It would be impossible to label Arsenal’s performance at Everton as anything other than ‘limp’ and that might be considered generous. Whilst much of the Arsenal fanbase might lay the blame for the team’s lack ambition, particularly when his team takes the lead, at Mikel Arteta’s door, there is no evidence the Spaniard is under any pressure. A cursory glance at the online betting sites, and there are many new sites recently appearing on Helpbet reveal that the young Arsenal coach is still not among the favourites to be relieved of his duties. Ironically it is the man responsible for inflicting the defeat, Rafa Benitez who has the shortest odds.
There are good reasons why the bookies and the football world feel Arteta is safe at present. Firstly, (and Per Mertesacker, the Academy Director confirmed this to the Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting on Tuesday), is that the club are focused on a medium term project and are aware there will be bumps on the road. This is because the financial restrictions mean that there will not be another major splashing of cash like there was last summer and the model is to blend homegrown talented youth with the new core Arteta and Edu have brought in. The Board at the club accept that with a talented but young inexperienced team, consistency will not be delivered straight away.
The second – and a key rationale for the club’s hierarchy to keep the faith with their young manager for now – is the general acceptance that his young, exciting creative players need a new striker to convert the chances they will undoubtedly create. We all know that both Lacazette and Nketiah are set to leave the club in June and it is painfully evident that the captain, Aubameyang, is far from the world class striker he was. This leaves Martinelli, who has mostly been used from wide and Balogun who is expected to go on loan in January.
Therefore it seems far more likely that Arteta will be allowed to bring in a new striker in January and the media believe that Edu is chasing Fiorentina’s prolific Serbia striker, Dusan Vlahovic. Reports also suggest the player is keen on a move to the Premier League. Of course, to sell Arsenal without European football currently to one of the hottest young goal scorers will require a sales pitch of a convincing project and plan to return Arsenal to former glories. That too requires a solid and consistent approach to developing the squad, which in turn needs to include a manager a new signing can believe in and knows will be there to see the project through.
In conclusion, the online betting sites have good cause to believe Mikel Arteta is safe in his job, but the fans might need more convincing.
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