How Arsenal got into this mess, and the one thing they must now do.

By Tony Attwood

Slowly, very slowly, there are a few people in the media who are starting to consider the wider issue of the Kroenkes influence on Arsenal in recent years.  The issue that is slowly, very slowly, being raised is, is the downturn in Arsenal’s fortunes of late due to poor management by Wenger, Arteta and Emery, or is it a problem of the directors, or maybe has it been the owners?

The media of course are clear – it is the manager, because year after year managers have not bought the players the media have told them to buy.

And indeed one can see why, because for journalists who are ordered to churn out article after article day after day, It is easier to talk of transfers rather than a club’s internal workings But who was to blame for things going wrong or going right?Also there is a constant failure to examine just how bad Arsenal have good.  OK, we have our regular joke about the Sunday Times reporting Arsenal fans allegedly saying early in the unbeaten season that “this is the worst Arsenal team they have ever seen”, but really, how good, or how bad is it?

And I mention this now as today’s Mundo Deportivo has a report on our manager saying ‘Arteta has been left alone’.  It is not players, they argue, but structure.

The newspaper talks about the structure put in place after Arsène Wenger and most of his staff were asked to leave the club in 2018.

The article argues that after Mr Wenger went the top man at the club (be he called coach or manager or anything else) was supported by the director of academy, the sporting director and the operations director.’

Then, as the article points out, by the time Mr Arteta came on the scene we also had Edu as technical director – Edu having done that job with sensational results with the Brazil national team, which had been below its normal high standards before he came along.

But then, when the pandemic hit, the Kroenkes got worried because their entire investment package is in sports companies like Arsenal, although in America and they’ve all been suffering.

So in panic restructuring took place, but without any real plan.  As a result Mr Arteta started to have more power placed on his shoulders – which was unreasonable given that this was his first job in management.

In fact it is suggested that chains of command broke down all together, while Mr Arteta, the novice in all this, was given even more work.   What’s more, since he then had success in guiding Arsenal to yet another FA Cup trophy, he was made to look like a second Mr Wenger (what with his triumph being more FA Cup wins than anyone else in the history of football).  So he got more work!

But the question arises, who handles transfers and contracts?  The entire network of spies had been wound up, and it is not clear how much has be made of the new developments that Mr Wenger introduced in terms of an array of people analysing players form around the world on video, and the use of new technologies to measure the performance of each player’s every movement.  It is quite possible that in the course of the changes much of this has simply been lost.

It is said that Mr Arteta is in charge of contract renewals and who to sign.  Yes Mr Wenger used to do that, but he was already highly experienced as a manager by the time he got to Arsenal.   

The English media regularly treated him as knowing nothing, and having “just come from Japan.”  But by the time Mr Wenger came to England and took on virtually every responsibility in the club he had won the French league, won the French cup, and been runners up in the Cup Winners Cup. He was not a novice.

So Mr Arteta is learning on the job, and those with him are doing the same.  In that regard his figures for the last 20 games are not too bad.   The argument is, “give him time,” but for goodness sake get more people in to support him.

Arsenal’s malaise

6 Replies to “How Arsenal got into this mess, and the one thing they must now do.”

  1. You include the 6 Europa Cup games against teams that would struggle in the National League.

    If you remove the Europa Cup games from all of the years, which were usually not too taxing, and restrict to league and FA Cup games, what are the figures then?

    Statistics can be manipulated to suit the agenda of the person bringing them.

  2. Some of the poor signings were done when there was this large network of staff, which were poor. Pepe & William, before Edu & Arteta’s reign. With Edu & Arteta, there has been a recogintion that David Dean & Arsene work well as a team in the recruitment department. It seems to be working as Edu has been able to get Gabrial, & Partey. He would be well aware of the Team requirements for the UK PL Teams in Home and Overseas Players.
    Arteta’s Addmission that Ragnarsson was to be 3rd Goalkeeper, but they had to sell Martinaz due to contract soon ending and no guarantee to be no.1.

  3. Lets have some good new. All courtesy of

    Rob Holding has signed a new long-term contract with us, running until 2024 with an option for a further year.

    And an update on our injuries:

    Gabriel Martinelli

    Right ankle. Gabi turned his right ankle during the warm-up against Newcastle United on Saturday and was subsequently taken out of the starting line-up. Gabi has progressed very well and we’re hoping that he will return to full training with the squad in the next few days.

    Gabriel Magalhaes

    Gabriel is now back in full training and is available for selection for Thursday’s match.

    Thomas Partey

    Thomas is now back in full training with the squad after recovering from an injury to the left thigh. Thomas continues to regain full fitness and will be assessed ahead of Thursday’s match.

    Still I’m sure some of the usual suspects will find something to moan about amongst that little lot.

  4. @nitram

    Some excellent news indeed and good to hear the option of extra year on Rob holdings contract. Hopefully the club is finally learning from the past on letting players run down into there final year with option to extend.

    Will also be great to have Thomas back and gabigoal back leading from the front in the not to distant future things are going well atm long may it continue

  5. Great news indeed.
    If I can get half an hour of Partey, Gabi, ERS, the inimitable Mr Saka, all firing together on the same pitch I’ll be an happy man! Roll it on! Just thinking about them feels good. Getting Rob Holding longer contracted is bonus.

  6. During this Covid 19 pandemic , there have been many a misstep and mistakes made regarding on how to handle the economic fallout and the financial shortfalls from its aftermath. Some may even be seen as ‘shooting from the hip ‘.

    Since there are no previous blueprints on how to manage such dire effects , I suppose we should afford some leeway to the management and board if any mistakes were made along the way. We are all learning to cope with this new normal.

    Great news indeed to learn that Rob Holding has extended his contract, He has been really good in the heart of our defence , bringing stability and calm to the team.

    I do hope that we keep most of our present squad during this transfer window as they have shown much resilience during our poor run. Some of our youngsters truly excite me .

    Up the Gunners !

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