Taking over at Arsenal was always going to be a struggle for any manager, so with no experience, Mikel Arteta faces a steep challenge. The transition out of the Arsene Wenger era hasn’t gone as smoothly as fans had hoped, with the appointment of Unai Emery only serving to put the club in a worse position than they were previously.
The first step in turning the sinking ship around is bringing the players on board, players that are currently creating a very volatile locker room atmosphere. Only a man who is well respected by the players will be able to make that turnaround and that’s exactly where new manager Mikel Arteta will face his first challenge.
The key struggle for Arteta in his attempt to win the favour of the players is his lack of previous managerial experience. Since his retirement as a player he has worked as a part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff, however the Arsenal role is the first time he has sat in the top seat. Inheriting a group of players that clearly had little respect or love for their previous manager and made little to no attempt to improve their play under an interim manager only goes to deepen the troubles.
Arteta has recently admitted that he’s attempting to ‘convince’ Arsenal players on his preferred style of play, as he attempts to inject a little more tempo and aggression into his side.
“First I think I need the players and if I convince the players after we can convince the fans, but, yes, I think it [a strong connection with the fans] is a very important part of the job. I think energy is everything in life, in football and sport, if we are able to generate this it will give us a lift.
I was really pleased with how the fans treated the players and I was happy that the players went to see the fans after the game as well because we need that connection. Slowly, we need to build that back to what it was because it is going to be very powerful for us to use that.”
Arteta needs to stamp his authority
The upshot for Arteta is he has a few players in the dressing room that were part of the squad while he was still a player, while he was a leader for Arsenal. That message could begin to trickle down from the top and so long as Arteta impresses the players with his coaching style and demeanour in his first few weeks in charge, things could begin to look a little more positive.
If Arsenal can begin to see some positive results, string together a couple of wins in a row, things could start to look different for the North London side. As the wins come the players will once again begin to grow in confidence however they’ll also develop a confidence in their coach and in the system they’re playing in. That will be a big turning point for the club.
However, on the flip side, it could also be disastrous for the club if things don’t play out in the way that the board are hoping. Arteta has the potential to be a saviour for Arsenal if he can begin to turn things around, it won’t be a quick or easy process but with him in charge it is possible. The issue is, if he fails to get the players on board quickly, he may never get the chance to implement his style and could be gone by the end of the season.
The Arsenal job used to be one of the most coveted in the country, yet now it seems to be one of the most toxic.