Analysis of why I believe Mikel Arteta has taken Arsenal as far as he can (at the current time)

Has Mikel Arteta taken Arsenal to a certain point? by Nabeel

Mikel Arteta became the head coach of Arsenal Football Club on December 19, 2019, and became the manager of Arsenal on September 20, 2020. He took what many have considered a difficult job following the sacking of former Arsenal manager Unai Emery and has transformed Arsenal into one of the best young teams in England and Europe. But after three years on the job, is it time for the club to honour his achievements and continue to grow with or without him? That is the argument I will present to you, and you may discuss your case in the comments.

In the world of football managers in football, you may find it hard to find anyone who has played under great managers over the years quite like Mikel Arteta. From the likes of Luis Fernandez, Alex McLeish, David Moyes, and the great Arsene Wenger. Aside from that, when allowed to work for either Mauricio Pochettino, Arsene Wenger, or Pep Guardiola, he chose the last one.

Staying with the Sky Blues, he learned the fundamentals of a coach under one of the best minds football has come across as an assistant manager for three years. He helped Manchester City win 2 premier leagues, 2 EFL cups, 1 FA cup, and 2 FA Community Shields along with developing great players such as Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, İlkay Gündoğan, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, and Gabriel Jesus.

When the opportunity to take over Arsenal came, he jumped to the opportunity and has been proud to manage them ever since. He has worked from strength to strength every season going from 8th to 2nd in three years in the league. He has won the FA Cup and 2 FA Community Shields in the process along with developing players such as Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Magalhães, Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, William Saliba, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock. However, has he reached the pinnacle of the job he has? Well, due to current situations and transfer rumors, I think there might be a discussion to be held.

To understand my point of view, let’s go back to the end of last season. Based on the injuries and squad depth, Arsenal needed players in these positions: CB, LB/RB, DM, CM, ST & RW. And with the UCL and PL money along with the set transfer budget, Arsenal could do damage in the transfer window. Despite this, Edu and Arteta decided to buy only three players: Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber.

I’m no expert when it comes to the transfer market but I’m not an idiot either. What I mean by this is time, not just in football but in life also, is money and the time to train and develop Kai into a CM would’ve been better with buying an actual CM, the same position according to multiple reports Arsenal are attempting to buy in the winter window.

I know there might be players that Arsenal doesn’t want to buy simply because of the time it takes to make a player understand and feel comfortable playing in the Premier league, and the permits the players need to get before completing the transfer (due to Brexit ruling in the league) but I think it’s worth it. In England, at least, it’s widely known that it’s more expensive to buy here than to buy elsewhere due to English taxes, losing a player to a team in the same league (depending on the team), etc.

My point is Arsenal should have gone for other players in different leagues, or if they were adamant on signing players in the same league, they should’ve been smarter, not only on the Kai Havertz transfer but the rest as well because time is money.

My second point is the decision-making Mikel has made this season. In a press conference in July of this year, Mikel said “The idea is to be more unpredictable every year and be more difficult for the opponents to stop and nullify what we want to do.” And based on the way Arsenal have played this season, it doesn’t look like they are close to looking unpredictable due to the players he signed, which shows a lack of efficient decision-making.

For example, the Raya-Ramsdale situation is a problem Mikel has created for himself, unfortunately. Despite Arsenal looking and statistically doing slightly better defensively, at this time last season (in terms of games played) Arsenal had scored 40 conceded 14, drawn, and lost 1 game each. The decision to give many players large contracts to the point where Arsenal needs to sell players in the winter window to sign players isn’t the brightest thing, especially when a new player is one, of if not the, highest-paid players at the club via (this might not seem completely accurate but it’s pretty certain).

This is an unpopular opinion but why does Mikel keep playing Zinchenko in LB knowing that every team will go down that path to create chances and score, and not just play him in CM where he can create more chances and allow better defensive structure?

Why doesn’t he give younger players more opportunities to play, even if it’sin  the last minutes of the games?

Why didn’t he sell Thomas Partey knowing he’s injury-prone and going to the AFCON next year and sign a DM to replace him?

Why didn’t Mikel sign a backup to Saliba knowing what happened last season (Kiwior is a Magalhães backup)? There are more questions than answers than answers this season that many Arsenal fans weren’t expecting to ask.

My third point is the money spent at the club and a particular culture lost. The club has spent 700 million pounds on players since Mikel came and it might seem like loose change to the owners, but that’s a lot of money spent in only three equivalent seasons. Since Jürgen Klopp came to Liverpool, they have spent 933,500,000 Euros in 8 years. Logically, Arsenal has lost the way of buying smart at the beginning of the journey.

Aside from that, according to, Arsenal’s wage bill hasn’t been that high since the 2017/18 season.

Arsenal in the past was known for buying players for low fees and selling them for profit while playing attractive football. I acknowledge that the defence wasn’t as good as it is now as well as buying low-fee players due to the restrictions of the stadium being built, but I think that is what made Arsenal somewhat special.

Despite bigger clubs poaching their best players almost every season, Arsene still found a way to stay relatively competitive in the league for the majority of his run and turn those hidden gems into superstars.

Spending millions of pounds on players will always be a risk but spending that much in three equivalent seasons isn’t sensible. If the board continuously gives Mikel and Edu money to spend, they’ll never learn how to use their imagination, and cognitive skills and thinking, to figure out problems to solutions when the time comes to use it to the maximum.

Despite Mikel doing well rebuilding the team, I believe we’ve lost that culture that I miss, and it’s a shame expensive transfers are always applauded when a majority of them fail in football. Also, the free-flowing football Arsene implemented has completely disappeared which I also miss. Change is good and it’s something that every team should strive to do, but it was something that, like me, made a lot of fans love the club and support it. Not to sound condescending or anything that’s just something I found in Arsenal that was superior to other clubs.

To expand my view, there are a few problems that need addressing such as the drop in chance creation, rumored transfer targets, the lack of rotation of players, and certain tactics. If there aren’t players creating chances, how do you score goals?

