Mikel Arteta says winning a trophy after half a season as Arsenal’s head coach will help generate trust in his ability to do the job.
Having won the FA Cup as a player in 2014, the boss has the chance to follow in the footsteps of George Graham by also picking up a medal as the main man in the dugout. The Scot, manager of the club from 1986-1995, was part of the Double-winning side of 1971 and also led us to cup glory in 1993.
Given the roller coaster ride that he’s been on during his first stint as a head coach, it would certainly be a promising way for Arteta to draw a line under the campaign. It would also give him strong foundations on which to keep building.
Asked in his pre-game press conference how important silverware could be to helping him build the squad he wants, Arteta said: “Well, it generates the trust when you win a title. It generates moments when together you go through good emotions and at the end it brings everybody together and you have good memories.
“It’s about winning and winning a trophy that is so positive for any club and when you are in a process, obviously that makes it even more important, we have a great opportunity tomorrow, so let’s go for it.”
While the build-up to the final has been somewhat muted and a lack of fans on the day will take the shine off the occasion, you can tell that Arteta is excited. It’s not the first time he’s been on the touchline at the final; he was alongside Pep Guardiola last year as Manchester City steamrollered Watford 6-0.
He says the emotions as a player and as a coach are much the same. There’s an eagerness to perform.
“I don’t know if it’s nervousness, it’s just that you are anxious for the day to come, to play that occasion, to be on that pitch.
“Because of all the preparation and when you are sitting in that hotel next to Wembley and you see all that atmosphere and all the families, you just want to go on that pitch and start the game and grab that trophy as quickly as possible.
“It’s the same feeling that I have today. I want it to already be tomorrow, I want to be there and to feel my players and go out there and win that trophy.”
He added: “For me, I always say that it is, for me, the most beautiful day in English football.
“The last game of the season, everybody is waiting and everybody is watching and the atmosphere of Wembley with the two halves of that stadium in different colours, is incredibly beautiful. It’s a shame that we cannot enjoy that moment.”