Who cares if Arsenal are boring? by ThirdManJW
For the majority, last season was far too early to be making any judgements on Arteta, but despite that, there were some murmurings about the entertainment side of things. Those murmurings have now started to gather a little pace this season, given what we continue to see. Is it fair though?
Whether we are entertained or not, it shouldn’t even be up for discussion right now! Most importantly, was having a manager come in, and focus on our main problems. Which was: Improving our defending, off the ball movement, discipline, and competitiveness. One doesn’t need attractive football to be successful, although it is far better to watch. Arteta has improved all of these things, with fairly boring football at present.
In an ideal world, of course I want to be entertained when watching Arsenal, but firstly, I wanted to see us competing again. Because we have been so poor, for so long. I am trusting the process under Arteta, because we have been progressing, and now that Partey has signed, it seems likely Arteta will start working more with a back four. In turn, we’ll hopefully be a little more balanced, see more attacking football, which will naturally be more entertaining. Arteta is still very new to management and has rightly been extremely focused on the defence. So, we need a little more patience to see if he can develop his attacking tactical abilities, especially now that Partey gives him different options.
Arsenal fans also need to remember that Wenger spoilt us rotten when it came to entertaining football. We have to accept that we may never see football that good again at Arsenal in our lifetimes. Given that Wenger was on a different level when it came to entertainment, I feel fans have been too harsh on Emery, and Arteta, comparing them to Wenger. Wenger was a genius in this area!
I should add, defensive football can be very entertaining as well. Seeing everyone behind the ball, defending for their lives, putting their bodies on the line, and fighting for each other, is a lot of fun. One of my most enjoyable games to watch was when Mourinho’s Inter got past Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Champions League Final. A man down, a goal down, in the Camp Nou, up against Messi, in front of 90,000…it was sheer drama! I really enjoyed watching similar football from us against City in the FA Cup Semi, and Liverpool in the Community Shield. Defensive football doesn’t automatically mean boring football.
Given our long regression pre-Arteta, entertainment should be at the bottom of the list of priorities. So, we do need to be a little patient! However, when looking at Arteta in the medium/long term, he will need to be more entertaining. As managers at other clubs have proven, if your football is boring, fans will eventually have enough of it, even if it’s successful football. Ultimately, football is entertainment.