Some players create goals by themselves but those players come thick and thin. Aside from Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Oleksandr Zinchenko, there aren’t many players who are creating chances for players to score like Kai Havertz, Gabriel Martinelli, and Gabriel Jesus (and partially Odegaard because he does score and he assists).

That’s why Gabriel Jesus will never score 20+ league goals for Arsenal because he’s doing the 2 jobs at the same time (I have a hypothesis that Gabriel Jesus is a Second Striker similar to Paulo Dybala but that’s for another day).

That leaves the question of who Arsenal is rumored to buy. Arsenal can’t buy Osimhen because they need players to create more otherwise he won’t score continually. Due to this predicament, some Arsenal fans are conflicted on whether they should buy a striker similar to Gabriel Jesus or a natural tall goal scorer.

That leads to the question of the certain tactics used. I can’t say I’m an expert at tactics because I’ve been playing Football Manager for years, but one thing I know is sometimes when you use the same formation continuously, teams will find ways to stop the opposing team from creating chances and scoring goals, especially when there’s no rotation in the team selection. It won’t matter how much better a team is in terms of quality, we say that with Aston Villa versus Manchester City on match day 15 (and I know Manchester City was without Rodri but they did have Kalvin Philips on the bench). Changing the formation could unlock different players’ potential.

This article might feel like a hit-piece to Mikel, yet I’ve previously mentioned great things Mikel has done: he’s good at developing players, he helped rebuild Arsenal to where they are now, and took the ‘impossible job’ (similar to the Alex Ferguson post-job), he’s created a new belief and hunger in the fans; he’s improved our defence massively, etc. Despite all this, I want the best for the club. Many of you will disagree and many will agree – that’s fine.

But like Eddie Howe at Newcastle United, he won’t stay forever. I believe that many fans and football fans alike think he can and should stay, because he’s young, intelligent, and has the potential to be the best in the world, and I agree but not to the detriment of a big side.

That’s why many managers start small so they can understand the ability to spend on a tight budget, make mistakes on the smaller team, and learn the mistakes made at that level so that it’s not made in future jobs.

Also, it would be bad if Mikel were to leave on a bad note. Time is money and change is good. That’s one of the many mottos that made Chelsea become one of the top sides in England and Europe (despite other things).

Many will say Mikel is doing a good job but there is a hidden potential I feel Mikel not be able to release that a top manager could. He is one of the best in the Premier League but one can’t say we can’t do better than him because we can, and I don’t want to get to the point where we continue to spend time and money before he succeeds. Especially, when there are other great options up for grabs.

Now, not to say Mikel cannot fix what is broken at the club as fans have seen him do multiple times, but with the time being potentially wasted and the millions of pounds being spent (715,240,000 Euros against 142,250,000 Euros) we’ll have to wait and see if this article will be useless or a talking point at the end of the season.

Nevertheless, I believe situations will get better. Trust the process.

Nabeel Junaid

Tags Mikel Arteta


  1. Well, he has taken us to Champions League and made us a seemingly constant Top4 team. In that regards he’s on level with Wenger during his last decade or so.

    Difference between MAs Arsenal at the moment vs Wengers last years, is that we’re no longer a punchbag for the big teams. Our last CL years were a travesty and in the PL you would always fear we would get mauled by City, Chelsea, Pool..

    We are current challenging in a way I don’t remmerber us challenging (maybe the season when Edoardo got leg broken?). We’re still missing silverware but we’re on the right path for that to happen. Fingers crossed.

    1. Dajuhi it is last season only that we were in top four that’s why arsenal are currently in Champions League, it’s also wrong to compare the great Wenger to Mikel so has spent so much with no return in terms of trophies Arteta hasn’t won any cup with is so players with the exception of the community shield more still needs to be done let arteta win Champions League a cup wenger never won.

    2. Can Nabeel Junaid mention just THREE of the “options” to back this statement
      “Especially, when there are other great options up for grabs.”???

    3. What we deem success for Arteta was failure for Wenger …..oh last Arsenal manager to win at Anfield and Ethiad was ….Wenger so don’t get where you get this idea that we don’t fear getting mauled there lol

    4. DaJuhi you are absolutely correct.
      Last season was the first in something like 12-13 years, we were actually challenging for the PL title.
      This season was also the first in as many years, we have been mentioned as serious title contenders by neutrals.
      All the talk about Arsenal being soft etc. from Wenger’s last few years seems gone now.
      A big improvement.

      1. Come on what 12-13 years are you talking about. Didn’t we last challenged and also bottled it 7 years ago when Leicester won it in 2016?

        1. I wouldn’t call us challengers the year Leicester won.
          With 5 rounds to go, we were 13 points behind Leicester and in fact only in 3’rd place, as Spurs were 6 points ahead of us.
          In the end we finished 10points behind.
          Hardly a real challenge.

          1. In the end we finished 2nd just like last season despite being ahead, so if we were not challengers then, we shouldn’t be considered challengers last season too.

            My gut tells me the data you quoted took into account extra games played by Leicester and Spurs

        1. So that is your argument? If you can’t do better, it is almost a waste of time.
          The fact is, last year was the first time in 12-13 years we put in a real challenge for the title, and this year is probably the first time in just as long, that neutrals consider us real challengers as well.

  2. Interesting article.
    But I think, you have overlooked 2 very important factors:
    1) Arteta has built a very young team, which is continually developing. Nobody expected us to be able to compete with City for the title last season. This season we are up there again, and this year it is with added pressure and with the strin of CL football. That we are near the top is prooof we are developing

    2) Your comparison of money spent between Liverpool and Arsenal is misleading. In gross spend Liverpool spent 562 m. Euros in the seasons 15/16 to 18/19. Klopp’s first years.
    Arsenal has spent 660 m. Euros in the seasons 20/21 to 23/24, Arteta’s first years.
    And if you look at all top clubs since 20/21 this is the gross spending:
    1)Chelsea – 1,44 bn
    2) Man C – 708 m
    3) Arsenal – 680 m
    4) Man U – 672 m
    5) Spurs – 631 m
    6) Newcastle – 508 m
    7) Liverpool – 480 m

    So, while Liverpool/Klopp are doing a great ob by being top of the league this year, it is also clear we/Arteta has done a great job taking us from 10’th (when he took over) to now second.
    It would be a huge mistake not to keep backing Arteta, and as things stand, I am 100% certain the people in charge of Arsenal have more sense than that.

