I watched Arsenal vs Burnley with someone who rarely watches football and knows nothing of Arsenal, so, as I found myself explaining how Arsenal had got to a place that had me calling them idiots every 15 seconds, a number of things seemed to make themselves clear.
When Unai Emery was sacked and Mikel Arteta arrived, the players were clearly delighted.
That was evidenced in our performances on the pitch, victories over top teams and the addition of two trophies to the Arsenal cabinet.
But since the trophies were collected and the new season got underway, Arsenal’s form has gradually got worse. If we were to represent it in gif form, I believe this would be a close approximation of how it would look:
Or, to put it another way:
That’s not supposed to be how it happens.
Sure, we all know about ‘new manager bounce’ but what we saw from the Arsenal players wasn’t that. It was a team actually trying. It was a team that cared. It was a team that had decided to leave idiocy, as much as they could, on the sidelines.
12 months on from Arteta’s appointment, it’s safe to say we all expected that Arsenal would have improved immensely. I don’t think anyone bet on us being 15th in the league having just lost our fourth home game in a row for the first time since 1959.
We’ve never lost five, so that let’s you know how the game against Southampton will go. This is still 2020, after all
Writing on Monday in football.london, Charles Watts makes a number of claims. It’s clear he’s being given information from someone close to the situation, although who that is we can only speculate. Watts is not someone like John Cross. We can be confident that he has indeed been given this information.
But how many of the claims stand up?
David Luiz and Mikel Arteta no longer speak to each other
Both camps have denied this and there is no real reason for the fall-out given. Luiz, as we know, doesn’t lack the confidence to say what he believes. Perhaps he believes he made a mistake signing for another year at Arsenal for £120kpw.
Many players have ‘mentally clocked out’
This I can believe although I’d have to ask how many of the player that have clocked out actually clocked in in the first place.
Mesut Ozil and Sokratis being left out of the official squad caused problems in the dressing room
It’s claimed that their omission has never been explained to the squad and that I can believe 100% because it probably wasn’t.
In terms of Ozil, we’ve had mutterings about ‘footballing reasons’ from a manager who was quite happy to pick him regularly before the German annoyed the club by asking for evidence the club had lost money when we were only just at the start of the pandemic and the club could have no way of knowing how much money it would lose.
As for Sokratis, we never got any sort of explanation about him at all.
Ozil is well liked by the squad and our inability to create chances would be solved instantly by returning him to it.
Not being clear with the squad about why decisions are being made would cause problems for sure. If the club can do that to Ozil and Sokratis, while also shipping Guendouzi to Berlin and Torreira to Atletico Madrid’s bench, the players must all be thinking ‘what might they do to me?’.
Arteta doesn’t like William Saliba because he’s an Unai Emery signing
I’m not quite sure that Arteta doesn’t like Saliba, more that he doesn’t rate him which is peculiar. We followed him closely on loan last season and while, of course, Ligue 1 is not the Premier League, let’s not pretend like Arsenal are anything special right now.
His treatment has been peculiar. Saliba is a player with significantly more experience than a lot of the youngsters being used this season and it is not at all clear why there was no space for him in the Europa League at least. Are we going to say Dundalk, Molde and Rapid Vienna are better than the sides Saint-Etienne faced on a weekly basis in France?
If it was simply a case of Saliba being an Emery signing then why would Arteta bring Dani Ceballos back?
Several agents of first team players briefed the media of the fight between Dani Ceballos and David Luiz
I don’t care.
When they fight it’s a problem, when they don’t fight it’s a problem. Stop making everything a problem.
The Arsenal ownership are concerned over Arteta’s ability to manage relationships to the required level with players
This could be the one that undoes Arteta in the end.
Is it Arteta’s ability or the club getting in his way? It’s one thing being a leader when you’re down among the players, it’s quite another being at the very top.
Matteo Guendouzi has been exiled because of one little outburst at Brighton and an unauthorised trip, but Arteta is not the first manager to have an issue with the precocious midfielder.
Then again, Willian was allowed to swan off to Dubai, breaking Covid restrictions under the guise of ‘essential business’ and hardly a thing was said about it which does seem to point to there being different rules for different players and that is just a problem in the making.
Mesut Ozil’s situation certainly seems to be coming from above Arteta’s head so I can’t say that is anything to do with his ability to ‘manage’ the German.
Granit Xhaka is still a moron so no progress has been made there.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a poor choice for captain and is shrinking rapidly under the weight of it. So far, Arteta has not been able to give the forward the tools he needs to deal with that.
All players have to be held to the same standards and they have to see it as well. What is Emile Smith Rowe thinking as he watches Granit Xhaka spunk away yet another chance at Arsenal? How many mistakes do you think ESR would get, if he ever gets a start in the league, before he’s yanked from the team?
Humans, generally, don’t like unfairness and when it’s spotted in a group situation, it causes resentments to fester.
I don’t know Arteta. I don’t know what he’s like when he’s speaking to the players or how he manages them.
I do know he needs to work out something fast because whatever he’s doing is making it worse and it’s feeding itself.
There won’t be much left to salvage if this goes on much longer.