Arteta’s authority gamble pays off, but let’s hope he feels he’s proved himself now

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Making yourself bigger than the team by making the maintenance of your authority more important than anything else is what the leadership books say you absolutely should not do as a leader.  Absolutely not.

But Arteta takes a different view, his authority is supreme, he demands obedience and he will be public in his handling of matters that he doesn’t like.   This is the exact opposite of Mr Wenger whose comments of “I didn’t see it” became a joke, but allowed him to get out of debates he wanted to have with his players in private.

Today, with his very public humiliation of his club captain, Arteta got away with it, and of course he did have a good back up centre forward for the game.  But the experience will hardly enamor Aubameyang to the club, and he may well decide to go looking for pastures new.

And this should be no surprise to Arteta.  True, he didn’t sign Aubameyang but he knows that the player has had problems like this all his playing career, and the club knew that when they bought him.  Every departure of Aubameyang from a club has been mixed up with incidents of this nature, so it’s a bit daft to make a fuss about it now.  Let’s hope Arsenal know who they will put in as the goal scoring forward each time Arteta takes on Auba.  

Auba is a brilliant centre forward.  But then I thought Ozil was a pretty brilliant attacking midfielder and that didn’t save his career or the club £9.1m in salary and probably the same again in transfer fees.   All done to maintain discipline.

Certainly the football world knows that Arteta’s discipline is, for him, more important than winning.  And that will mean that he won’t change and that will mean that there are certain player we could get in the future who we won’t be able to take.  It could also have an impact on his managerial career in the future.  

This is very different from the style of Mr Wenger who would always defend his players no matter what, and then deal with all matters internally, if necessary making up player injuries rather than admitting an internal issue.  It is why players would do anything for him.

As for the refereeing in this game with the Tots, that was also as we might have expected, with Lamela tackles being let go, but at least the referee made up for it when he did the right thing and sent the Tot off.

We also got some real help from Tottenham with Lamela actually argued and initially refused to go off and of course the incessant play acting from Doherty.  It pushed the ref in our direction concerning 50/50 decisions, which makes a nice change.

What else did we see?   Well, Smith Rowe to me looked awesome for his age throughout the game, and I would rate him alongside Saka.  If we can hold onto those two, we could well be going somewhere.

Alan Smith called the game “a strange one,” which is very typical of him, but really it was straightforward, for Sky had spent their entire preview talking up Tottenham’s recent form, and then were forced to spend the last 15 minutes of the game trying to excuse themselves.

And there was certainly a lack of perspective from Sky in terms of tactics.  As when, for example, Thomas Partey just kicks the ball out for a Tottenham corner.  Smith is critical, forgetting that by and large, the Tots are not very good at corners.

Smith was also incredibly critical of Leno, and much of our defence.  Yet despite the fact that Sky and Smith will never notice this, we still have the fourth-best defence in the league. Rather odd that.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 30 22 5 3 64 21 43 71
2 Leicester City 29 17 5 7 53 32 21 56
3 Manchester United 29 15 10 4 55 32 23 55
4 Chelsea 29 14 9 6 44 25 19 51
5 West Ham United 28 14 7 7 42 31 11 49
6 Everton 28 14 4 10 40 37 3 46
7 Tottenham Hotspur 28 13 6 9 47 30 17 45
8 Liverpool 28 12 7 9 47 36 11 43
9 Aston Villa 27 12 5 10 39 28 11 41
10 Arsenal 28 12 5 11 37 29 8 41

All round, a rather jolly occasion.  Roll on Thursday.

8 Replies to “Arteta’s authority gamble pays off, but let’s hope he feels he’s proved himself now”

  1. Hiya,
    I think that Arteta’s handling of the situation was perfect. Arteta came back to the club with disciplinary issues all over the shop. He has to lead 25-30 men, all of whom are millionaires and potentially puffed by the celebrated natured of their positions. All of whom are young and full of testosterone. Once you lose a dressing room, you will never get it back. If he lets the club captain get away with not respecting a non-negotiable, others will soon follow, their egos needing to check where the limits are. If Auba wants to sulk off that’s his problem. Arteta has clearly communicated what is required of the his professionals, and Auba can’t be bothered to turn up on time in return for his £250k a week, then we are better off shifting him and finding a quality replacement. Group harmony, and respect is essential. My personal view is Auba will respect Arteta more for having enforced the boundaries, and will come back stronger, and more committed. Victoria Concordia Crescit…

  2. Look at pastures new? Public embarrassment? Your an idiot. Auba just signed a new contract!? Very suspect mate. Your very suspect indeed.

