April 20 – Liverpool’s 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United has kept attention focused on whether they can achieve the quadruple, or whether Manchester City can secure a double.
While they steal the plaudits and the limelight, supporters of Arsenal will be wondering, again, why it is all going wrong under Mikel Arteta who is heading to the end of his third season at Arsenal. The question is, will he be there for a fourth, despite the trust shown to him by the club’s ownership?
Liverpool and Manchester United are well ahead of the pack in every respect, and Chelsea are close to them. They are where Arsenal used to be. The game against Chelsea tonight could be a defining moment for Arteta.
A win could be seen to be justification for the faith management have put in him. A fourth straight loss in the Premier League may provide the best opportunity for the ownership to show him the door.
In the last two seasons Arteta has led the team to an eighth place finish – no better than his predecessor, Unai Emery, who did not enjoy the patience his fellow Spaniard has has.
It goes without saying that Emery has achieved much more with Villareal after leaving Arsenal, with a Champions League semi final berth booked and having won the Europa League last season.
The Gunners have won just once in the last five matches. All their last three were against opposition Arsenal would be expected to beat. Going forward they have tougher games against serious top four contenders, starting with Chelsea away. Their weak run is the reason the best football tips for today on SportyTrader does not have Arsenal featured among favorites to bag three points.
Arsenal do not have the uncertainties that come with sacking a manager midway through the season. At the start of April, the Gunners were favorites for a top four finish and could even dare think of a third place finish. Things have changed fast.
Arteta has made a series of what now looks like major errors. Releasing key players in January and failing to replace them was akin to going to war with injured soldiers and it has come to haunt him.
Left with a thin squad he created in January as he moved senior players on, he has been badly exposed after just three injuries. Takehiro Tomiyasu has been well replaced by Cedric Soares but Arteta’s options have failed to replace Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney. The players he personally sanctioned to be signed – Albert Lokonga and Nuno Tavares – as backup for Partey and Tierney have been disappointing, and it will hurt that there were better players in the market back then.
Arteta’s handling of Matteo Guendouzi, William Saliba, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil questions his man management skills while his in-game decisions, especially when trailing have too often backfired. While he will take credit for reducing the wage bill significantly, he has not fulfilled the ambition and or desire to return Arsenal to the very level.
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