We will know very soon if Arteta has made the right big decisions

Mikel Arteta is probably safe in his position right now and that has meant that he can make big decisions without too much risk, however that may not always be the case, starting today.

Stripping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy, sidelining the clubs’ record signing Nicolas Pepe and even bringing Granit Xhaka straight back into the team are all big calls, especially the first two and he can get away with these big calls as long as the fans are on side.

But that is the thing, the fans are barely on side right now and a loss tonight against West Ham United would see these major decisions come under even more scrutiny and his judgement questioned forensically.

If Arsenal beat the Hammers then the decisions by Arteta will look like pearls of wisdom and that is the fine line the manager is walking right now.

There is a history of managers making such huge calls only for them to backfire, Ruud Gullit dropping Alan Shearer springs to mind and the Dutchman was out of a job the very next day because Newcastle United lost that particular match, to Sunderland of all teams.

As I said, for now, Arteta is fairly safe and can make the big calls from a confident position but he had better start getting the results on the pitch that the fans are demanding because if he does not, he will not look so safe for much longer.

Tags mikel arteta


  1. AndersS says:

    Arteta’s indication, that Auba may not play for us again, shows the high stakes.
    That shows either Auba has done something absolutely intolerable in the first place, or the conflict has escalated a lot in the recent days.
    If the former is the case, then I am all behind Arteta, but if it is the latter, then maybe the situation isn’t being handled maturedly.
    There is of course also a risk, that Auba’s actions are just the tip of the iceberg, and there is more player unrest underneath.
    In this context tonights game might show us more. Is the rest of the team all fired up, and fighting 100%, or will we see a deflated unmotivated performance?

    1. PJ-SA says:

      My opinion is if you don’t like a player just sell him/her ASAP. Sideline them for a game or 2 no problem then sell once window is open if possible and if not keep player on the bench.

      The fact that this story is going around and around and around does one thing…make selling him even more difficult (like it wasn’t difficult enough with his age, form and wages)

    2. Kenny says:

      The moral of the story for the players – Do not offend MA if he is in power, else, you will be in cold storage. MA remember the bad things by heart and not your skills. Arsenal is so rich during MA’s era to pay players without playing but unable to buy one or two distinguished players to win titles while we are building The Emirates Stadium.

      1. AndersS says:

        Do we know everything?
        If Auba has returned late and directly or indirectly challenged Arteta’s right to demand him to adhere to the rules, I really don’t see Arteta is in the wrong here.
        But if we are talking about a situation, that has escalated, because Auba feels the sanctions are excessive, then it could be both parties in the wrong.
        Finally, if there is more plyar unrest underneath, it is also a different situation. I prefer to wait and see before concluding.

        1. AndersS says:

          Sorry – “player unrest” not “plyar” 😉

  2. fairfan says:

    Everything depends on results and expectations. For me 7th and a return to Europe will be enough for Arteta to continue. If we beat WH we can draw at Leeds or Norwich and make 33 points at the turn. We have an easier second half schedule so I predict 36 points in the second term. So 69 points by May which would be enough for 5th/6th place. COYG

    1. PJ-SA says:

      What pathetic standards!

    2. Kenny says:

      Your comments always have many “IF”.

    3. Dennis Moriarty says:

      Fairfan, you know this is Arsenal? Not some small town team, since when is 7th place acceptable?
      When did it become the norm just to draw with Leeds or Norwich? Pull yourself together.

  3. Dan kit says:

    Artetas fate should be about league position and what direction the club want to go

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Yes. Those so called big decisions however right doesn’t mean a pudding if we don’t finish in the top 4.

  4. gotanidea says:

    According to Arteta in the press conference, ARSENAL made the decision to protect their interest as a football club

    Big decisions like that can only be made with the approval from the Kroenkes, and that only happens if the player’s performance or behaviour isn’t up to Arsenal’s standards

    There is no way Arteta could freeze the highest paid players without an involvement from his superiors

    1. Dan kit says:

      If Arsenal are protecting their interests why is Arteta still manager?
      Since he’s come in we have seen .
      The price of the club decreased.
      Player value decreased.
      Players still running their contracts down again Losing more money .
      The fan base divided.
      Two 8th place finishes now struggling in 6th after a heavy investment .
      Having to watch awful football week after week .
      I could go but I would be here for another 2 hours .
      So i not sure what Arteta is going on about protecting their interests,he maybe needs to look in the mirror before slagging a player off for visiting his sick mum .

      1. gotanidea says:

        I think maybe because:

        – Kroenke still believes in Arteta’s project
        – Kroenke doesn’t blame Arteta for the players’ misbehaviours
        – Arteta enforces discipline into the team

        Arteta has never slagged Aubameyang. Arteta simply replied to the journalists’ questions with neutral answers

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          But to what end?

          I support Arteta decision against ​Aubameyang because of

          1. what happened to Emery
          2. what might happen to the future manager 3. Players should not act bigger than the club and undermine the manager (note I say manager not Arteta meaning I would still support the decision if it was another manager)

          But what is the point of all these believing in the project and enforcing discipline if it doesn’t translate on the pitch?