    1. Not to mention the transfer market has absolutely gone bonkers in the last 2yrs or so.. Players like Mudryk and Anthony going for 100mil..
      In Klopp’s early years you could still get talented players for reasonable sums. Heck we got Auba for 63mil. Imagine what he’d cost if it were in the current market.

    2. Didn’t expect us to outspend Man U. One thing to note is that the likes of Pool and Spurs sold key players like Coutinho and Kane for huge fees to make up for their spending, while we got nothing for Ozil, Auba and Pepe and incur huge losses for terminating multimillion contracts

  3. If Jurien Timber had not been injured, I think we would be talking of two great summer signings and the conversation would be different.
    For me Raya has hardly been a disaster, although I don’t see exactly what Ramsdale did to lose Arteta’s confidence – personally I would have continued with Ramsdale and promoted Hein to 2nd choice keeper thus freeing up needed transfer monies.
    Havertz has been, pretty much a disaster for the first few months but I think somewhere in him there is a very good footballer who just hit rock bottom in terms of confidence (what player wouldn’t playing in that Chelsea team?).
    You could argue that the 65 million spent on Havertz could have been used to sign a top class striker but I think Arteta will address that – may be not in January as top clubs will be extremely reluctant to let top strikers leave mid season but certainly in the summer – may be Osimhen as I feel he will be reluctant to sign for a mid table team like Chelsea (who certainly will be hamstrung by this new PL ruling)
    For me Arteta is the man for the job and to be honest neither Man City or Liverpool are looking any better than Arsenal at the moment- Arteta may land the title this season..

  4. IMHO Arteta has improved us tremendously, and we have a squad that plays well together. There always seem to be a couple pieces missing, just as in Wenger’s time.

    Now I would like to see Arsenal and Arteta focus on the young academy players and getting them ready to step up into the first team. We have incredible talent, and now is the time to develop them further and incorporate them into the team.

    No reason to play Cedric at RB when Walters is capable of playing in a game where results don’t change our standing in the CL group.

    We persist with Vieira when Patino is a talented young player who would see similar minutes to Vieira this year.

    Hopefully we can develop young talented prospects rather than constantly reaching for the checkbook to solve problems. Rotation is another issue, but that becomes a circular argument. If they aren’t producing, then they get less minutes, but how can they produce if they are not given chances?

    I have always felt Arteta would be better served with an experienced hand on the sidelines, to help our still young and developing manager.

    No chance Arteta is leaving, but this year and the next couple will be time to deliver on silverware for the faith and money spent with this squad.

  5. The team is on the right track but at the end of the it boils down to the trophies. In my opinion Arteta has this season and next to either win premier league or champions league. Otherwise we will we be back to Wenger era where top 4 was a regarded as a trophy.

  6. @DaJuhi
    “He’s made us a constant top4 team. We’re no longer punching bags in the CL”
    We just got back up into the top4 and haven’t really faced any serious CL competition.
    A very well laid out article. Most of which I agree with. The part about Mikel developing players made me laugh though. Oh yeah, he did change Xhakas playing position. lol
    I got nothing against Mikel. I think he was a decent enough player. I’m just not sold on him as a manager. Last seasons capitulation said it all for me. I’ll support him as long as he’s the guy in the job, but that’s it.
    £750 mil gets you 2 Community Shields in todays market. ( the FA Cup was won with players he inherited, then sold or bought out their contracts) jus sayin

  7. i am always intrigued to read articles that suggest that our current manager isn’t good enough or has taken us as far he can
    i don’t any one on here who will dispute that MA has flaws
    i don’t think anyone on here will argue or dispute
    that MA game management/ team selection can be very strange at times.
    i don’t think anyone on here will dispute or argue that MA is a good coach but relatively still raw as manager and still learning his trade.
    you cannot compare him to AW who in my opinion was an exceptional manager (lost his way for us in the end) but i was thank full i was able to be around to live through some of the most fantastic moments he gave me)
    i for one am thankful that he is our manager and we he has given us our backbone back
    we have lost our soft underbelly tag
    people talk about us winning the league rather then saying can they make top 4
    we have come a long way in a short space of time and we still have a long way to go but for now, i am happy he is our manager and leader of our band off merry talented players
    onwards and upwards

  8. This is a very exciting season in our history, just a matter of time it becomes clear to everyone. I’m confident double trophies come end of this season and the PL tittle is one of them, not sure of the other.

  9. Using my highly perceptive brain, what stands out a MILE to me is the obvious, (though carefully avoided in actual words) SHEER ADORATION that this article writer plainly had and still has for a certain Arsene Wenger.

    I clearly observe how this odd opinioned writer plainly has little time for MA, despite artfully choosing to mention SOME , only some, of his obvous strengths in an effort to throw lesser perceptive fan than I, off the scent as to his clear and long lasting attachment to AW and his personal disdain towards what many of us consider a truly speciol manager , albeit one yet still to reach his pinnacle
    But I see clearly though this artful charade. His unfair hatchet job on an obvously fine and special manager – even though MA IS far from perfect – is little short of a disgrace and an extremely ODD AND VERY MINORITY view.


    Suffice to say that I profoundly disagree with his conclusion, even though I do concur with ONLY a little part of his criticism of MA.
    If , as I think it is, THIS is Nabeels first JA article, I can say with certainty,that I for just one will NOT be looking forward to future pieces from him. Sigh!
    Wisen up Nabeel, please!

