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Is Mikel Arteta the right man to replace Emery?

Arsenal has appointed Arteta as their new manager on a three and a half year contract. The former Man City Assistant Coach succeeds Unai Emery after his sacking in November. The former Arsenal midfielder retired from playing in June 2016 and was appointed as one of Pep Guardiola’s assistant coaches at Man City, helping the club to win back to back Premier League titles.

Is the appointment a risk?

Mikel Arteta was a great player, but he has no experience as a manager. It is a massive gamble by Arsenal because they initially needed to appoint an experienced manager who could make a positive impact on the squad and results. From the way the team is playing, he needs to make big decisions. He will have to upset certain players one way or the other. It will be challenging to get the right balance between upsetting a player and leaving them out while trying to keep them on his side. It will be tough to do since that was one of the reasons behind the sacking of Unai Emery. The former Arsenal player has never managed a team before, and the big questions are what he can bring to the table, and can he help Arsenal dig out of their current hole? If he can bring a bit of the Man City winning culture to Arsenal, then he might succeed, but the difference is that Man City is a spending club while Arsenal is not. The owners will need to back him when the transfer window opens financially. The Arsenal job looks like a rebuilding one with every position in the team, with the exception of the forward line in need of strengthening. His first priority would be to fix the team’s leaking defense, but it seems unlikely it will be done instantly. The Arsenal defense has been one of the positions a lot more experience managers like Emery, who is a three-time UEFA Europa league winner, had tried but failed to find a solution to their vulnerability. The appointment of Pep Guardiola by Spanish giants, Barcelona in 2008, was considered back then as a huge gamble. Pep’s only coaching experience was with the Barcelona team B, but he won the treble and proved himself as one of the greatest managers of the modern era, so the fans of the Gunners can take inspiration from that and hope this gamble will pay off.

What will Arteta bring to Arsenal?

Mikel Arteta is an intelligent and promising coach. He has worked under Guardiola and has gained a lot of knowledge from him and has the wisdom of Guardiola at his fingertips. It is, therefore, no surprise that Guardiola rates him very highly. One positive thing Arteta will bring is the possession game, how to press well and help the team to defend as a unit.  He won the premier league twice, the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield at Man City as an assistant coach. The arrival of Arteta can bring a fresh breath of air to the team. He will also inject new life and modern ideas into the team and may also bring the best out of Nicolas Pepe, who has underperformed since joining the club in the summer. He could also help Mesut Ozil to regain his form since he is still Arsenal’s most creative midfielder. Arteta also has an emotional link to the club, and he understands the core values of the club. He is an excellent educator, a motivator, and can send his message across to the players to help instill team intelligence, which is quite non-existent in the Arsenal team.

What next for Arteta and Arsenal?

Arteta has inherited a team that is currently lying 11th on the Premier League table with five wins, five losses and eight draws after 18 matches and are nine points adrift of a place in the top four. Arsenal will travel to Bournemouth on boxing before hosting Chelsea on Sunday. Arteta needs to start his reign with a win to help him challenge for the European slot. The Arsenal job is too big for Arteta at the moment. He needs the backing of the board and the fans to help him succeed, and with time we will see his fingerprints on the team.


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