Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal can be example of patience to Chelsea and Everton


Arsenal may well be sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League but it’s worth remembering they’ve been right down to the bottom and back up again.

The Gunners propped up the table, with zero points from three games, when they were thrashed 5-0 at Manchester City back in August 2021.

Back then, a season-and-a-half into the Mikel Arteta project and signs of progress were non-existent despite huge investment in new players and plenty of patience.

Arsenal were rock bottom of the Premier League when they lost to Man City in August 2021

Quite a few Gunners' supporters were calling on Mikel Arteta to be given the sack back then

Quite a few Gunners’ supporters were calling on Mikel Arteta to be given the sack back then

Many Arsenal fans were calling on the club’s hierarchy to sack Arteta and let someone else have a go in the wake of damaging early season losses to Brentford, Chelsea and City.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the Kroenke family must be so glad they didn’t bow to public pressure.

Despite Premier League finishes of eighth, eighth and fifth, there were just about enough signs of encouragement to give Arteta a passing grade. Winning the FA Cup in his first season helped too.

Now look at them. A first league title since Arsene Wenger’s 2003-04 Invincibles is a distinct possibility if Arsenal hold their nerve during the second half of the season.

There’s a lesson in the Arsenal example to others who are considering pulling the trigger on under-achieving managers.

Arteta was given time and now Arsenal are flying high with a five-point lead at the top

Arteta was given time and now Arsenal are flying high with a five-point lead at the top

Arteta was given time and patience and it's paid off for Arsenal as they chase the title

Arteta was given time and patience and it’s paid off for Arsenal as they chase the title

The Gunners have an excellent chance of winning their first Premier League title since 2004

The Gunners have an excellent chance of winning their first Premier League title since 2004

At the top level, it seems any boss is only three or four bad results away from the sack.

See also  Bruno Fernandes and Pepe accuse referee Facundo Tello of bias after Portugal's defeat by Morocco

Graham Potter is feeling the heat at Chelsea just four months and 18 matches into what he thought was his dream job.

A dismal run of just two wins in nine games seems to only scratch the surface of the problems piling up at Stamford Bridge.

Graham Potter is feeling the heat at Chelsea with fans turning against him

Graham Potter is feeling the heat at Chelsea with fans turning against him

Some supporters have already given up on Potter’s project, chanting the name of his predecessor Thomas Tuchel during Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Man City.

Owner Todd Boehly has backed Potter after this latest setback, not least in the transfer market where the loan signing of Joao Felix is certainly a statement.

Boehly has been careful to distinguish himself from former owner Roman Abramovich, who may easily have handed Potter his P45 by now.

The vote of confidence in the January window will be welcome but it comes with the imperative that results need to improve – and fast.

Potter was never going to be the kind of manager who came in, shook things up and delivered a trophy within a few months.

Rather like Arteta, it was always going to take time to get everything to his satisfaction, potentially two or three years.

Unfortunately, football has become so short-termist that managers are rarely allowed the luxury of time to build something.

But there’s no reason why Potter can’t replicate what Arteta has done across London if left alone to just get one with his job.

Chelsea lost miserably in the FA Cup at Manchester City, piling the pressure on their manager

Chelsea lost miserably in the FA Cup at Manchester City, piling the pressure on their manager 

Owner Todd Boehly must decide whether he wants a short-term fix or to back his manager

Owner Todd Boehly must decide whether he wants a short-term fix or to back his manager 

It may well be that Chelsea have to watch the Champions League – or potentially all European football given they’re presently 10th – from the sidelines for a year as Arsenal did.

See also  European roundup: Union Berlin back on top of Bundesliga after late drama | European club football

The rewards should come once Potter figures out his best system and gets the players he wants to fit into it, rather than making do with the squad he inherited from Tuchel.

Besides, firing Potter so soon would be an admission by Boehly that he messed up in recruiting him from Brighton and that wouldn’t be a good look in the first year of his ownership.

Hiring and firing managers at regular intervals may have paid off for Abramovich in terms of delivering silverware but there’s no guarantee Boehly would be so fortunate.

Over at Everton, Farhad Moshiri has been more than happy to chop and change. Frank Lampard is the seventh full-time manager at Goodison Park since the British-Iranian businessman first bought a stake in early 2016.

Frank Lampard is also under serious pressure at Everton as he leads the top-flight sack race

Frank Lampard is also under serious pressure at Everton as he leads the top-flight sack race

Everton's owner Farhad Moshiri (left) has acquired a reputation for hiring and firing managers

Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri (left) has acquired a reputation for hiring and firing managers

Despite putting plenty of credit in the bank by sparing Everton from relegation last season, Lampard finds himself leading the sack race after an eight-match winless streak.

Everton’s fans have not turned on Lampard in the same way Chelsea’s have on Potter, mainly due to the realisation that such a turnover of managers is more indicative of issues behind the scenes.

Fail to pick up a win in their upcoming games against Southampton and West Ham, however, and Lampard could well find himself out of a job barely 12 months after replacing Rafa Benitez.

Everton’s ownership should also look to the example of Arteta and Arsenal. If Lampard rescued the team from relegation once, there’s every reason he can do it again and they can hopefully kick on from there.

It was never going to be straightforward this season following the sale of star player Richarlison and injuries to the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin have decimated their goal threat.

While it is clear that some of the players signed over the summer, notably Neal Maupay just don’t look up to the task, Everton’s scattergun recruitment over the best part of a decade now means this is hardly Lampard’s fault.

Football is full of sliding doors moments and it’s tempting to speculate on what might have happened if a club had kept faith with a manager.

Arsenal rolled on in the FA Cup after their 3-0 win at League One Oxford United on Monday

Arsenal rolled on in the FA Cup after their 3-0 win at League One Oxford United on Monday

What if David Moyes hadn’t been ditched as Manchester United’s successor to Sir Alex Ferguson after just 10 months? Or if Arsenal had given Unai Emery a bit more time?

But the old adage of football being a results business has never been more true. 

Managers seem to be halfway to the sack before they’ve even taken charge of a game.

It makes Arteta’s success at Arsenal – the product of patience and quiet building – all the more satisfying to see. Chelsea, Everton and others should pay attention.



Source link