Arsenal have got their man in Mikel Arteta, but it’s a huge job for the Spaniard to take on as his first role in the hot seat. The fanbase were in meltdown over Unai Emery, so their ex-player needs to hit the ground running to soothe the frustrations of supporters.
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Arteta's the man
Arsenal have struggled in the Premier League, so player confidence will be running low. He needs to come in and re-energise the Gunners’ squad. With that in mind, here’s two ways he can do that.
Coach the main forwards to work together
Arsenal have a wealth of attacking talent up front, with Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe all top-quality forwards. Aubameyang has already reached double figures this league season, but that’s arguably at the cost of Lacazette and Pepe, whose numbers are just not as good. Finding a formula that includes the trio and helps them all to fire is proving a problem.
When looking at Man City when Arteta was assistant manager last season, they managed to ensure all three of their main forwards got a share of the goals. Sergio Aguero scored 21, Raheem Sterling bagged 17 and Leroy Sane got 10 (Stats via SportsMole). If Arteta can teach the Arsenal forwards to feed off each other like those City players did, the Gunners will be flying.
Stick to a first-choice back four
It’s one thing to rotate your back four, but it became clear Unai Emery just didn’t know who to pick in the end, constantly shuffling around his defence.
In the 17 games played before this weekend, not one defender was in the top four for appearances, with Sokratis coming in fifth with 15 appearances, and even he’s been handed a disappointing WhoScored rating of less than 7 for his performances. Arteta needs to go out and sign some centre-backs, and that’s clear, but until then, he needs to settle on a partnership. All of this experimenting has clearly not worked for the north London club this season.
Mikel Arteta has a huge job on his hands at both ends of the pitch, and that’s not even going into the midfield. He needs to tighten up at the back by having faith in a select few before he can buy replacements and then coach their three best forwards to complement each other. Easier said than done? We’ll see.
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