EVERYTHING JUST CHANGED – Mikel Arteta, positives, needs and hopes!


Positives, Needs and Hopes

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What have you based your opinion on Mikel Arteta on?


I’ve been coaching for 30 years this January.

I’ve learnt over my years that there is an endless list of qualities in a great coach.

I’ve also learnt that some are deal breakers that should instantly rule you out.


Manchester City managers Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta during the training session at the City Football Academy, Manchester. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 30, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Man City. Photo credit should read: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire

Mikel Arteta has never been a head coach. This is a very real concern.

Is this a deal breaker though?

Some coaches need experience to be a success. Some don’t. Some have to start small before they go big. Some don’t.


I put ‘lack of being head coach’ on the scales and all the pieces of the job that could become issues because of this.

On the other side, I put the following…

arteta 0

3 year a winner

1) He’s experienced 3 years of what it takes to be a modern-day winner.

This is exactly what every Arsenal fan hopes for.

2) If ‘he just put the cones out for Pep’ includes turning many good City players into great ones, regularly leading and taking the whole session at City and being the first assistant coach to be allowed to coach games (at one of the top 5 teams in Europe), then I’m pumped that he’s going to ‘put the cones out’ at Colney.

3) That he dreamed of playing for Arsenal, did it, was captain and was so impressive that Wenger allowed him to run sessions during his last season.

Don’t we all want someone who cares about Arsenal?

Isn’t that the campaign? We want someone who is in it for the right reasons, right?

4) He must be bubbling over with motivation.

Sitting next to success for 3 years, learning but not having the opportunity to be the main man must cause so much excitement when you finally get the chance.

This may be obvious but when looking at contenders like Ancelotti I think people forget to wonder why he wants to come to Arsenal at his age and after winning everything everywhere.

If he’s highly motivated and doesn’t see at as ‘just another job,’ then maybe, but I’m not convinced. Much like Allegri in 2017, I don’t think he’s motivated. More like they would be doing us a favour.

5) So many coaches are successful if they have a certain type of team. If they can play 4-3-1-2. If they have winners. If they have hundreds of millions.

I get the strong impression that Arteta is a fixer.

Fixes players. Fixes game situations.

Have you ever observed him on the bench? Not just is he constantly communicating to Guardiola, but you can see that he is listened to.


Arsenal fans may not know that we do this, but I think we have ‘Boulditis.’

An assistant that didn’t help or wasn’t allowed to.


Not allowed to coach

We wonder what that guy could bring as he (literally) just put out cones and was shut down every time he showed what he could do.

Arteta isn’t Bould hence why he was demoted rather than now coaching Chelsea.

Wenger wasn’t Pep. One delegates, the other felt threatened.


My pulse on the fanbase’s wishes was that most would’ve chosen Pochettino.

If that’s the case, then they must really, really value him especially as he’s the ex-Spurs coach, right?

So, if you respect Pochettino read his take on Mikel Arteta…. “He has the capacity to be one of the greatest coaches in football.”


Arguably the most revolutionary and best coach of all time, Pep Guardiola, not only hand picked him but gave him more responsibility than any other assistant coach I can ever remember, and the alternative choice to coach the players was Pep!


As fellow GT writer @BigJimmy_V said the other day, “City didn’t see Arteta as a risk.”

I think that Mikel Arteta will prove to be the best decision in the Emirates era.




* There is a part of the game that is largely ignored by the masses as they don’t get to see it, they can’t touch it and in the emotion of it all they don’t consider it or care about it…. coaching.


When I watch Arsenal, I see an unbalanced yet largely talented group with some glaring, spinal holes.

I’ve always felt that throwing around terms like ‘he’s not good enough’ is often done without the thought that maybe with practice and the correct advice the player could be much better.


I remember Raheem Sterling at Liverpool. He was good but he was also considered to be somewhat of a meme, before memes.

He is now considered to be one of the Top 10 players in World Football as he has greatly improved and most importantly, he is consistent.

Arsenal have players like Raheem Sterling. Good players with high ceilings.

Bellerin, Tierney, AMN, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette, Torreira, plus all of the younger players.

They are either technically very good or athletically very good. A list of 7/10 players that could be 9/10 players.


Arsenal’s model is coach not manager. I think we may now have one of the best modern coaches in world football who could do what he did for Sterling to those above.

* The fact that Arteta wanted assurances gives me great hope. He had the chance to coach Lyon, Newcastle and Everton plus the option to be a contender to replace Pep at City. This makes me believe that we must be serious about turning the club around.

I know it’s more fashionable to bash the club but whether it’s intentionally or by accident, I believe they’ve hit gold.


