Mikel Arteta still has major work to do at Arsenal
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Despite Sunday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta still has major work to do with the club from north London. It was never going to be an easy job. The Spaniard was always going to need time.
A mixed start so far in the Premier League
The former Manchester City assistant coach has enjoyed a mixed start to life as the boss of the north London giants. A record of four wins from 11 outings in all competitions is not exactly a dream transformation. The fact that he has claimed wins in just two of his nine Premier League games in charge is concerning.
To be fair to Arteta, six of his nine matches in charge of the Gunners have finished in draws, so all was not lost. However, the draws could prove costly at the end of the season, as Arsenal are currently just six points behind fifth-place Tottenham.
With Manchester City facing a two-ban from the Champions League, fifth-place suddenly becomes the last spot for qualification to Europe’s elite competition. If the Gunners had won just a few of those drawn games, then they would be right in the fight for the Champions League spots. Instead, they are currently 10th place in the table, the same position they occupied on Arteta’s appointment.
The atmosphere has changed under Arteta
It seems that Arteta has the backing of everybody at the north London club. The fact that he was a relatively successful captain with the Gunners has no doubt helped him earn slightly more patience than if he had no association with the club.
The fans and players seem to be happier with Arteta, than when his compatriot Unai Emery was in charge. Reports suggest that the players are buying into the Spaniard’s coaching methods and he is getting more out of certain players.
Mercurial German playmaker Mesut Ozil even seems to have rediscovered some of the form that once made him one of the most productive attacking players in the European game. The 31-year-old scored against Newcastle to end a run of 10 months with a goal.
It was always going to take time and hard work for Arteta to instil his ideas into the Gunners players. There are small signs that the Spaniard is moving his team forward, such as the fact that they are much harder to beat. In recent weeks they have also looked a lot more solid in defence than under Emery.
Outsiders for a top-six spot
There is a greater sense of optimism at Arsenal. The gap to fifth-place is certainly bridgeable. The problem for the Gunners is that they have not been winning enough games of late and have major competition for a European spot. The whole of the top-half will fancy their chances of a top-six or even top-four finish.
The Gunners are currently outsiders at odds of 9/2 to finish in the top-six. If those odds materialise, it would mean that Arsenal would finish eighth or ninth, depending on the bookmaker you use for the bet.
While nothing spectacle has happened since Arteta’s appointment. There seems to be a sense around the club that the Spaniard has what it takes to move the club forward in the near future. He still has major work to do to get the Gunners back to the top and only time will tell if he has the managerial acumen to achieve the task.
Are there signs of improvement at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta?