It has been over two years now since Mikel Arteta became manager of Arsenal. Pundits and supporters alike seem to be mixed on how well how the Spaniard has done during that time.
Here is a look at some of the highs and the lows of his reign so far and a deeper look at whether Arsenal are going in the right direction under his stewardship.
Arguably the biggest high so far of Arteta’s spell as manager was the FA Cup victory over Chelsea last season at Wembley. This win not only continued the Gunners’ excellent record in the competition, it also ended a three-year wait for a major trophy too.
Arsenal had wins over Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final respectively last year, so they didn’t catch a break when it comes to an easy draw. Credit must go to Arteta for the way he prepared his side in those two games as they were the underdogs in the betting on both occasions.
Silverware is exactly what all managers at big clubs are judged upon so to get a win on the board so early into his time in charge of the North London club should help. It also sets the bar as to what they should continue to achieve.
One obvious difference with Arteta’s management compared to his predecessor’s, is that Arsenal are much tougher on the field now. They are much more difficult to break down and they seem to have a strong team ethic when it comes to defending collectively as a unit.
As a consequence of the above, the Gunners are not as free-flowing anymore going forward. Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring has slowed down, possibly due to him being asked to play on the left-wing on some occasions by his manager.
Goals are going to be important for Arsenal if they are to get on the right track when it comes to winning more trophies. With Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Pepe, and many others, they have enough attacking quality in their squad to be scoring more often.
At the time of writing, Arsenal lies 10th in the Premier League table. They are as big as 16/1 in the football betting to finish in the top four this season. This reflects how far behind they are from finishing in one of the Champions League positions at the end of the campaign.
Arsenal have already fallen out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup so their only realistic chance of any silverware this season will be the Europa League. The Gunners have a tie with Olympiakos to look forward to in the last 16. They were eliminated by the Greek club in the knockout stages last season so Arteta will know the threat they present.
For the Gunners to close the gap on their rivals in the Premier League, Arteta will be hoping he gets investment in his squad this summer. It could prove to be an important window for him as if he does get backed again, the signings will need to work for the board to continue having confidence in him.