Saturday, November 27, 2021

“It’s a decision we made a few months ago” – Arteta talks Arsenal’s new strategy

When Mikel Arteta took over at Arsenal, his immediate aim in January 2019 was to steady the ship and to try and mount an unlikely challenge for a top four finish. While the Gunners finished eighth, the FA Cup triumph against Chelsea, which included a win over Manchester City in the semi-final, suggested that with a few more tweaks to the squad, the gap on our traditional rivals, could, with a bit of luck, be closed the following season. 

Moves were made to infuse the squad with more experience; Willian and Thomas Partey arrived and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future was secured. Qualifying for the Champions League was undoubtedly the aim at the start of the campaign. 

Unfortunately, things exploded spectacularly. Not only did the new boys fail to deliver on the pitch, the captain stopped scoring and a host of ageing players on the fringes of the squad got the hump. Another eighth-place finish against the backdrop of the pandemic and supporter anger fuelled by involvement in plans to launch a European Super League have forced a rethink.

This summer, Arsenal have spent big and made it the policy to buy younger players. Noises coming out of the club suggest the owners are realistic about the chances of a top four finish and instead the aim is to build a squad that can grow together in the coming years. Most supporters seem to be on board with the idea even if patience has already been tested with back-to-back defeats in the league. 

Of course, while Arteta might be working in harmony with the technical team and the owners, the buck will stop with him if the results don’t turn around. The pressure is mounting; the bookies already predict he’ll be the first top-flight manager to get the chop this season. 

For the moment, he seems confident that he’s not on borrowed time. If anything quite the opposite. 

“We analysed the situation and the position we’re in and we had to make big decisions,” said Arteta ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester City. 

“Those decisions have been made with the technical part [of the team], the board and the financial guys who are involved with the ownership. Then, they support that plan. We are all in this. 

“It’s a decision we made a few months ago, how we could move the club forward, the time that was going to take and the advantage that would have medium and long-term. We stick to that and we will try to execute that in the best possible way.

He added: “I really believe in what we’re trying to do. I see the progress, I see everything that has been changed around the club, that it’s in a much better place. 

“I see the atmosphere around the place, I see the belief the players have when we are coaching them. We need results. We’re going to have difficult moments and thankfully, we know we’re going to have difficult moments, it’s about us trying to explain that situation, that marathon, to everybody and everybody is involved.”

There’s no doubt that placing trust in so many young players is a risk. The five arrivals – Martin Odegaard, Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Sambi Lokonga and Aaron Ramsdale – are all under the age of 24 and have cost the club an estimated £130 million. Given the outlay, the hope is that the club has done its research. 

Arteta shed light on the process that takes place before dipping into the transfer market. 

“First of all, we have to balance the squad in many different ways,” he said. “[We pick players based on] the development phase they are in throughout their careers and how we can evolve that. Then the specific qualities that we need from that player, in terms of our game model. And then what they’ll bring to the team as a personality. 

“In order to know about that, you have to know about the background, their family, how they’ve been coached, where they are coming from, which experiences they’ve had in the past, how they have reacted. With all that information on the table, then we try to make the right decisions for the football club.”

We’ll know soon enough if they have or not.

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Once, twice, three times el neny

It’s based in realism, we’re not making a run for the title this season. I just worry that Mikel is not a strong enough personality to get the best out of the younger players.
In all it will be a fascinating season and hopefully will lay the groundwork for an extended run of improving seasons with its young core


Personality is the least of my worries.

It’s mainly tactics he’s trying to deploy on the field – everytime we go on the pitch (barring the odd match ala WBA), we don’t seem coherent offensively nor defensively.

Today for the first time in a long time it’s 3 at the back again. If he manages to pull of his first PL win against Pep, by this small tweak then that should help to start changing perception amongst the fanbase. But so far the burden of proof is clearly on Arteta still.


What is this “game model” you speak so fondly of?

Process Man

It’s the same model which allows City to dominate. Because when Mahrez recieves the ball in same position as Pepe he doesn’t take ages to the get the move going. That’s just one example and one position. Now do math for rest of the positions


Youth strategy is good sell until people realise Saliba, Guendozi, Emi and Willock are young talents who have been shown the door as Arteta hates their faces

Houston Gunner

And Saka, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Balogun are all part of the future. Cherry picking facts goes both ways


Emi isn’t even young!