    1. He did make a pretty pathetic attempt at hiding his personal bias. It was pretty much oh wenger used to do this that but arteta doesn’t so don’t like him.

  10. Arteta has gotten rid of the banter club stigma that started in wenger’s last years. Go on any social media platforms you’ll see how rival fans hate that fact we are once again one of the big boys in the league.

    Our last real title challenge before last season was in 07/08 so there is progress but the biggest point is that arteta is already good but his ceiling is much higher. His game management, player rotation are mediocre and should become better with more experience.

  11. Let’s Wait and see
    MA is the Manager of Arsenal till the end of the season at least
    Let’s see if we can win a trophy

    I think Articles like this is better for the end of the season

    I back MA 100% this season and the season isn’t over yet. We are just behind the leader and half a season left

  12. I can understand where the writer is coming from. People look at our position on the table currently and rightly give credit to the manager. But if you look closely, all is not well with some of what Arteta is doing and many people here won’t understand. The best way I will put it is that his methods are not sustainable and he can just burn himself out if he doesn’t start winning trophies soon.

    1. I notice you dont explain WHY you consider “his methods are not sustainable”.

      Is that by any chance because it is NOT the case and you cannot think of ANY actual reason why not, so you simply state a bald but unevidenced untruth!

      Easy to make a bald statement though, UNTIL you are asked, by more perceptive fans than yourself, to come up with EVIDENCE for your very minority view.

      1. Jon, as for making bald statements, can you enlarge your views on the following?

        1. Mikel’s “obvious strengths”
        2. Why he’s a “truly special manager”?
        3. How his methods are sustainable?

        It seems that you have fallen into the same trap that you are accusing the author of doing, by not backing up the statements you both have made.

        I do agree that rose tinted AW glasses have been used, but that’s his opinion of course and I found it an interesting read.

        1. Well KEN I AM GLAD YOU DID FIND IT ANINTERESTING READ. I found it agenda ridden and obviously a hatchet job. I also notice most posts who commented on the article thought it wide of the mark, many correctly supporting our current manager. A comment btw, I ALSO RECALL YOU SAYING YOURSELF VERY MANY TIMES.

          Perish the awful thought then, that YOU MIGHT BE LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS, MYSELF INCLUDED, A HYPOCRITE, for facing both ways when it suits you.
          Honesty, including with oneself, is always best policy I find. I recommend it to you.

          1. But Jon, you haven’t answered one of the three questions that I put to you!!!
            I wanted to read your thoughts and reasoning behind your claims, just as I would have liked the author to be more precise in his claims.
            Have a go Jon and see what you can do – meanwhile I see that you think I’m not supporting MA because I asked you to clarify your claims…how did you come to that conclusion?
            I could give you positive reasons from the three questions if you want me too, but, as you made the claims, I thought it only fair that you explain yourself – over to you.

            Reason I found it interesting, if biased towards Arsene? A fellow Gooners point of view that he put forward for discussion.

            1. Ken a s aso often acompletelypuzzlingpost , whichis why Iso ifryen feel we liveon differnt planets. EXAMPLE: Ken “… meanwhile I see that you think I am not supporting MA because I asked you to clarify your claims”!!!
              And that nonsense in answe to my post which says: Jon” I also notice most posts who commented on tthe article thought it wide of tth e mark, many correctly supporting our current ,manager. A comment btw, I also recall you saying yourself very many times”!
              EXPLANATION: I posted that both others and you correctly support our manager and that I note you posted many times sayingexactly that, that you support the manager(as all right thinking REAL Arsenal fans would naturally do with a manager with the qualities of MA.

              CONCLUSION: Although I wrote the above, saying you too have often written in support of MA, you NOW ASK ME WHY I think you are NOT SUPPORTING HIM, WHEN I SAID the precise opposite.


  13. We haven’t shown were capable of winning the title yet, but the mentality of the the players is so much stronger than it has been for a long time – the players all look serious, and like they actually care. Hasn’t always been that way – going back to the latter years of wenger’s time in charge.
    I said shortly after arteta joined that he might not be able to win the title, but that the changes he’d made were positive, and if he fell short, the next manager would benefit – that might yet be the case, but i think arteta has earned the opportunity to keep trying. Were certainly among the very top sides in the country now – I don’t believe Liverpool or even city are streets ahead of us anymore. That’s undeniably because of arteta.

  14. I haven’t experienced the British culture way of thinking so I’ll just give my opinion as an Arsenal fan for forty years therefore, right, short and short. From the results, Arteta and with him Arsenal have a permanent upward trend in a relatively short period of time, and having again very quickly closed the gap that It had been opened against us, for the last twelve years at least before Mikel took over. I think this is enough because, as I said, the team rose quickly, stabilized, and the only thing missing is one Championship … for starters and a European cup. Patience they will come. Clearly he has his flaws that he and the club pay for, however his strengths are far from his mistakes.there is no coach infallible or without selfish attachments. Doesn’t Mourinho? Klopp? Tuchel? Pep? Pochettino? Didn’t the great Wenger have a record of stupidity with his obsessions?let’s say…but no. And many say about the Great PEP….sorry but with so much money every year at his disposal, and Arteta would theoretically have won titles…..he is the loser Who buys many great players every year wasting big sums and in the end makes a hole in the water. Arteta no…. for me he is shopping too wisely for this level. We see that He builds a team, builds the core, renews contracts of the core and every year makes two, three or four additions of necessary players. And all the building methodically, finally stabilizing the team We moved up a level and for the second year they are chasing the title with pretensions, this shows stability and rise..not a comet team. This is the essence and great achievement of it..everything else just facts for consumption by the media….I think it is the perfect choice to go with….the championship will come, or rather many championships and you will see it, but mainly the giantization of Club….what mistake does he make because mistakes just happen. And above all, he is the only coach of a big team who is, apart from a great professional, the basis of an upward trajectory, I say it, but And one of us…that is, a fan

  15. A very provocative article, one gets the feeling this writer could go on and on like the Duracell bunny.

    What I like about this peice is how original it is, though the writer is clever in his cherry picking, he’s brutally honest at times.
    Think the writer is a little harsh on the gaffer and he was bold in certain instances.

