Thus we have kicked out the most successful Arsenal manager of all time, in terms of trophies and in terms of win percentage, and replaced his with the second most successful manager of all time in terms of win percentage, and replaced him with a man with no managerial experience.
Clearly a triumph of absolute proportions.
Here’s the league position as of Saturday evening.
Six points off a Champions League place and four points off a Europa League place.
And so now we have Arteta as a manager. And what is to be made of this by the media? Well, the answer is obvious; yet another man to hit with their collective stick, yet another stick with which to beat the club while studiously avoiding the question of how come a terrific unbeaten run by Emery, was turned into the worst run with the 1970s.
And it is rather strange that this issue has not been addressed fully with a proper statistical analysis. We know exactly why things went so wrong in the 70s: Bertie Mee had a vision of the future of 1st Division football which consisted of retrenchment, cutting out the youth squads, hiring just 18 full time professionals, and… well, and as a result dropping into the basement.
So what do the media think?
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What it says about Arteta being our new manager primarily promotes the fact that Arsenal previously overlooked Arteta, and now have turned to him. Not really much of an insight.
“The man whom they did not fight hard enough to recruit as a coach and did not want badly enough a little over 18 months ago as the manager is set to be confirmed as the permanent successor to Emery. What has changed? Because one thing is plain: Arteta has still done nothing as a manager, even if he has had another season and a half to work under and learn from Pep Guardiola at City.”
Actually what else has changed is that Man City were not willing to let Arteta go 18 months ago, but we’ll let that pass perhaps just noting en route that this is not really that much of an analysis, as is revealed by their follow up comment,
“Just bump up the next guy,” is their comment.
Yet they were at the forefront of negative reporting of Wenger, and of Emery. But now their commentary is “Arsenal are no strangers to decisions that do not bear scrutiny.” Which shows us that the negativity towards Arsenal will continue and continue and continue. Because Arsenal need to be scrutinised in the way Man U, Chelsea, Tottenham H et al do not.
And since Arteta hasn’t actually managed the club in any games yet, they don’t actually have anything to attack the club with in terms of Arteta and his activities. So instead they attack the process. “Arsenal’s route to Arteta has been circuitous, a little unwieldy, and it is hard to see his appointment as anything other than a gamble – given he has never been a manager before.
“And yet,” they say, amazed by current situation, “Arteta’s return has fired the imagination, bringing that most precious of commodities – hope. For many years, Arsenal’s biggest problem has been the collective mentality; the sense they are simply not tough enough to recapture past glories.”
A sense, we might add, Arsenal’s biggest problem is actually the way this theme is constantly promoted by the media.
As for Arteta whom the Guardian has already taken to calling “The Spaniard”, well, “The Spaniard has always been a leader and, crucially for his new role, a good communicator. When the chips were down at Arsenal, Arteta was invariably the player – together with Mertesacker – who fronted up to the press. A small detail, perhaps, but undoubtedly a sign of character.”
Then they get inside Arteta’s mind claiming that “he is acutely aware of what needs to change.” That of course is very clever because if he fails, as the media undoubtedly want him to, then they can blame the owners, or the players. What they will never do is blame the media, because in their eyes the media merely reflects what is out there, never putting any sort of spin on it by emphasising one issue, misleading us about another, and downright lying about the third.
In reality we are all of us facing the same test. With Mr Wenger it was the disgusting and disgraceful onslaught onto his character and integrity. With Mr Emery, it was the fact that his English was poor and he didn’t really know the English game or the Premier League. Now with Arteta it is the case that he knows what needs changing – but may not be able to change it because the old ways are too entrenched at Arsenal. Cue more Wenger bashing.
At least Arteta knows what the media and the anti-Arsenal Arsenal are about. But can he beat their persistent unending criticism of all things Arsenal? Let’s hope so.
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