Your comment is dumb.


You need to chill with that. Comments like this are making Arseblog less enjoyable by the day. People say shit here they wouldn’t dare say to a person’s face. Share your opinion on substance but be respectful. We don’t need toxicity amongst the fans.


Do you not wonder why those players primarily went to lower half clubs?


I knew a game model once! She was fun.


Really don’t expect much from MA.


To be fair, an effective long term strategy is exactly what we need. If that has been committed to and expectations are set more to long term as well, I’m happy to go with that for a while.It’s probably the only realistic way to turn around our demise. For now it may mean the occasional drubbing from a well drilled team like Chelsea or Brentford for that matter. But if we can show more solidity and cohesion over the next 8 – 10 games, then I think we should get behind the plan. If we’re still in the bottom half… Read more »


“In order to know about that, you have to know about the background, their family, how they’ve been coached, where they are coming from, which experiences they’ve had in the past, how they have reacted. With all that information on the table, then we try to make the right decisions for the football club.”

So presumably they knew our lad Nuno really loves his dogs.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Why did you have to remind me about that 🤢


Too much talk. I’d rather see us do the talking on the pitch. Just get a result against City then come chat to us about your future plans

Process Man

Yeah let’s cancel all press conferences until we win. I am 100% up for it.

Heavenly Chapecoense

You’re absolutely right. A very good win in League Cup means you get a lot of downvotes for telling the truth.


What is wrong if he is coming out with details? What above author has mentioned is an expectation not a fact and it follows a narrative that you don’t like Arteta.


Anybody who doesn’t like Arteta as a person must be dead inside. The hate you are referring to is for the football and results. Bring in Pulisic or Mourinho and if the football is good and they win us the league and the UCL I will be forced to like them. I wore Arsenal shirt at my workplace yesterday and you can’t imagine the ridicule. One guy asked me whether there’s still any sane person who still support Arsenal. My response was; you’re looking at one. It’s so so embarrassing. We the supporters don’t get paid for supporting the club,… Read more »


Trying to think of any other time in recent years when we’ve invested so much in such young players.

We used to make stars, not buy them. It was the only way we could compete with United when Graham and Wenger came in.

Regardless of how it works out for Arteta, it feels like a better use of our funds.


Yes and I think we should also not be too reluctant to sell if we have a player worth a lot of money in a few seasons (like Saka ?).

It will break out heart, but look at Liverpool : they sold Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and Coutinho and that was the foundation for their amazing team.

Sp*rs became relevant after they sold Bale for tons of money.

I wouldn’t mind selling Saka for 100+ millions, if the management team has proven that it can recruit well by then.


Yeah and tbf our academy is producing some great talent in recent years. The best of which is esr and saka


I know this will be controversial but Arteta should be given another 2 years minimum to work with these young players. Except there is a serious decay that threatens our very survival in the top division, we should let him do his thing

Come the end of the season, I will be happy to let Arteta have another year with these players even if we finish 8th again on the following conditions;

1. The team shows a clear identity and playstyle.
2. The new signings perform.


I absolutely agree with you, my only concern is the identity and play style. I think he’s been here long enough, not necessarily to have established success, but to imprint a vision of the way he wants to take this club forward.

If you were to ask me now, what is his identity, I’m not even sure. Slow build up through extremely choreographed moves? Pepe or Saka magic? Give it to Tierney?

The frustrating thing is I want Arteta to succeed so badly, but I just don’t think he will until he allows a more fluid attacking approach

Process Man

Yes Robin he tells players to build slow. Their inability to do so has nothing to do with it. You’re 100% right.


What bothers me the most is the world’s most lethargic counter attacks. We basically usher the defending teams into their positions before mounting it. I feel like worse teams attack better at times


What do you mean you haven’t seen his style? He plays like freaking Pep! That’s one thing all real Arsenal fans should have seen already. The main reason we use Tierney is when our midfield is a bit weak, like now, without Thomas, someone courageous to pick the ball and turn and give a pass to someone creative ahead, like ESR, what do you mean you haven’t seen the style?! We let go Luiz go coz we need the ball moving from the back through the middle to the front, then if Tierney gets it by chance, a whipped cross… Read more »


Yep, I totally agree as well. Let’s hope the majority of fans can hold their nerve as this isn’t going to be easy, but it could be a beautiful thing if we back it as fans. Besides, what are the alternatives anyway, a roundabout of mediocre managers? Arteta has something special, I’m sure of it. He needed to lose a lot of these old pro’s, impatient for final days of success or just egotistical and overpaid, and to get a young core in who will believe in his ideas. I think they’ve learnt from that mistake, it sounds as though… Read more »


I think somebody should get two years to develop the youngsters, but Arteta has failed to convince me that that somebody is him.