  3. Arteta underlined the fact that no player is bigger than the team. Should he let the team see that club discipline is dependent on how good the player who transgresses is

  4. Will Williams – 100% correct
    This writer of this piece is way off the mark with his suppositions of how potential players might react at Arteta enforcing codes of conduct.
    The alternative is to encourage Balliotelli-like insubordination

  5. I don’t think we missed Auba yesterday. And we were troubling them throughout the game or until the closing stages of the game , where we got too nervous , and made many unforced mistakes.

    While I don’t really read all the latest news or in anyway keep myself updated, yet ,when I heard that Auba would not be playing , I was confident that MA knew what he was doing.

    I personally stopped trying to outguess the manager a long time ago , and just try to enjoy the game . That it all worked out should help him in his efforts. I have great confidence in our youth players .

    Up the Gunners !

  6. Brickfield Gunners

    I’m with you really. I let the manager manage.

    We all have our own ideas about the best starting 11, so no matter who he picks he will be right in some eyes and wrong in others. Similarly when it comes to who gets substituted and when, and who comes on and when.

    The same applies to discipline. Personally I always admired the way Wenger kept these things ‘in house’ so to speak. The loyalty he showed to his players, often at his own expense when it came to media and fan ridicule, was remarkable at times, and anyone who has read my ramblings over the years will know how much stock I put into loyalty.

    But honestly when push came to shove did that loyalty do him any good? I’m not so sure it did.

    As for Arteta, I’m not really sure what he has done wrong. It seems Auba turned up late, he broke rules, he was punished. He has hardly been thrown under the bus so to speak. Auba can be a man and take it on the chin. He can get upset and throw his toys out of the pram. It’s up to him. Others can think, good on you Arteta. Others can think, I’m not playing for him, but honestly would I want a player that fragile playing for Arsenal? Not really.

    So yes I sit there watching and have my own ideas on all these things but do I expect the manager to do whatever I think he should do? Of course not. I’m no manager. I’m no coach. That’s why I’m sat on my couch and Artetas standing on the touchline. He’s paid to make these big calls.

    At the end of the day, win lose or draw yesterday I would of stood by Arteta.

  7. Yep … tricky thing, authority. Looks like we’ve gone from Dead Poets’ Society’s Professor Keating to Full Metal Jacket’s Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. We tend to forget it, but actually BOTH stories end up tragically for one of the youngsters, whether it be the indulged one in DPS, or the bullied one in FMJ.
    Let’s just say first that we all do know by now that there is an amazingly competent young manager at the helm of our club, one who could win us an FA Cup with a pretty defensive 3-4-3 enlightened by lightning-speed counterattacks, and who one year later can pick a 4-2-3-1 aimed at possession so as to lead us to two stylish victories on the rebound (Leicester, Tottenham) – it has indeed become quite difficult to believe this is only his first tenure as the headcoach of a top-level team.
    Now I think I know a thing or two about trying to get the best out of groups of youngsters – after learning them the hard way, making all the possible mistakes, believe me. The difference between Hartman and Keating is that the sergeant has to bring together a group of emotionless killing machines, while Keating’s purpose is to bring forward the free-thinking individual, “creator of himself”, root it out of each and every one of his students.
    The complicated thing – and the reason why I admire many of them – about being a PL manager is that they have to stand somewhere in-between these two extremes. He has to make the players abide by his repetitive drills, his setups, while making confident free spirits out of the boys, so that they’ll be as creative as needs be, when the time comes – the “football should be an art” part.
    I think the last real “Wengerball” goal we were treated to was Auba’s goal against Leicester in 2018, even though this goal was scored under Emery. I can’t help but notice that nine players were involved in that move (Leno, Holding, Xhaka, Torreira, Özil, Guendouzi, Bellerin, Lacazette, Aubameyang), and that after what happened yesterday with Auba, 6 out 9 (Holding, Torreira, Guendouzi, Özil, Lacazette, and now Auba) seem to have fallen from grace with Arteta, in one way or another. I do believe there is a pattern here, showing that our brilliant coach has a problem with freedom, creativity, unpredictability, … whatever you want to call it, and I can’t help but think he’ll have, at some point, to give the lads some slack – or he’s bound for a blowback of some sort, Sergeant Hartman/Private Pile style. He’s an intense, passionate, remarkably clever lad, but if he doesn’t soften this ruthless side of his he seems to be so proud of, he might end up doing more harm than good.
    You can’t frighten a group of youngsters into obedience-submission forever, that’s a sure fact: I happened to watch the U23 game against Blackburn last Friday (on the club’s “twitch” channel – fantastic initiative), and I found the way he has already shattered the confidence of Reiss/Eddie/Folarin, truly heartbreaking …

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