A grim period in the modern history of Arsenal Football Club ended yesterday with the appointment of Mikel Arteta as head coach.
The arrival of Arteta immediately injected energy into the club. Whether that transmits to the players at Everton is another matter.
If they paid heed to his words, then most certainly it will. In Arteta’s Arsenal, there will be no room for shirkers and we certainly have a squad full of them.
“I don’t want people hiding. I want people taking responsibility for the job. Anybody that doesn’t buy into this is not good enough for this environment or culture.”
Radio Silence from the club in recent weeks meant stories of discontent leaked with the highest paid flops “deciding” their futures. Either that or their brother(s) were dismissing the new head coach. No experience apparently means a lack of ambition.
As is always the case, introspection about their own individual and collective performances is in short supply. Judgement Day is now upon them: they shape up or ship out. We’re going to see a huge turnover of staff in the coming months.
The contrast with Everton in that respect could not be starker. Duncan Ferguson hasn’t blinded anyone with science. It’s all about determination and energy. Ljungberg never got that response because our squad is too shallow mentally.
Arteta noted that last weekend, observing that the lack of energy and general malaise troubled him. From the outside, he caught a glimpse of the problems ahead. Disjointed tactics and players who don’t fit into any scheme.
The major task, he noted, was clarity, consistency and ruthlessness: the three c’s.
Mikel, Ma Belle
So, why the change in my views on Arteta as head coach? I only had one reservation which was experience or the lack of it as a head coach.
This is something he cannot overcome so has to work around. Being mentored by Pep, the outstanding coach of his generation, offsets that to a degree. And as I contemplated my naval this week, I wondered if experience is all it is cracked up to be.
Arteta isn’t a manager, he’s head coach. Two different roles and his experience as #2 at City is as good a fit as any. Equally, in football terms, experience means a track record of failure. Only the very elite coaches haven’t been axed at one point or another during their careers.
A lack of experience on this occasion also hides that we don’t know what to expect from him. No track record, you see, so no history and uncomfortable shuffling around.
A pointer: Unai Emery was experienced and created this sh*tshow. You don’t have to fear the unknown.
On the positive side, his embracing of data and analytics is refreshing given our half-arsed usage of them previously. Equally, he talked enthusiastically about every aspect of energy and dynamism at his press conference. That enthusiasm lifted my spirits more than any match has this season.
He talked the talk, having produced the one-hand in pocket confident walk previously. Power rested naturally on his shoulders.
There’s naturally caution to be worn on our sleeves. Anyone who thinks we’ll play like City in a matter of days is going to be disappointed. And clearly hasn’t watched Arsenal over the last three months. We’re in preseason training for next August; anything better than mid-table and we’re in dreamland.
Long live the king!
Now, You FECers Over There
Which celebratory mood is dampened by astonishingly poor performance of the club’s FEC in this whole matter. From taking a week to implement the decision to remove Emery from his post through leaving Freddie with two coaches to train a first-team, they have failed the club at every turn.
It’s not good enough and in all honesty, instead of patting themselves on the back, they should be questioning whether they are fit for the roles they supposedly fulfil.
Corporate governance has been weak at Arsenal for more than a decade and the lack of scrutiny manifested in their dumping Freddie out on a limb and hiding in the shadows as it all kicked off.
The Arsenal Football Club deserves better than these charlatans.
Finally, a word on Freddie. RESPECT. Nothing more, nothing less. Crapped on, he maintained his dignity. Thank you.
Enjoy the inevitable defeat at Goodison Park wherever you are watching it.