The 2022 Qatar World Cup has caused a lot of misery for a lot of clubs, but for Mikel Arteta, the problems seem to be mounting up by the day, with even the positives seeming to turn into negatives.
Remaining England players have now returned
One positive is the return of the England players.
With England going out to France, Arteta will now have his remaining England players back from Gareth Southgate’s squad. But at this late stage, they will have to hit the ground running if they are to be ready for Boxing Day when the Gunners take on West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.
England’s elimination has seen their conquerors France, who were already the favourites after Brazil went out, become even shorter in the latest World Cup winner odds. They are now just 11/10 to win the competition and retain the trophy they won in Russia four years ago. But given how successful the Moroccans have been in knocking out top European sides, they can’t take the African nation lightly.
For Arteta, getting the remaining English contingent back a week earlier than they might have been has to be a positive, and it’s a much-welcome positive for him given he must have been dreading every game after the news that Gabriel Jesus is going to be out injured for the next few months.
Jesus loss is a massive blow for the Gunners
The goals from Jesus may have dried up slightly before he departed for Qatar (none in his last six in the Premier League).
But Jesus was still an integral part of Arteta’s team, and his five goals earlier in the season got the Gunners up and running, which have played a huge role in getting Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table.
Arsenal have revealed that Gabriel Jesus has had surgery on the knee injury he picked up playing for Brazil at the World Cup.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) December 6, 2022
His loss will also have thrown a huge spanner in the works of the January transfer window plans.
The success of Matt Turner could lead to more headaches for Arteta
If the loss of Jesus wasn’t bad enough, the idea that even World Cup positives are becoming negatives will be a source of further frustration for Arteta. Brad Friedel has advised Matt Turner to leave, stating that he is too good to sit on the bench at the Emirates. This comes on the back of some assured performances in the World Cup by Turner, particularly in the group stages, where the only goal he conceded was from a Gareth Bale penalty.
As was shown in the case of Emiliano Martínez, it’s extremely difficult to keep a top-quality number two keeper sitting on the bench for a length of time. The eyes of the world have just been on Turner and they can’t have failed to have been impressed with his assured performances between the posts for the USMNT.
This could end up being one of those issues that is out of Arteta’s hands. If a top-quality European club comes in with a bid for the keeper in January, and Turner wants to leave, Arteta may be forced to reluctantly grant his wish.
Official, confirmed. Matt Turner joins Arsenal as new backup goalkeeper, deal completed. ⚪️🔴🇺🇸 #AFC
Arteta said: “Matt is an experienced goalkeeper who will bring high quality to our squad – he was great in MLS”.
Next official announcement: Gabriel Jesus. pic.twitter.com/CMGvEUx6jj
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 27, 2022
Although, at the moment, the former New England Revolution shot-stopper seems to be the undisputed number-one keeper in the US squad, meaning he might be in no rush to leave. Until that situation changes, Turner may be more content to sit on the bench, as opposed to seeking pastures new.
It might not feel like it to Arteta at the moment, but if Turner becomes in demand, it’s a sign that things are going well at the club.
Ultimately, the World Cup is almost over now, and for Arteta, that can’t come soon enough.