    The idea of not signing another powerful midfielder whether Partey stays or goes is beyond me, the Raya/:Ramsdale saga, one we went out of the way for will run and run as fans intentionally and unintentionally fuel it.
    Some of the issues raised by the writer, fans here highlight them at one stage or another, what I believe they have issues with is the raw manner of the writer delivery.

    The writer topic in my opinion , Why he believe Mikel Arteta has taken Arsenal as far as he can, is plainly wrong and may have thrown off posters comments.

    Have just one question for the writer, wish he could respond, Does the writer think Arsenal is ahead of schedule? I do.

    1. Gunsmoke, if only we knew what the schedule was / is we could properly comment.

      If Mikel was to win nothing this season, would we still be ahead of schedule?
      If we won the fa cup, would we be ahead of schedule?
      The same goes for the PL only, or the CL, or even just the top four, remembering that’s not a trophy of course.

      That’s the problem, we are told that we are in phase four, but were we ever told how many phases there were and how long it would take?

      I see great progress being made by the way, both on and off the pitch, but if my first scenario becomes fact, where does that leave the process?

      1. Yes Ken Arsenal was ahead of schedule for topping the table for most part of the last campaign.

        When the gaffer laid out his blueprint for restoring Arsenal to pre-eminence in the conversation with Kroenkes upon his appointment, his plan had five distinct phases, At that time Arsenal was out of the champions league, 10th in the table and swallowed by the shadows of former glories.

        So the plan or schedule of five phases was to take Arsenal from midtable to premier league title challengers which he believes would end European and home domination.

        Now the strengthening, upgrading and reinforcing specific areas of the team moving on some players while instilling discipline all part of the plan and process that we have come to see in the four phases.

        Arsenal would be right on schedule if we were not to win any of the major jugs but remain in top four, but the gaffer has raised the bar and expectations are up so it would appears like a failure depending on which armchair manager you speak with.

        Yes your information is correct, we are indeed in phase four.
        Ken all the reports have seen makes reference to only five phases, In his own words all phases would mean creating something of an Arsenal era, akin to the Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp at Manchester City and Liverpool respectively

        Surely you and I would agree Man city and Liverpool are no longer head and shoulders above us and that speaks volumes of how much we are on schedule.

        So to answer your last question, once Arsenal continues to figure prominently in the league they remain on schedule.

        1. Gunsmoke, I am unaware of the five stages that you seem to know about, so can you give me a top line for each stage and then I can see how MA is actually progressing?

          I’m not arguing that progress hasn’t been made, anyone who thinks that, is denying the facts and I am also behind MA 100%.

          What I want to be able to do though, is measure him against his own phases and not just accept that, despite his many mistakes, he cannot be held responsible…. moving the goalposts in other words.

          So let’s see those five phases that you have seen and we can all be more subjective in our praise, or otherwise, of his work as he set out his vision to the kronkies.

          1. So it was established there was a plan and a process in which the gaffer believed would be in five phases, what you have issues with is the clear phases.

            Tthe main areas he address were Mentality & culture, on field tactics, transfer & squad management

            Phase one
            Arsenal had to clear the deck, forcing players on loan etc and getting the onfield tactics, all aiming to get the most out of his players and all with varying degrees of success, the rebuilding actually started in 2020.
            Phase Two
            He tried to promote from the academy , with a few transfer and loan deals, emphasis was on , transfers squad management , onfield tactics, mentality and the culture

            Phase Three
            The team building continues, with emphasis with onfield tactics, Arsenal suprises everyone and challenges for the title.

            Phase four
            The relentless team building continues with emphasis on versatile players .
            Now Arsenal set to compete on all fronts.

            Phase five
            It is in this phase Arsenal was expected to keep company with the Liverpool and Citizens
            Arsenal was not expected to win a major trophy until this phase.

            Please note, the gaffer is not known for showing his hands so he’s always coy.

            1. So, in actual fact Gunsmoke, the five phases are your interpretations of what’s gone on to date and what you hope will happen?
              I’m happy with that, but just wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything from the club or the manager himself.

      2. kEN I realise the phases mania, used regularly by certyain fans, originally emanated fromcoments made MA.

        But the extent to which certain less intellectually bright fans have used it constantly, as a stick to beat MA with – I do NOT mean you, of course, btw – is depressingly dull witted, at least from my point of view.
        Is seems WAY BEYOND OBVIOUS TO ME, THAT ALL AMBITIOUS teams everywhere have planned phases of action, as it is the only sensible way to run ANY AMBITIOUS CLUB.

        If I have to read this”PHASES” nonsense from yet another dullwitted fan, I will scream.

        1. I’m not sure it’s a stick to beat MA with Jon, more like having an idea of how, where, what and when we can see the plan evolving…. I had NO IDEA that there were five phases did you?

          By the way, look how the article has sparked interest and comment – well done to the author!!

          1. Ken would you care to address my post to you, (above) about us living on different planets?
            And on “phases” I read from some dullwits that they believe there are five phases. But the whole idea of “phases” at all is a complete nonsense.

            You might just as well talk about five phases in growing up, in eating dinner, in washing and in virtually ANY other matter in life.
            I …..

            1. Not really Jon, as living on two different planets is “complete nonsense”
              I’d rather read your reasons for the three questions REGARDING MA that I asked you about.

              1. KEN I WILL ANSWER YOUR THREE QUESTIONS, ONCE AGAIN , but not unless you first explain WHY you said I THOUGHT YOU WERE NOT SUPPPORTING MA.
                DEAL OR NO DEAL? .


              1. Not so much an “insult”, at least not to we NON woke people – and I am resolutely NOT woke, thankfully – but more a statement of FACT in certain cases. Note too I did not call Arsenal fans dull witted . I precisely said ” “certain less intellectualy bright fans… etc”.