* The main point that hit me from Arteta’s interview with in 2016 was that he wasn’t interested in players that aren’t fully committed.


Mix this with the shock he will experience at the difference in work ethic from City to Arsenal, I feel sure we will have a big change in what is the most important request of the British fan…. putting in a shift.

Players that don’t, won’t play or will be sold quickly, I suspect.

I’m thinking that by the beginning of next season Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz, Mustafi, Sokratis and maybe AMN, won’t be at Arsenal.




* That those behind the scenes trust Arteta’s transfer ideas.

This is my main source of concern.

He has seen the highest level and I bet he knows better than anyone at Arsenal what he needs.

My understanding was that Emery wanted N’Zonzi, Banega and Zaha not Torreira, Ceballos and Pepe.

No point arguing right now about those players, but it concerns me that the transfer committee aren’t giving the players that the coach asks for especially if they are reasonable asks.

Perhaps they saw no re-sell value in N’Zonzi and Banega which is fair as we had almost nobody last summer with resell value. Maybe the Zaha thing was a simple ‘payments decision?’

I just know how frustrated I’d be if I found a guy I really wanted, knew he’d fix my issues, wanted to play for me and then I was given another guy by people who know less than me.


* The fans must understand that there will be two clear phases to Arteta’s reign.

Firstly, how we play with this set of players. I’m sure that we don’t have the players he wants to play the way he wants to.

Secondly, that the fans will not overly judge what he is capable of before he has the right type of player to fulfil his potential as a coach.




* That he will bring back Santi Cazorla.

Why? Isn’t that going backwards?

I’d bring him back for four reasons.

Remember the energy in the Emirates when Henry returned?

Does the Emirates need a dose of happiness?

Secondly, in the short term he brings the technical security that Arteta could build his philosophy on until he can get the player he wants.

We will sell Xhaka as he’s hit his ceiling and he’s still not what is needed. We have little experience in our midfield and no leadership.

Lastly, with a view to Santi joining the coaching staff.


Bring back Santi

For those that worry about his injury and age, since he’s been back in Spain he has played regularly and got back into the Spanish squad. He wasn’t exactly fading when he left Arsenal either.

* Just a guess, but I can imagine that if Arteta fancies taking another winger with a high ceiling and making him world class like Sane and Sterling, I think he will like the look of Adama Traore.


* I hope the club don’t put pressure on Arteta to achieve top four.

If they do then he may have to compromise his beliefs like Emery did and end up playing Ozil and Xhaka etc…, when they don’t deserve it. This would in turn compromise what he’s trying to get the players to change.


This is a big deal.


Lampard looks like he’s been given a season and is therefore making bold decisions and making progress in performance and results. Arteta needs the same.




Feeling secure is important to fans.

We don’t really know what goes on at clubs. We all make assumptions based on our eyes and research and of course the public show of the game itself.

Many fans wanted a ‘bigger name’ probably because of how it would make them feel secure.

I remember when Cesc Fabregas started for Arsenal at 16. No experience, just potential.

I remember how I felt when we sold Vieira to accommodate the one with little experience. Although I appreciated Cesc’s obvious talent I felt secure with Vieira.


If the club support Arteta like they should have when we had Cesc, then maybe we will realize that when Barcelona come knocking for Arteta, like they did Fabregas, that we did the right thing.

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5 Responses to EVERYTHING JUST CHANGED – Mikel Arteta, positives, needs and hopes!

  1. Omar El-kilany December 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Mike, excellent read nothing unusual in that from you, I notice I tend to agree with everything you write, I feel we’re both on the same page :))

  2. Andy December 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm #

    Getting rid of the Primadonnas was one of the first things George Graham did. They had underperformed for years. The second was building a rock solid defence. Arteta will need to do the same if he has any chance of success.

    I don’t doubt his credentials or his drive, just wonder whether he will be allowed the time to change the team and stamp his authority

  3. Mike McDonald December 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm #

    Thanks so much for your kind words and comments!

    The defence will get fixed but we may have to wait to sell to properly fix

  4. Lari03 December 19, 2019 at 5:06 pm #

    Nice one Mike, I agree with bringing Santi back, I would also like Mhikitaryan and Elneny to return in the interim.

    Recruitment is where we have had a major issue, buying poor players, neglecting British performers and splashing instead on Pepe who was EPL unproven. I expect the club to make better purchases in agreement with the coach.

    Now that Liverpool are keen on Minamino, we should buy Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth because of his work rate and crosses. And also, get some more British talent into midfield and fullback positions.

  5. Lou Parker December 19, 2019 at 5:11 pm #

    Wow finally a well thought through facts based breakdown of this situation. Buy yourself a drink good sir & cheers to more hopeful times ahead!

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