the salary negotiations. He was asked if he wanted to keep Auba, and of course at the time he said yes. The contract manager negotiated and the Board would have signed off on the salary amount.
      As you are a business owner I am shocked that you don’t see the financial advantages to buying a cheap, young, long term and ever appreciating asset over an older one that can only ever lose quality and value over the medium term.
      In addition, as football fans we don’t particularly care about your points 1 and 2 as long as the club remains ultimately successful on the pitch.
      Re point 3 – I would like to know which clubs you consider are playing “beautiful football” at this time, and how long their managers have been in place to get them to this high level?

  20. Hi Ken. I was very much an ‘Arteta out’ until about 6 weeks ago, but am now like you a group 4 man, wait till the end of the season. If we are really honest, Arteta has been poor for most of the 2 years he has been at the helm. A mixture of micro-management and weird team choices and tactics (plus his unethical treatment of William Saliba). Now he has got the trio of ESR, Saka and Martinelli running riot, and the very good purchases of Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Ben White and Nuno playing well. We are short of a couple of quality January signings. On balance I think Arteta has not produced a real football style except for the last few weeks, or consistent 90 min intensity. The past six weeks, mainly against poorer teams. we have brought back excitement and free flowing football for us supporters. So I’m willing to give Arteta benefit of the doubt. Can he in the next few weeks keep us hot, can he keep us fearless, can he keep us spontaneous, can he keep us intense? If he earns his stripes over the next few weeks I will be happy to get behind him. If we fall down the table playing poorly then I will, of course, find it hard to support him. But I am very mildly optimistic.

  21. Super article Ken – written in such a way as to provoke reasoned responses from all camps. As you are aware, having both started Arteta’s reign in different corners we some time ago met in the middle, and have both remained there ever since!
    My points are rather scattergun, but all I think deserve consideration when discussing Arteta’s tenure:
    1. Continuous comparisons with past managers and teams as a yardstick are both pointless and counter-productive, as are ultimatums given on that basis. They cannot take into account how football evolves, how far out in front the big three are now in terms of finance, infrastructure and squad depth.
    2. The starting point for Arteta was an incredibly low and depressing place. Pampered, ill-disciplined players. Ageing, overpaid stars. An incredibly incompetant management team. Five or six years of slow erosion of a once great club preceded him. Emery – acknowledged before and since as a good manager, capable of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, couldn’t sort it out and ultimately imploded. Arteta inherited a club that either needed to be ripped apart and rebuilt brick by brick, or merely be given new wallpaper as a temporary fix, whilst the plaster still disintegrated underneath.
    3. It cannot be ignored that Arteta made a lot of awful mistakes in his 15 months, in terms of bad buys, poor tactics and team selections, inability to adapt in games, some attrocious man management. He has been incredibly lucky to keep his job. It seems that he knew where he wanted to get to but had no idea either how to get there or how to play whilst on the journey.
    4. Now to what I am starting to see over the past couple of months:
    a) an excellent scouting and buying selection process
    b) less erratic tinkering with selections – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
    c) Players are fitter, better disciplined and through repetition more efficient and confident in the tactics, including both implementing and playing through the high press. “Muscle memory” in action.
    d) No weak links (although this depends on a very small first team group). They trust each other, and with this and knowing where everyone else will be, improvision and expression is much easier.
    e) Player skill sets are markedly improving, which I believe is down to Arteta now having the time to work more with individuals than system drills. Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Gabriel, Odegaard, even Nketiah and Xhaka, are all noticably improved from this time last season, some in finishing, others in control, forward thinking, speed of thought and action, fitness, pressing etc.

    I am very optimistic. We will lapse at times, not least because our squad is so thin. But I refuse to demand that Arteta achieves top 4 just because we are a top club. We can’t expect so much neglect to be rectified quickly when you see how long City, Chelsea and Pool took to get there. I just need to see the progress continuing, and to enjoy seeing us again playing some great stuff.

    1. Well said Guy, I couldn’t agree more with everything you have said and echo what I think.

      We have come from a horrendous place. Like you said alot of papering over the cracks which has happened over the past 15 years. All of which was beginning to fail like a badly build wall in a gale. The older it becomes and the more you patch it up it will eventually fail all together. Which started at the the end of Wengers reign and the Emery and beginning of Artetas reign.

      1. Guy, thanks for the compliment and very detailed reply.
        What I am really enjoying, is the excellent replies that are coming in, plus their measured replies.

        It just shows how our fanbase can /should react if we all respect each others point of view….which I think SueP is eluding to and I couldn’t agree more.

        1. Ken!

          Thank you for writing such a great piece! Well-written and well-balanced! The fantastic replies you’ve had so far demonstrate how beautifully your piece was framed! It reflects so well on the time and effort you put into making it!

          I feel that Arteta’s fate will be determined by the fans (and not the board) only at the end of the season, but, like Guy, I believe that there are more fundamental factors to be observed and analyzed to evaluate how well the squad is progressing. I’m hoping that if we collectively focus on these factors, we’ll be able to make better decisions in May 2022.

          It’s great to catch up with you again, Ken! Please keep safe!