          1. gotanidea says:

            The financial backing and the discipline have been making the team improve very slowly. Despite getting five red cards and being distracted with Ozil’s problems last season, we still managed to maintain our final position in EPL table

            As for this season, we managed to improve our position slightly, despite having an unfocused captain in the front line

            Even if Arteta eventually fails to make us return to top four next season, the set of young players he trained and the strong discipline he’s been instilling will make the next manager’s life much easier

    2. Sylva says:

      Exactly Gai,
      Fans and people need to know all clubs have their own standards and mode of operation. Fans opinion counts for little when it’s a matter of a boss and the employees. Auba is been paid 300k weekly by the Kroenkes they have rights to making decision if the player is going off their standards. No player should be above the required behaviours set the club. Xhaka was removed before Auba no one is above the law.

      1. gotanidea says:

        January transfer window will be interesting, because of the dramas

    3. jon fox says:

      gai, Surely the truth is that the Kroenkes, both non football people and not even football likers, despite Josh’s attempts to lie to us that he now loves Prem football, will simply let MA get on with running things , unconcerned by anything other than thr clubs investment value.

      To imagine they give a hoot about who MA makes captain or leaves out of the squad, is nonsense.

  5. Agi says:

    Actually Auba is not working good now as a striker and captain, that’s for sure imo.
    Pepe, I think MA has tried him but it looks like Saka is much more effective and better in that right wing position. It is like Leno that has been replaced with he better Ramsdale now.
    Xhaka, even he was up and down, not consistent, but when up he was better than the others in same position and he has quite good experience. He can work well with Partey.

    I mean, the coach team and MA himself know better than I as only a supporter. If there were something that not working properly and already tried to fix but still not working so there must some changes to solve the problem.
    And it is all not only about individual, but important thing is as a team whether can work or not.
    I say that Arsenal now is still far from perfect. But I still hope it can finish for Europe league or even Champion with some good luck, and there will be new better manager with new better strategy and tactical next season.. 😃

  6. PJ-SA says:

    -Was never a real captain, so no actual change
    -Was absent entire season anyway so again no change there.
    -MA should’ve dropped Auba weeks ago, it shouldn’t take a discipline issue to drop an underperforming player should it?

    -Been dropped weeks ago already
    -Not too sure why he’s not being used as a sub especially because we are short of goals and he is a goal threat.
    -Not sure why it’s a topic now for the WHU game specifically? Old news.

    -Unfit and even when fit is slower than a week in prison
    -Lost the ball multiple times in the last 2 games
    -We can play decently with him in the side but we can play even better with him out of the side.

    -WHU result is a small part of a bigger picture
    -No lower than 5th place
    -If we end 5th that gives MA an average of ending of 7th place over his 3 season ends…to some this is acceptable for some reason.
    -No less than a spot in a final of a cup

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Why 5th? 5th and 6th give same reward. It has to be 4th. I can not simply accept Arsenal as a mid table club. All the evidence is to the contrary. I will not lower expectations because I like Arteta or the way he is dealing with some players I don’t like. Last I checked Arteta is not Arsenal. I was a fan before he was a manager or player why should I lower my expectations to accommodate his shortcomings? Why should I do that?

      What a sad story Pepe’s is. Our most expensive and a very talented player to be rotting on the bench. A manager should be working on how to get the best out of him.

      1. PJ-SA says:

        I agree 4th but as much as I don’t like MA I think 5th minimum will show a genuine improvement which is what I’m looking for even though it’s below AFC standards.

        I’m also very aware of Spurs, Man U and especially Leicester as it seems they have really turned the corner.

  7. Rux says:

    I miss great Wenger, he was very special in dealing with this situations! ( bad boys players and indisciplines)

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Wenger commanded respect from his players whereas MA demands respect from his players….there’s a big difference!

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Truer words have never been spoken.

      2. AndersS says:

        Not sure Wenger did the players nor the team any good, when he let Wishere smoke or Iwobi party all night before a game without any consequenses.
        Or letting Gallas get away with his “sitting protest”

      3. Kenny says:

        Please don’t accuse MA and made MA’s supporter agitated!!!
        MA’s supporter made false accusation against Arsene:
        “Not sure Wenger did the players nor the team any good, when he let Wishere smoke or Iwobi party all night before a game without any consequenses.”

        1. Wishere smoke
        Arsenal star Jack Wilshere told not to let career go up in smoke after midfielder pictured with cigarette outside London nightclub

        2. Iwobi party all night before a game
        ARSENE WENGER says he is likely to hit Alex Iwobi with a fine after he broke a curfew to attend a drug-fuelled birthday party.

