Maybe it is time to find hope in patience…. by Amagore
It was another home defeat that left me wondering what had become of the Arsenal team that defied the odds when they lifted the FA cup for the fourteenth time.
The manager was none other than Pep Guardiola’s protégé Mr. Mikel Arteta. His immediate impact left me believing that Arsenal had finally made the right appointment following the sacking of Unai Emery who had become unpopular due to poor results. Mikel Arteta’s meteoric rise and capture of the oldest FA Cup made football look easy. He had managed to inspire a group of players that looked lost under Unai Emery. Maybe it was because the lessons learnt from working with Pep Guardiola were still fresh in his mind.
Those in the know say “Education is what remains after what was learnt has been forgotten.” I felt his four years as Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man had taught him the intricacies of managing a big football club. However, the results and performances from Arsenal players in recent weeks have left many of us who believed in Arteta having doubts in his capability to take Arsenal to the Promised Land.
I appreciate that Arteta is nothing but a rookie who is lucky to have been accorded a chance to learn from the job, but I find it hard to accept mediocrity from someone who exuded so much confidence and self-belief when he was appointed that day in December 2019. Maybe I need to take it easy on him but watching a boring and lethargic type of football has been really painful to accept.
After the final whistle against Wolves I could not help laughing at myself for trusting Arteta. I quickly reminded myself of one Roberto Di Matteo who defied the odds and helped Chelsea win a champions league trophy, which the Chelsea fans are still using to troll all of us who dare stand by the Arsenal through thick and thin. As Chelsea Manager Di Matteo also won the FA Cup too after beating Liverpool with the same score line as Arteta’s Arsenal against Chelsea in August 2020.
Remembering Roberto Di Matteo’s conquest in the Champions league helped me wake up from the dream that deluded me into thinking that Arteta is worth my emotional investment. We all know that Di Matteo did not last long at Stamford Bridge despite winning the biggest club Competition in Europe. Unlike Arteta, Di Matteo had tried his lucky elsewhere before he was appointed caretaker coach.
The Chelsea owner is known for his affinity for instant gratification and he has every right to demand instant results given his willingness to invest in top players. However, that is not the case when it comes to Arsenal because investment in top players remains sporadic, as the owner has a different approach to Roman.
Arsenal has lately become a destination for free agents, let alone an opportunity for players nearing the end of their contracts to bargain for better deals. Aubameyang was recently awarded a new contract that reportedly comes with an improved pay check. This is a player we all know can be lethal in front of goal, but he has suddenly become an average striker.
The body language of our captain doesn’t inspire any confidence in me, and I am sure a lot of Gooners have made the same observation. There may be other factors linked to his goal drought, but our captain does not seem have a clue what wearing the red and white jersey for Arsenal means. I appreciate his contribution for the club in the last two seasons where he was amongst the league’s top goal scorers, but I long to see him pushing harder and pull his troops to his side. Against Wolves the only players who seemed to be interested in fighting were the youngsters, and I feel if the big players are not putting in some decent shifts Arteta must be prepared to bench them. There is nothing as bad as watching your team struggle to prove that they are worth any respect.
Arteta has been honest and willing to accept responsibility for the team’s poor showings ,but I feel it is not enough to accept responsibility without also making an effort to change the script. I have painfully noticed that it is now easy for our opponents to defend against Arsenal, mainly because of lack of quick movement off the ball on transition from defence to attack. The team is playing too many aimless passes which eventually help the opponent reorganize to defend against any threat.
By accepting responsibility Arteta is indirectly admitting that his players are playing according to his game plans. At this moment I do not see the board making any drastic measures which will see Arteta leaving his current position. If the board is willing to accept having Ozil out of the Premier league squad despite his huge salary, then we can expect them to accept the current mediocrity from both the manager and his troops.
At this stage of the season I feel our only hope as Arsenal fans lies in patience. The current season has already presented itself as the worst in terms of results and some records. Maybe the footballing Gods will smile at us and give us our Arsenal back.