          1. And you Fire… thanks for the compliments and it’s so refreshing to have a debate that has been carried out in such a manner – all views respected.

            Hope you had a good Christmas and the New Year will be a good one for you and yours.

            1. Oh yes Ken!

              Indeed, the good tidings of the present moment truly has a calming effect! Long may it continue! *smiling*

              Thank you so much for your beautiful wishes! Yes, we had a great Christmas! And amen to your wonderful prayers! I wish you same and so much more, and to everyone here on JA!


    2. Guy…

      Simply superb analysis! I can only agree with you!

      For so long, I have always felt the league table is simply a by-product of some more fundamental factors, which we all seem not to talk about. And which you have just rightly pointed out and analysed properly.

      I hope we all begin to focus on these fundamental details, and maybe, just maybe we can begin to predict better and analyse properly the trajectory of travel of the Arsenal team.

      Thanks once again, and wishing you well!


  22. I think we have to put a but of reality to it for context:

    1. Is our squad currently better than that of Citeh, Chelsea, Utd, Spurs, Liverpool and currently West Ham. Then decide where you think we should realistically finish

    2. Wenger failed to challenge for a the title in his last few seasons. His best and final attempt was the season Eduardo had his leg snapped just so teams could beat us. Emery did okay in his first season. Considering we constantly went 1 goal down and constantly conceded at leat 25 shots at our goal. But he failed miserably in the last 4 games and the Europa humiliation. Then the disaster that followed until his sacking.

    3. Our club was a complete and utter mess. A complete shambles from being the most well run club to the worst overseen by the Kronkes and that twonk Gazidis.

    I think Arteta was a gamble but it was a gamble, like the age of our current squad, that needs time and patience.

    I understand some fans for not wanting Ateta preferring a more experienced manager. But the same fans who criticise the negative way in which were playing, under the same breath also wanted Conte, Mourinoh and Simeone.

    I think 5th is a realistic finishing position, 4th-1st is where I want us to be but and where Arsenal should be. But that is not where we are at the moment. Also a cup double would be nice, ultimately we’re looking for improvement after all. There is only one team who have gained more points in 2021 than Arsenal. We are quite commonly getting clean sheets something Wenger and Emery struggled to do. We have a very young squad doing very well and gelling nicely. We’re still probably 3 top players from challenging City Liverpool and Chelsea, but signs are good.

    We need to take stock at the end of the season

  23. Arsene Wenger had years at the helm and multiple years in management and sadly lost his magic. Emery was blighted by his communication difficulties and half a team of players who ruled the roost leaving any new manager taking over a club that was going the wrong way.

    I’m not sure anybody would have chosen Arteta to take us back to our former glories. It was madness.

    I’m in the camp – so to speak – of a supporter who thought he was very promising. I have also been keenly aware that he had no managerial experience whatsoever and was given a top job and nothing to back it up on his CV apart from being highly thought of by AW and being no2 to one of the best managers in Guardiola.

    My support has been more than tested and I have wobbled – notably giving him until Autumn to start showing that he could translate that early promise into being the real deal.

    4th after half the season played is satisfactory – only because the teams with games in hand could still overtake us.
    My stance all along has been that Arteta is not a flop but a guy having to learn quickly and who I have always felt deep down has the intelligence to succeed. My uncertainty lies with whether or not he can become an elite manager, not whether he can be successful. He is already starting to show that he can work well with his young players. He also – unfortunately though at considerable cost – got rid of the players who thought they were bigger than the club.
    The current trend gives me cause for hope. Top4 or 5 is a pretty good season come May. Top6 is acceptable -ish and lower than that is not.

    I’m relieved that the name callers have left the site. Pep’s water boy and other expressions were uncalled for and unkind- in the same way that Emery copped it too. Some were personal insults, but they have not reappeared on JA since Arteta wasn’t sacked by the end of September.

    What is very clear to me is that having pretty steadfastly supported Arteta has put me very much in the minority. I only thought it right to give him a fighting chance and hopefully he is now beginning to mature after 2 years at the helm. We will know just how much or not come May

    What I am not though is a person who would support him blindly. I have nearly changed my mind as I have every right to do. I may still do in the future. Hopefully I don’t get the I told you so mob on my back should he come unstuck.

  24. jon, you are correct that 49 refers to my year of birth, as for the diplomatic service, unfortunately diplomacy was never my strong point in early life but we learn and mellow with age. Thank you for your kind comment. Best wishes for the New Year, stay safe.

  25. Arsenal have spent 250k on transfers and will buy few more young players in 2022…after that for the next many years Arsenal don’t need to buy players and have the youngsters from the academy coming up…..I think that’s good business……!

    1. I agree, gives club time to re-evaluate, and take stock. The funds saved can be put towards a key player position or 2 in the following years.

      Club has to improve on contract situations though, we are so poor in that area.

      Hopefully this is the club’s way forward rather than the band-aid approach that didn’t work for Wenger, Emery, or Arteta when he took over.

      Buy low, sell high, and only when it suits us rather than forced.