        3. Gallas get away with his “sitting protest”
        The sitting protest is not wrong.
        1. Sitting Protest

        This stone-cold classic Premier League moment came with Arsenal top of the league in February 2008. Arsenal were shaken by the awful injury to Eduardo, and when James McFadden scored a late penalty, unjustly awarded against Gael Clichy, it all proved to be too much for Gallas. As the final whistle went he raged around the edge of the pitch kicking advertising boards, and then sat down for a full two minutes, listening to the jeers of the crowd.

        1. AndersS says:

          You are wrong. I am no Arteta supporter as such. In fact, I have called for his head at least a couple of times here.
          But I do like a debate to be based on facts:

          Here is what Wilshere himself has been quoted about Wengers reaction to hbis smoking:

          ‘The one thing that was in my head was, ‘Oh my god, the boss is going to kill me’.

          “I remember going in the next day, going up to the training pitch and the boss was there.

          “He was like, ‘Don’t worry, when I have a drink I like a cigarette as well!’

          As for Iwobi, Wenger did call it unacceptable, but as Iwobi wasn’t axed from the team, there were plenty calling him “Wenger’s Pet” and Ian Wright called Wenger “weak”.
          Read more yourself, if you like https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/alex-iwobi-breaks-silence-partying-13031056

      4. siamois says:

        So true!!

    2. Sam Pedro says:

      Wenger was a senior figure well respected in the football world unlike a rookie coach who is youngest in the league, most players wont respect him as much they will do wenger, Arteta will have to earn his respect by winning trophies then maybe players attitude towards him will be more of respect.

  8. gunnerforlife says:

    The decision to remove Auba as Captain goes far beyond his latest disciplinary issue. I feel there was something getting heated up beneath the kettle and it reached boiling point 2 days back. Having said that, it would have been easier for MA to drop Auba based on his form rather than on disciplinary issues. Also, the reason not to bring on Pepe even when we need goals desperately is something of a mystery as Pepe is a real goal threat going forward, pacy and precise. As for the WHU game, WH have got real attacking players and a real threat going forward, have high press and are quite physical. Arsenal will have to be at their best to beat them which I think is quite possible. If we play to a plan and play high press, we can surely beat WestHam and go 4th in the table, a respectable standing for a Club of our stature, a place where Arsenal belongs, in the top 4 of the League.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Yes considering Arteta seems to like him it has to be an ongoing issues behind the scene to the point where the manager and the club had enough.

    2. Snow says:

      Gunnarforlife…did you use “real goal threat going forward, pacy and precise” in the same kind with Pepe????

      Please stop joking. Pepe’s not much of those else wouldn’t be on the bench. He is not even a starter for his national team.

  9. Durand says:

    Wins tend to gloss over problems, while losses magnify them. A win today is what the focus should be. Instead, auba being dropped, talk of new captain, these are taking the spotlight.

    I think the captain issue should have been kept in house until after this big match, that’s my personal opinion.

    Unless a new one is named, and Arteta is trying to spark something from the squad.

    The worst possible choice is removing the captain band, then waffle over the new captain, while letting rumors circulate.

    Personally if you replace a captain, the new one should be an obvious choice, unless they are chosen for other reasons.

    Laca would be temporary and silly, he’s leaving. Xhaka would further divide the fanbase when we need unity.

    I hope it’s a young, hungry player who embodies “the process” or “the project.” Back up all that talk with a captain that reflects this rebuild under Arteta.

  10. O.T.S says:

    What a lot of people fail to understand is that Auba might have been guilty of sth wrong in the past which wasn’t made public and was reprimanded now as a result of his continuous wrong doings.

    As far as I am concerned, I just don’t think it was because he went paying his sick mother a visit and arriving late that led to him being stripped off captaincy but rather his persistent lack of adherence to whatever was asked of him, which otherwise acts as a means of undermining Arteta’s authority.
    Auba is a clown to me. Never was he a captain material as he isn’t anymore. And even, liking Ronaldo’s post, having lost against Man united is totally an insane attitude from the captain of the losing team. We also have heard rumors of him being always left unpunished by the coach following a violation and which I perceive can be disruptive to the team as a whole, especially if another player does the same thing and gets punished from it.

  11. Buddy says:

    The mere fact that the club and Arteta are just seeing this now is a joke on its own…

    To be honest I don’t know what Emery smoked to hand him the arm band in the first place, as much as people think his performances dropped after the new contract, No.. I personally believe it was after handing him the Armband, cos I don’t think he even wanted it.

    Am hearing rumors of a certain Odegaard for the vacant captain position, I hope this is not true, because if it is.. Then we should all come to agreement that we are a total mess and midtable is just where we are

  12. siamois says:

    I’m still trying to decide if putting a public statement out was a good thing or if it has made the situation worse.

    1. O.T.S says:

      Well, at a point in time, we accused the club of being too secretive with information as issues that transpired within were never made known to us.

      And now that we’ve been given the opportunity to know what is actually happening, shouldn’t we be pleased. Atleast.

      We are just tooo unsatisfied with the process of the club. Auba is not bigger than the club, and in no position to dictate for the club. So, I see the club’s decision as most authoritative to respect by any player, wether, they like it or not.

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