The players people claim are poor; Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, etc. are players that, with a different manager in charge, and a different style of play; brought the club to fourth, third, second, fifth and sixth place finishes.
Arteta has managed two consecutive 8th place finishes after spending a lot of money. Unai Emery managed a fifth place finish and was in 10th when he was fired.
Is the problem the players or the manager, the team balance, man management or more likely a combination of factors?
Arsenal played the last two seasons with their best creative player on the bench or out of the team. Last season Arsenal has virtually no goals or assists from the middle of the midfield and yet, after spending 75 million, have not signed a scoring #10 or central midfielder.
Setting the failure to get rid of players that did not even play last season (the players who went on loan and are being offered for sale), or who were widely recognized as having great seasons, like Xhaka.
The Arsenal management’s inability to manage the squad, manage transfers, and inspire trust is obvious to anyone watching. Mikel Arteta lacks the status and clout with the front office to actually manage the team – that was obvious during the Ozil saga and is now obvious with the Bellerin saga. Arsenal’s best fullback is being identified as a scapegoat and the manager is silent; secretly assassinating his player’s character and ability by remaining silent as pundits and fans look at a rare mistake in a friendly game as proof that Bellerin is the reason Arsenal will not compete.
That false narrative serves Arteta, because it lets him escape responsibility for the club’s performance.
Arsenal entered the transfer window with two critical needs one serious need and one minor need.
1. Urgent need – Creative #10 able to bring assists and scoring to the first XI
2. Urgent need- goal scoring, assist providing central midfielder
3. Serious need – reserve goalkeeper capable of providing cover and rotation for Bernd Leno
4. Minor need – Reserve left back to replace Sead Kolasinac, provided he leaves as expected – to proven injury cover and rotation for Kieran Tierney.
So far Arsenal have signed three players and addressed one of their needs; a reserve left back, their least urgent need…
The club spent the vast bulk of their money on a center back to replace David Luiz, despite having seven center backs on the roster – then sending two; Saliba and Mavropanos, both of whom played well on loan last year, on loan again.
The other player added is a young midfielder from Belgium with less experience than either midfielder Arsenal are looking to push out; Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
That leaves three of the four club’s most urgent needs unmet, with only three weeks left in the transfer window. Blaming Bellerin, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, or anyone else besides Arsenal’s management team is stupid.