The first press conference of Mikel Arteta as an Arsenal manager was fascinating. The Spaniard said all the right things and brought hope to the supporters. He knows that he will need to change the club both in the short and the long-term.
Arteta seems aware of how monumental the task is ahead of his debut against Bournemouth.
Let’s take a look at the five key points he needs to change in Arsenal to be successful.
One of the biggest issues with Arsenal under Unai Emery has been the lack of confidence. The previous manager almost always was focused on the opposition first and often played some of the squad members outside of their best positions.
It didn’t work well and many of the players are now low on confidence. They simply don’t feel comfortable on the pitch and panic at the first sight of trouble.
Arteta needs to find the right approach and make them believe they are good enough.
Many accused Arsene Wenger that he can’t train defense. Well, this part of the game became even worse under Unai Emery. Arsenal has conceded 27 goals this season in only 19 games. That’s not the form of a top side.
Arteta has to found a working formula at the back and this is one of his biggest immediate problems. There are plenty of injuries and Arsenal genuinely lacks quality in this area of the pitch.
And yet, we’ve seen time and time again that discipline and organization can do wonders even for teams with less talented defensive players than Arsenal.
The lack of balance in the middle of the park is affecting both the defense and the attack of Arsenal. The good news for the club is that Arteta was one of the most versatile midfielders in his time as a player.
He knows well how to keep the ball, change the tempo, defend, and push for goals. The question if the Spaniard can find the winning combo.
He has too many limited players. Xhaka is slow, Guendouzi is too raw and Torreira lacks confidence right now. Many of the other squad members in this area are young and one-dimensional.
It will be hard but a working midfield is a must.
Responsibility on All Levels
Most of the problems so far are directly related to the performance on the pitch. This one includes all aspects of the football club and the way it’s managed.
There’s a sense that everyone hides from responsibility. From the silent owner and the missing executives to the players on the pitch.
While Arteta will struggle to change the culture above him, he should be able to install some sense of responsibility in the players and his assistants.
Football is supposed to be fun. Mostly for the fans but also for the players on the pitch. No one that plays for Arsenal or supports the club hasn’t enjoyed the performances this season.
One could argue that the same applies to large periods of the previous campaign as well. The result is a rotten atmosphere on all levels.
Arteta must make Arsenal entertaining again and this was one of the things he highlighted during his first press conference. Arsene Wenger raised the bar in this regard and the former Gunner skipper will be hoping to follow his steps, starting from the match against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.