After yesterday’s 2-0 defeat it seems as if there are a few eyes now focussed on Mikel’s record this season, which currently reads four wins, one draw and six losses in Arsenal’s opening eleven games. Unfortunately the North Londoners haven’t quite seemed to live up to expectations after what looked a very good transfer window and of course an attractive playing style under the very modern Mikel Arteta.
Yesterday proved once again that possession and pretty football isn’t everything. Jose showed that even with a pragmatic approach you can still achieve good football and more importantly a result. The overall performance wasn’t necessarily bad from the men in red, but players instincts were certainly not there as once again there were times where Arsenal’s defensive play was as poor as it could be and this is a serious problem that Mikel has to solve. Personally I don’t believe the majority of those players in the midfield and defence are good enough to play for Arsenal and the recruitment over the last few years has been nonsense. Bringing in players such as David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Matteo Guendozi, Nicolas Pépé etc. What was a concern was also seeing arguably their best midfielder Thomas Partey limping off having been rushed back for the fixture against Tottenham, and what could be more of a worry was that he voluntarily walked off the pitch while Spurs were on the counter attack which led to the goal. It would be wrong of me to judge the man’s character so early on but I couldn’t imagine Fernandinho or Jordan Henderson doing that. It would be interesting to see what Roy Keane thought of that particular situation…..
Despite signing Gabriel and Partey who are good solid players and have started well, there seems to be a very odd mentality in that Arsenal Dressing room when it comes to defending as a unit. This has been an issue since certain individuals left the club a long time ago and it would seem Mikel will need to get rid of quite a large section of that squad in order to progress. I hope the Arsenal board hold their nerve and back Mikel as I believe he is the right man for the job, but he may need a few more transfer windows than what Unai Emery had. He’s someone who looks as if he’s learnt from those he’s played under and worked under and I’m hoping the young spanish manager will be around till the end of the season.
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