                1. Jon, I don’t NEED your answers, nor do I live on another planet, as you so stupidly suggested.

                  If only you spent some of your TIME and MONEY actually SUPPORTING the club, instead of waffling on about all things Arsenal from behind a desk, it might bother me what you think, but as you have declared your never going to visit The Emirates again, despite living a few miles away, I’ll leave it up to others to decide if you REALLY SUPPORT the club, or just spout verbal diarrhoea to gain attention

  16. The writer threw the kitchen sink at this topic so I’ll try to be brief:-

    I’ve seen nothing yet about the last 4 years that lead me to believe that Arteta has reached his ceiling. Bumpy ride here and there, but no worse than many other clubs have had to endure

    Plenty will say that Arteta has been poor at bringing young talent into the team and just as many will say the opposite.

    Far too soon to be culling our manager and quite frankly I’m not even sure who we would replace him with

    1. Yes SueP, think he was harsh on the gaffer, while his narrative was a little misleading, but I do admire his respect for the legendary Frenchman.

      It would be interesting to know who his replacement are, as Chelsea makes some of Europe so call finest looks pretty poor.

      1. Gunsmoke
        It would be unfeeling not to have admired Wenger’s undeniable genius when he arrived at Arsenal. Scintillating football with some names I’d never heard of but were in his radar.

        Fast forward and Arteta is trying to rebuild in his way and like all humans is capable of a mistake or three. I have came to loathe the constant comparisons between the two men as I find it a rather unhealthy pastime. Wenger ‘s memory will always be etched in Arsenal’s history- quite rightly too. I’m more interested in the here and now and Arteta is mostly doing a damned good job. Our couple if lean seasons have made way to us being competitive in a much more competitive climate.

        I’m not an admirer of the generation that want it all now or sooner and haven’t the patience to let someone and something develop. And, I’d have taken Pep in a heartbeat before he went to City but he could have just as easily stumbled at Arsenal as lack of investment was never going to be a factor in Manchester. I’m not saying that Arsenal are not now investing- you really have to or the other teams will leave you behind.

        1. How in awe I constantly am, of your intellect and wisdom Sue.

          If only wehad many many more Sues, the intellectual average in JA would increase massively!

          When are you going to write an article though SUE?

          With a mighty intellect like yours it would be an astoundly brilliant one, I FEEL SURE!!

  17. I would also add when has the Premiership top 6 looked like this it is a world of difference now with Newcastle and Man City with limitless billions to throw away. What happens if City are properly penalized for cheating and some of their titles are vacated (looking at how Everton have been punished all the fans of other teams outside of Chelsea, Man City and Newcastle would agree that City deserve a massive punishment. AW was my favorite manager and with no disrespect to him never did he have to compete with a team funded like City which has virtually turned the Premier league into a farmers league in the sense that they have won 3 or 4 out of 5 titles. Klopp is up there with Pep as the best two managers in the world with more than ten years each of experience over Mikel as well knocking them off does not happen overnight.

    I love when fans say Arteta has one more season after this to win trophies. The Kroenkes alone will make that decision and they were recently rewarded with an NBA championship for keeping the same head coach of the Denver Nuggets after seven years of not winning it. I will trust them over any fans to make the right call on Arteta’s future and believe they are way more satisfied with him than the fans

    1. makaya, the chelsea roubles began in 2005 and the city oil money came in 2008 – Arsene left the club when exactly??
      Newcastle are there because of more oil money and chelsea still haven’t got over losing said roubles.
      Look back and you will see that city, chelsea and the building of the Emirates, changed Arsene’s time at the club, but he kept us in the top four for nigh on another decade AFTER these happenings..
      Still the greatest manager we have ever had.

  18. Long article but I think I’ve got the gist of it. My question is, if Arteta goes who takes his place? Top quality managers/coaches are as rare as hen’s teeth, ask Chelsea and Man Utd.

    I agree with Ken, AW was by far the greatest Arsenal manager I have seen in my 66 years following this great club. Some of the teams he assembled, particularly in his first few years, were awe inspiring.

  19. It took four years, washing hands on assets, 800 million in spending, unprecedented board support, trial and error method just to mention a few, to get us into top 4 and title challengers.

    It has taken Emery one year with a fraction of the cost to turn relegation contenders into title contenders.

    I firmly believe had the board gave such a backing to the right man from the beginning we would be chasing our second or third champions league trophy this season while defending the EPL title.

    However we are in a good shape and genuine challengers on all fronts. The only thing Mikel hasn’t learned despite literally being there is not buying what we are missing. The same weakness in Arsene’s time the same weakness we have now. A player or two missing to complete the squad yet go on to buy one not needed.

    The fee and wages wasted on Havertz would have gone to a realiable CF.

    1. Grass is always greener on the other side, Emery has suddenly became the hero, meanwhile most fans here were calling for his sack not too long ago.

      You people fail to understand that not all managers are meant for big clubs, Aston Villa and Emery are not under any pressure, it’s easier to perform without any pressure than with lots of it. I say again, Aston Villa is not title contender, let’s see how long they hold on.

      1. Actually they are in much pressure than us because we are where we are supposed to be while by the expectations of all they should not!

        Can they sustain it? How much pressure they must be having!

    2. hahaha nice joke “we would be chasing our second or third champions league trophy this season while defending the EPL title.”

    3. HH
      It’s easy to make a comparison with what Emery is currently achieving with Villa and Arteta at Arsenal with the much mentioned budget superiority. Should Emery keep the same solid trajectory it will mean that he has learned lessons from his time at Arsenal But it’s easy to forget that Emery’s legacy at Arsenal was to collapse when easily on target for top 4 and then (as a Europa League winner multiple times) to collapse again in Baku. Why blame it all on his lack of backing? He was in every way an experienced and heralded manager and should have done very much better.

