Arteta’s Revolution part 4: How Arteta became Arsenal’s most successful manager ever



By Tony Attwood

The one thing that is remembered about 2021/22, because of the phenomenal amount of publicity it got, was the first three league games which were lost, as Arsenal were beset with illness but were unable to get any postponement agreement from the league – although later Liverpool were able to postpone matches due to covid only then to find that there was no covid.   Their manager described the covid test results as false positives – something never seen before or since on such a scale.

That Arsenal recovered during that season is obvious because the club rose from 20th to 5th.   But what was primarily recorded by the media was a) the first three games and b) the failure to come fourth.   What wasn’t noted was just how improved Arsenal were in the last 35 games of the season.

Yet just as with 2020/21 in which the table can be seen as a season of two parts (the first third and the last two thirds, Arsenal really did improve…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts Win%
8 Arsenal all season 38 18 7 13 55 39 16 61 47%
15 Arsenal first third of the season 14 4 2 8 12 18 -6 14 29%
2 Arsenal last 2/3rds of the season 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47 58%


So the 2021/2 season can be seen as a season of two parts

Part one was the opening three games


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 3 3 0 0 3 0 3 9
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 0 0 3 0 3 -3 0
19 Norwich City 3 0 0 3 1 10 -9 0
20 Arsenal 3 0 0 3 0 9 -9 0


Part two was the remaining 35 games


Club P W D L F A GD Pts
35 27 6 2 89 25 64 87
35 26 7 2 88 25 63 85
35 22 3 10 61 39 22 69
35 19 10 6 70 32 38 67


Now anyone who was not biased, looking at that table, would surely place far more emphasis on the last 35 games than the first three games, but no one published the 35 game table except Untold.   As a result every pundit that I could find suggested that the top four for 2022/23 would be the same as the top four for 2021/2.  Arsenal at best would be fifth.

Even when the transfers inward of the summer of 2022 were seen, still the predictions didn’t change as Arsenal brought in Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner, and Marquinhos.

But more than that Arsenal brought back William Saliba after three seasons on loan with St Etienne, Nice and Marseille during which he clocked up 68 first team games.

Before the Nice loan Saliba did spend half the season training with Arsenal, which led to the Mail’s headline “Six months and out!”    And then “Arsenal flop William Saliba in nightmare” appeared in the Sun in typical raging, inaccurate anti-Arsenal style.

But then having been named a perpetual hopeless flop by the media, suddenly the tune was changed and it was Arteta who was the perpetual hopeless flop. For as 90min wrote

“As a makeshift Arsenal back line shambled its way to a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday, you could forgive Mikel Arteta for wondering how things might be going had William Saliba been given a crack at the whip…

“Meanwhile in the south of France, Arsenal’s £27m signing is starring for Nice in Ligue 1 to such an extent he has just been named their player of the month for January.”

Nice ended up ninth in the league, and there was some consternation when Saliba was loaned out once more to Marseille.  But it was a brilliant loan spell as Marseille came runners up – which in the French league actually means first, because PSG automatically win because Nasser Al-Khelaifi is in charge.  He also is a central figure in Uefa, organised the fight against Super League (because PSG were not invited) and owns the beIN Sport TV channel.

So now we had Jesus, Zinchenko, Vieira, Turner, Marquinhos and Saliba, and Arsenal shot to the top of the league winning the first five matches.

But even then after defeat in match six, with Arsenal still top of the league, the media were heralding the bursting of Arsenal’s bubble.  There was crowing about how Manchester United had previously ended Arsenal’s 49 match unbeaten run, and a collapse was now heralded.

However, something quite different happened.  Arsenal won their next four games scoring 10 goals.  A draw with Southampton again raised talk of Arsenal being in difficulties, but once more the club responded with three straight wins.

My point overall, therefore, is simple.  The Arteta revolution has been carefully planned and not rushed.  He joined in December 2019 as “head coach” but clearly from the start had a vision of how things could develop with changes made step by step, taking us now to the position we are in during the interregnum.

And he has become Arsenal’s most successful manager in terms of win percentage – excluding the managers who have only been in charge on a temporary basis.  Here for the record is the position at the top of the Arsenal managerial league for permanent managers.

Manager Joined Left Games W D L F A %Win
Harry Bradshaw 30 June 1899 30 April 1904 235 118 44 73 403 237 50.21
Thomas Mitchell 30 March 1897 10 March 1898 45 23 8 14 106 79 51.11
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 29 November 2019 78 43 16 19 152 100 55.13
Arsène Wenger 1 Oct 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 707 280 248 2,156 1,147 57.25
Mikel Arteta 22 Dec 2019 Present 152 88 23 41 268 161 57.89


And just think what would have happened if all those raving journalists and bloggers had had their way and got him out after we came 8th in 2020/21.

9 Replies to “Arteta’s Revolution part 4: How Arteta became Arsenal’s most successful manager ever”

  1. Arsenal sign these players below if we are to win the league:
    no. player club

    1. Danillo Palmeiras
    2. Mykhaylo Mudryk Shakthar Doneskh
    3. Facundo Torres Olando City
    4. Evan N’dicka Entracht Frankfurt
    5. Youri Tielemans Leicester City
    6. Marcus Thuram Borussia Moeglashenburg

  2. Ssebbaba, there would be a considerable disruption to our young team if even half of these players were brought in, and I fear the evolution of the existing squad together would be seriously damaged. The harmony that seems to exist within the squad now could readily to broken.