  26. If we can either maintain or improve our recent form, regardless of how we fare against the Big Three (who are walloping eveybody btw, including each other, and if that’s the yardstick there willl only be 3 EPL managers in a job at season’s end!) then not only do I believe 4th place is likely, but even if with football’s habit of not always being a fair game we finish 5th or 6th, no way will I advocate a new manager.
    We didn’t sack him last season when all logic said we should have, so why now when we are at last seeing progress and decent football again? Why rip it all up and start again? Like young players, let’s see how high our young manager’s ceiling is next season with 3 or for more buys to complete his jigsaw.
    Spurs and Man U are, even with world class managers, still a distance behind us in redeveloping their style and squads, Liverpool are an ageing team so will probably regress next season. I see only Man C and Chelsea with their buying power, existing squads and experienced managers as being in a better place than us next August.
    Yes I’m a glass half full supporter, but whilst a year ago I was watching the liquid draining out, this year I’m watching the level rise.

  27. Ken 1945 I have really enjoyed this article ,read word by word including the comments which are both mature and wise. This is more like a just arsenal fan forum, debating & accepting each other’s opinion. Measuring progress depends on someone’s point of view and if you are either on 1234 there are some clear signs of progress.
    For example our defence has been more solid, getting goals from the midfielders, enjoying football games, winning away games and more so looking forward to games again. Combine all this and top it up with a 4 place finish which IMO is achievable will be a tremendous achievement for this young lads.

    1. Kenya00q, thanks for the comment and reply.
      Apart from the little Grandad/Dan squabble, it has been really interesting to read views from across the board.
      Long may it continue!!!

  28. In many respects the above article is little more than an exercise in stating the obvious, which at first glance sounds like a slag, but that wasn’t my intention whatsoever, as I think sometimes moving from the simple to the more complex is the best way approach such a highly nuanced topic…instead of trying to complicate matters further, you provide everyone with some logically defined parameters, which allows each individual responder to identify their respective leanings, then respond accordingly…usually I’m not a big fan of a narrative that relies too heavily on textbook-like constructs, such as rigidly defined categorical definitions, but that doesn’t apply in this case, as the scale provided recognizes that there’s logically going to be some overlapping opinions for those who don’t fall into one of the more extreme categories at each opposing end…good work Ken

    as for my personal thoughts on the matter at hand, at one point in time or another I’ve found myself in at least 3 of the 4 provided categories, although some might find that difficult to believe…at this exact point, I’m skeptical of the potential ceiling for this manager, at least for his first managerial appointment, but realistic enough to accept that his tenure will continue until at least season’s end, barring some unforeseen circumstances…in fact, I’m fairly convinced that no real evaluation process will occur, from an ownership level, until next Xmas at the earliest, due to the unparalleled financial support he received last summer and the youthful nature of our current squad, minus a few players who might be gone this window or next, which is a tad disconcerting as I still feel that he’s failed the all important eye test in all but a handful of occasions and these were mostly against inferior opposition

  29. Very interesting article by the writer, also the comments have been spot on and very insightful.
    I beleive the team is progressing just like the manager is also progressing in terms of ideas and experiences which visible in his decision making.
    Every elite manager goes through the same process of learning and evolving from Sir Alex during the late 90s when he started managing manchester to klop’s late dortmund days and early liverpool days. We all have seen their lapses in their careers one way of the other, not to mention Pep who has made some poor big money signings that didnt/havent turn out well.
    In a nutshell these guys learn and its those learning processes that has transformed them to becoming great managers. Therefor Arteta and ARSENAL are going through same learning processes and time will tell if they will hit the heights of those managers i mentioned.

  30. Lets not forget that Arsenal havent regressed under Arteta.. he met the team in 8th and we havent dropped beyond 8th even though 8th is not our usual standard. This team is getting better and i see Arteta bringing that greatness back to this club again.

  31. Even if Arteta makes 4th wish I am hoping, I am still not convinced Arteta is the right man to take us further..When more competitions comes in,we will simply just drop down again to 8 or even worst..We need a better manager just like the way lampard was dropped…Let’s just make Europe and get the manager and players we need to build on this team..Frankly I don’t dislike Arteta but deep down we all know his just ridding his luck and the world knows it..All we see are just the players stepping up to cover the lapses shown by dropping aubameyang as the captain…Just as they did against Ozil and they later slumped down the pecking order..Botttomline I suggest we support the team and the manager to see where we will end up and then get a more experienced manager with the right tactical and long term winning mentality.

  32. I appreciate all the opinions so far, the obvious fact is that the majority of arsenal fans currently do not have confidence in Mikel Ateta’s abilities or judgement as a manager.

    Ateta is learning, that is not to say he’s been terrible.

    To win the league or be in good standing on the table depends mainly on how much point you picked from the so called weak teams not your performance against the top 4.

    Ateta is doing well against the weak teams at the moment as any positive thinking fan would want at the moment.

    Except you have personal hatred for Mikel Ateta, it is fair to wait till May before passing any final judgement.

    I believe Arsenal will finish 4-5 come may; because, some how, Ateta’s young guns are currently playing to show their believe in the manager.

    So should we all show our support, at least till the end of the season.


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