      1. I blame it all on his lack of backing because he was obviously sabotaged. It was going to happen to Arteta too had the board not given him power to crush it. Actually Emery warned him about it in phone conversation when Arteta took over and Arteta acted accordingly to remove the poison (I just wish it would’ve been done in a way that profited the club instead of the culprits).

        I am still salty the board didn’t give that power to the far superior manager who would have returned us to glory quicker and cheaper.

        To me Unay Emery was a natural successor to the great Arsene Wenger where football philosophy is concerned.

        How can anyone forget the 22 unbeaten run? In his first season with inherited players? Did the language problem start at season end? Did he suddenly forget how to manage?

        Now I have to say it clearly that because I am salty it does not mean I do not support Arteta. Arteta has nothing to do with Emery’s unfair sacking or what transpired during that time.

        1. HH
          I was intrigued by your post as I had absolutely no idea that Emery and Arteta had spoken
          I hadn’t forgotten the unbeaten run. This is why I found it indefensible that the team collapsed and Emery failed to retain the support and confidence of the senior players

          1. Hi Sue,
            what really annoyed me was that Emery played reserves when we only needed a few points to get fourth, and he saved our best players for the ill-fated Europa League.
            I think he was overconfident on wimmimg after his previous successes…

          2. Sue

            Yes they did they had telephone conversation which they both admitted. I remember reading it in Arteta early days at Arsenal.

            Unay offered his house to Arteta and they talked about football on what Arteta could improve.

            One Spanish journalist claimed Emery advised Arteta to be wary of Ozil and Aubameyang and get rid of them when he had the chance.

            Thought the claim of the journalist can’t be verified if one add the pieces it fits.

      2. @SueP
        How far do you really think Arteta, or any manager can go without the full backing and confidence of a teams board?
        Unai did the best with what he had.
        The loss in Baku was just that, a loss. And can in no way be compared to the capitulation of the league , after 200+ days at the top. Jus sayin

        1. Emery had a huge backing. Lots of money was spent on new players. And lots of money was spent on retaining a huge squad despite no CL football.
          I remember clearly, Emery was given the job, because he delivered a thorough analysis of what he thought needed to be done, and the board backed that plan.
          You are actually doing Emery no favours by suggesting he as a world class manager would take a job, where there wasn’t the neccessary fundamentals for him to succeed. Of course he wouldn’t.
          Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed. No shame in that. Many world class managers have failures on their CV’s.
          If people suggest, he would have done much better given more time, it really is contrafactual.

          1. Stop kidding yourself. Emery absolutely had less backing than Arteta. He was even sacked when performing better than Arteta, so if he claimed Emery failed, then Arteta failed more but was given chance after chance to redeem himself. If Arteta could do better given more time, why can’t Emery? How factual are you to claim he can’t? You saw it in your time machine?

            1. Get your facts right, mate. Look at how much was spent with Emey and he was sacked, when we were 10’th halfway through his second season.

              1. AndersS, you have your facts WRONG. How many times must others correct you that we were 8th with 13 games played in the season when Emery was sacked. Why do you keep claiming we were 10th when Emery was sacked?? Why do you keep misleading others??

                MA was 15th with the same amount of games played and was allowed to keep his job.

                Emery spent less than MA, had less time than MA, had less authority than MA. So Emery definitely had less backing than MA. That’s a FACT! You can bend the truth all you want. Everyone knows that but you keep denying the obvious truth

          2. Stop kidding yourself. Emery absolutely had less backing than Arteta. He was even sacked when performing better than Arteta, so if he claimed Emery failed, then Arteta failed more but was given chance after chance to redeem himself. If Arteta could do better given more time, why can’t Emery? How factual are you to claim he can’t? You saw it in your time machine?

            1. Emery was sacked when Arsenal were rapidly dropping down the league. Not sure how you can claim he was performing better than Arteta.
              Emery was given pretty good backing even if one is to accept that there were some limits to his influence. Arteta’s backing has improved over time.
              We cannot be certain that Emery would have done better than Arteta if given more time. I would suggest that he would have been able to stabilise things but there is no guarantee that he would have turned Arsenal into title contenders.

              1. David, not sure how Emery performed better than MA?

                13 games played in a season we dropped to 8th, Emery was sacked.

                13 games played next season, we dropped to 15th, MA was allowed to continue.

                15th is a bigger and more rapid drop than 8th right? That’s how Emery despite doing better than MA was sacked. Or is 15th better than 8th? Or should we cloud the comparison by including other subjective factors to suit the anti Emery narrative?

                Yes no one can guarantee that Emery can turn us into title contenders. That’s why I said that unless AndersS has a Time Machine how can he claimed that it’s factual (akin a guarantee) that Emery would not have done better given more time.

                You are not ok when others claim that Emery can do better with more time, but fine when AndersS claim that it’s factual that Emery would not have done better given time. Why? Selective reasoning?

        2. NYG
          He went unbeaten for quite sometime. You’d think the players would be happy that this was the case.
          Do you not wonder why such a squad would collapse the way they did?? When it was easier to get back into the top 4 they disappeared down the plug hole. Swiftly followed by THE loss which you appear not to consider appalling considering that was our only route back to CL football and Chelsea had already secured a place.
          Funnily enough, Arteta managed to win an FA Cup with pretty much the same team that Emery had and yet almost every man and his dog really rate Emery and blame his tenure at Arsenal on extraneous issues. Arteta according to many, got lucky. …. Jus sayin…😊

  20. Come on now Guardiola came in 2016 and the point was it was one thing to beat Manchester United which Arsene did on a smaller budget but look at what has happened since Pep got City rolling they are almost unbeatable. I also gave credit to Arsene all I am saying it has only gotten harder to compete and will get worse unless City, Newcastle and Chelsea are somehow restricted by regulations. It is harder to make top four in this era and the Glazers are doing everyone a favor by not selling to another oil barren with unlimited funds. Again the point was the Kroenkes and many of us fans think MIkel is doing a fine job and is still at just the early stage of his career. Like others said he is not without faults but for me he has the potential to be the best. Looking at how the Kroenkes have won championships in two other sports albeit in America; the long road approach they take may still bear fruit. At some point they may make a change but I feel they invested in a young manager to give time to develop but we will see.