  3. @ Ssettaba Ivan

    Mikel Arteta and Edu have got Arsenal to the top of the league with the impressive records as demonstrated in this blog and are both, highly paid, qualified, experienced professionals. I have no idea who you are so, no disrespect, but I can only assume that your knowledge is, as best, only as good as the reviews you read from unqualified, inexperienced people on line who have no direct knowledge just an amateur opinion……exactly the people that are proved wrong again and again and again….as demonstrated on this blog.

    I think I’ll leave it to the professionals.

  4. Buy everyone. And then some more…. I’m nog against buying players but let us not rock the boat too much and change the squad for 50%. This squad knows what to do and how to do it. New players will have to adapt and adjust their way of playing…. and that could cost us points.

  5. Mikey

    Seeing your response to Ivan I thought I’d go and have a look back at the end of last season to see what sort of ‘expert’ reactions we got. As expected, I found some similarly silly posts. This one regarding Arteta was particularly stupid, befitting of Chis’s wonderful response:

    hans andersson says:

    24 June 2022 at 2:09 PM

    Two reasons why Pool and Man City are ahead of Arsenal: Jürgen Klopp & Pep Guardiola. The two clubs have first class managers. AFC have no manager at all. A first class manager is more important than any player. If a club want to reach the top, it’s the first thing to get is an experienced professional coach with merits. The merits is special important in front of the players. The players must respect the coach, and the only thing they respect is titles won in the past.

    Chris says:

    I have no idea what inspires you to share such great thinking with us idiots. Really, this is all I needed to light my day, you ‘Bright-light-of-the-thinking-universe’.

    As for first class manager, when looking at the fact that Guardiola failed each CL season with City with all the billion and more spent…are you sure ?

    As for Arsenal, I had no idea they had fired Arteta and were letting the kids run their own show now.

    Was fun to read you.

    I also found some great posts, particularly this post from Philster and the lovely response from Tony:

    Philster says:

    30 June 2022 at 7:49 AM

    Man City supporter here, and I’m actually going to compliment Arsenal. The deal for Gabriel Jesus is an excellent one for your club. As a finisher, he blows hot and cold, and will both annoy and excite you in that regard. He’ll blow sitters and then make a few impossible ones. In every other regard, however, you’ll love him. He gives 110% 100% of the time. I believe he and Bernardo Silva are two of the hardest working forwards in the world, although the latter also plays in more recessed positions from time-to-time. He is the perfect player to implement Arteta’s directives by performance on the pitch. Great at pressing, fighting for possession and tracking back. His best position is right wing, but you can play him anywhere along the front line. He also enjoys dribbling at defenders and creating for others.

    For what you paid for him, at his age, it’s a very nice piece of business.

    And from Tony:

    Philster thank you for your commentary, and indeed thank you for taking the trouble to write to the blog of another club. But most of all thanks for your positive thoughts. I don’t think many (if any) people think Arsenal can catch up the Manchester City this season, and what we are all looking forward is a continuing improvement. Hopefully you are right and Gabriel Jesus will be part of that.

    Some guys do know what they are talking about. Again, well said Philster

    For different reasons both those comments and responses made me smile, I hope they do others.

  6. Gary Neville. A perfect example of saying a lot without actually saying anything. In fact, all he’s doing is setting the scene for an Arteta demolition job at the end of the season.

    All these are recent quotes from Neville:

    “At this moment in time, Arsenal are putting up a real fight. They’re the best team in the league in the first 14 games of the season by a mile.”

    “Gary Neville has encouraged Arsenal’s board to tread carefully in the January transfer market and says the addition of new first-teamers could ‘upset’ some of the players who have helped them to the top of the Premier League table”.

    “Will Arsenal strengthen in January? What risks does that bring? Do you strengthen to boost the squad, or do you strengthen to boost the first eleven? If you do the latter, do you upset two or three players who are currently in the team?”

    Well after all that he tells us nothing. In one breath he says we are ‘currently the best team in the league, by a mile”

    So, changing anything would surely be a disaster then Gary?

    But then in the next breath he says, ” I said last week that I thought Manchester City would win the title by 15 points – I’m going to hang in there with that prediction”.

    So, not changing anything would surely be a disaster then Gary?

    Even assuming Man City, who have already dropped 10 points in 14 matches, don’t drop another single point in 24 games, Neville is predicting Arsenal to go from a team dropping 5 points in 14 matches, to a team dropping 20 points in 24 games. And we’re the best team in the Premier league, BY A MILE apparently.

    So that’s about covered it. Whatever Arteta does, if we don’t win the title, he will get slaughtered by Neville.

    Arteta buys some players:

    ‘I said it would be risky to buy players. He should have left well alone. Arteta out!’ Again.

    Arteta doesn’t buy any players:

    ‘I said, despite Arsenals good start they would lose out to Man City. He got all he deserved for failing to strengthen at Christmas. Arteta out!’ Again.

    That’s all bases covered then Neville !

    Gary Neville , a perfect example of the duplicitous nature of these hacks.

  7. I can’t see how you go from being a professional footballler to professional analyst without some form of training.Lucky guys.

  8. Gary Neville? Covering bases? Whatever next?

    If you watched his Qatar preview on Sky this week, you would know. More base-covering.

    Watching and reading all the virtue-signalling players, broadcasters, journalists, and the like finally summon up the courage to make a half-hearted “statement” along the lines of “I’ll be wearing a rainbow armband” or similar, with less than one week until the FIFA-mandated interlull makes me feel quite queasy. They should have been doing this 12 years ago.

    What a bunch of weasels.

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