The Arsenal hierarchy is finally becoming ruthless, albeit a few months later than they should have been. For the first time in Mikel Arteta’s 20-month stint at the club, there seems to be pressure coming up from the right sources.
Reports have it that the manager has been handed a grace period, at least until mid October to change the club’s fortunes. This comes after one poor season has been succeeded by a poor start, and after two straight losses in the Premier League, talks of replacing him are gaining traction.
A number of managers, most of them currently in jobs, have been linked with the Arsenal job, among them Graham Potter, Eddie How and Brendan Rodgers, but the one tipped the most likely replacement is former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. The Italian guided Inter Milan to the Italian Serie A title last season before leaving the club after disagreeing with the bosses’ transfer policy.
He is currently out of work and has been backed as the best replacement Arsenal can get after stormy years following Arsene Wenger’s departure. Before Arteta, the club was managed by another Spaniard, Unai Emery.
The Gunners have posted really poor results, but most of it has emanated from tactical inabilities from the manager, while indecisiveness on the technical bench’s part has also been blamed for missing a number of their transfer targets.
Arsenal will be thankful for the break that ushers in the League Cup, with the team set to face West Bromwich Albion in midweek. However, the pressure will be back on when the team makes the trip to Manchester City in their next league game, as Arteta will be required to deliver at a very tough venue.
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In Arteta’s first full season, he was expected to guide the team to better heights after finishing eighth having taken over midway through the season from Unai Emery. However, it was worse this time, with the team finishing eighth and missing out on European football for the first time in over two decades.
The fixtures Arteta has to see a change of fortunes at the club aren’t easy by any means. After the trip to the Etihad, the Gunners meet Norwich City, Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton. With the exception of newly promoted Norwich, these are teams that have really bullied Arsenal in their recent meetings and they find the North London side in an even much poorer form than last season.
While the Gunners bosses watch things unveil, they will in the background be working on a formula to convince Conte if need be. Here they’ll have to be very smart after the Italian’s earlier rejection of Tottenham Hotspur claiming the Spurs project didn’t convince him.
It is hardly imaginable how he will gauge the Arsenal project, having declined an offer at a visibly superior Spurs. How this all pans out is a matter of time, all which isn’t on Arteta’s side.