    1. A ridiculous article which lacks substance. Every manager makes mistakes and decisions that are contentious. Those are not reasons to replace the manager.
      Suggesting that we should replace the manager because “change is good” is completely illogical.
      The author seems to believe that Arteta has taken Arsenal as far as he can based on nothing but personal bias.

  21. I don’t understand football fans who moans and groans at every turn. Arsenal is 2nd in the league and qualified into CL knockouts as 1st place finish. We are playing a sport not against bots or sticks planted into the football field. We are playing against other football team consists human players, human manager and human fans. Did you think the opponents are gonna just lay down for us if we have the best players, best tactics or best manager? Do you think the opponents won’t figure out a way to beat us, even if we have the perfect setup? Buying a goal scoring striker would mean opponents will just mark him out. Buying a physical monster would mean technical players will run circles around him while technical players will get bullied as well. The factor of fatigue, passion, stadium, spectators and referees also factor in the results. That’s why it’s the most watched live show on earth. Credit to Arteta for creating such an unpredictable team with fine combination of order and chaos. Now the current players will need time to adjust physically, tactically and technically to this system.

  22. In my opinion Arteta is still on an upward trajectory. He will get better and the team will get better as the young players will also improve. Neither of which guarantee anything, the landscape of the premiership remains competitive and the teams like Chelsea and Utd will be back. I am not always happy with Arteta’s decisions but IMO he gets more right than wrong. For the time being I believe we are still progressing under Arteta. I rate Emery, but his current success does not turn my head or question my faith in Arteta.

  23. Just take a look at Erik and Eddie with equally big projects and Conte’s spurs also, flying start without properly putting thing in place first for a successfull long term project. I reckon Mikel is the right man for us, not knowing that at this stage of his ever improving process is………well, i’d rather not say as they’re an armchair manager anyway.

  24. The first time Arteta was appointed the manager of Arsenal FC I must say I was not impressed, u felt we could have done better, but i see some positive effect last season and this season. There are lots of things Arteta improved in this Arsenal team. Trophies would definitely come, that I Believe

  25. Putting aside the pro Arteta or Wenger mentality, this article does present some valid points, but the timing of it is widely off the mark.

    This would be a great post mortem piece at the end of the season if we fall below expectations, but not in the middle of the season when we should be hoping the manager can still improve on any inadequacies

  26. Agree with the Author. To progress further Arteta has to learn to utilize the resources in efficient manner. He can not just throw the money for every player. He has to use and develop academy players.

  27. I believe Arteta continues to have untapped potential in guiding our team, but the true test lies in whether he acknowledges his shortcomings and addresses them before we risk slipping out of the top 4. Time will be the ultimate judge.

  28. You were never going to be popular with this post but there is a lot there that I agree with Nabeel. Speaking for myself, I’m still sitting on the fence. There are times when I also believe that Arteta has reached his peak at Arsenal and top four will be as good as it gets, however this is only half the time. Looking at the squad, I see Rice, Saka,Saliba, Odegaard and Martinellii. And IF Smith Rowe can stay fit, then there is a lot to work with and hope that Arteta can build on this. An Italian manager could win the title with these players at the core. But, Arteta I’m not sure. His over coaching from the sidelines, over reliance on centre halves and his or Edu’s poor judgement on players’ abilities sometimes leave me wondering if he has it in him to succeed this time round. Like most fence sitters, we’ll have a clearer picture by January.

  29. One very important point from this article that I agree with and have been concerned about is what seems like Arteta’s inability to develop and incorporate players from the club’s academy.
    We’ve seen the likes of Pep and Klopp not only develop top academy players but have found a way to incorporate them into their teams in recentyears. Even Ten Haag at United have made 2 or 3 additions from the academy this season (just look at that Mainoo boy).
    For Arteta it’s rather buy, buy and buy. And this leaves a huge risk for the club.

  30. I am more optimist with MA, than pessimist. Before critiquing MA, we must remember that many clubs have become more competitive than the earlier era, or you can say the Wenger era. This league is at its best (in terms of competitiveness. Even Cheilleni said the top of Seria A is at the level of West Ham). Across all positions, clubs are spending more and more. The league has gone a notch up. That demands more spending to remain competitive. Historically, as compared to other big spenders we are not ruthless like Chelsea, City or United. Even Liverpool went big in Alisson and Van Djik. We only bought a super star player in Rice in MA’s period so far. And during this time, we have developed young players to bonafide stars in Saka, Martinelli, Saliba. That’s a great job done by MA. He did make occasional mistakes, which is understandable for a young manager like MA. May be an experienced coach should assist him. We really don’t know what all is happening inside the clubs, and many conditions and factors which bind the hands of a manager. Yet, what I feel the biggest achievement in MA’s tenure so far is the feeling that we will compete and will not be assaulted by big clubs. That security was missing, even during the later stage of Wenger’s era. And we are also forgetting that we are competing in an era of juggernaut (world class manager + state backed money). So, we must consider all these factors before making any comparison.

    Nb: Atleast we should win one trophy (either PL/UCL) as MA completes 4 years. For similar comparison, Klopp won UCL on his 4th year. And he should incorporate more academy players, like he did with Saka, Nelson, Martinelli, Smith Rowe.

  31. Yet we payed super star fees for Harvetz and the still untried Timber? Also are you saying that we should be satisfied with Arteta as long as he keeps us in the top four? As to Chellini’s statement that the top team in Italy is only as good as West Ham, yes thats probably true on a player for player comparison. However three Italian clubs have qualified into the next round of Champions league even with their mish mash squads of veterans, rejects and other odds and ends. And Milan only missed out on goal difference in the group of death. The secret of course is having managers who are tactically alert and know how to get the best of the players they have been dealt.

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