Hank Scorpio

He’s had 20 months to imprint a clear identity and playing style. This club isn’t Arteta’s proving ground. We don’t exist in a vacuum where it’s ok to be rubbish for years with no consequences. The reality is that the likes of Everton, West Ham, Leeds and Villa are ambitious and swarming around us. We don’t have some sort of entitlement based on previous glories. Continued mediocrity results in becoming a less appealing destination for players, fewer dollars in our commercial deals and all while many others are moving past us. You are advocating giving Arteta 4 years to hopefully… Read more »


I like the movement toward youth. And, starry-eyed assessment of our Hale End boys notwithstanding, I do think we have a potentially exceptional crop of young talent coming through. That said, I agree completely. We cannot offer as much time as is probably needed to see top results. One of Arteta’s skills is supposed to be honing young talent. It seems to be working with ESR and Saka but they may have been of a level that would see them succeed under anyone. Others—AMN, Nelson, Nketiah, Guendouzi, and especially Martinelli…I’m not convinced. The youth movement is a sound strategy but… Read more »


Unfortunately not all will make. Talent (Nketiah), Character (Guendo) and other things get in the way. AMN and Nelson are still (to me) unknowns. Patience is required.


The problem with this timeline is that youngsters will queue to leave Arsenal next season. Martenelli is the first one out of door if Arteta survives this season. His treatment of Martenelli is worrying. His yelling of ESR against Chelsea is worrying. Wonder who yells at him during the match. His support staff are Yes men and cannot challenge him. If you see the instructions given before any subs it’s confusing to the player. All these talks of him succeeding Pep is bollocks. I would give him 18 games and if we doesn’t get to 30 points are more I… Read more »


I think your spelling of Martinelli is more worrying than Mikel’s treatment of him. To know his support staff are ‘yes men’ must also mean you have some insider knowledge (and even before the Amazon documents) which I must say is impressive.


I like the “taking the longer view approach” with youngsters. However, the playing style and identity, I’m still a bit trepidatious about. Right now the we play is pass from the back, Xhaka gets it, passes it to Tierney or ESR who then passes it to Tierney or Saka again. Tierney/Saka smash In a million crosses but there’s nobody in the box to finish them. The ball goes back into possession. The mids play safe lateral passes. Goes to pepe, tries to dribble, can’t beat his man, passes back to mids, mids pass around slowly a bit more, pass to… Read more »


Please, Bishop. Be reasonable here. Arteta should get at least another 10 years, with allowances for a minimum of 2 relegations. But if he hasn’t achieved automatic promotion from League One by 2031, then we *might* need to reassess his position. Patience.

Ghost of Fabregas

PSG – Messi, Donnarumma, Ramos, Wijnaldum and Hakimi = £54m

Utd – Sancho, Ronaldo and Varane = £135m

There’s room for improvement

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

That’s just it, they are not making big decisions and they are not balancing the squad.
Playing a slow average midfielder who wanted to leave is not big or brave, it’s weak and easy. Not buying a right back and instead playing a centre back or left back in that position does not balance the squad, quite the opposite.
I’m not even saying the youth project won’t work but you have to balance it out with key experienced big names that can come in and shoulder the inexperience of the younger players. Manure have done just that by signing Ronaldo.

Tactical Gunner

For those of you saying that we don’t have a clear pattern, it’s false..
Arteta is trying to hybridize a team that can play like both City and Pool at the same time..
Look at Tierney cross like Robertson and Chambers tuck in like Walker or Partey when fit try to nick balls off players like the bald dude from Monaco or Fernandino.. Pepe try to make Marhez play style.. While Auba drift like Mane..
It’s all there

Naked Cygan

sack him now!! save the season!!

No foot Norbert

He mentions using signings to balance the squad yet the squad is still heavily imbalanced. He has to at least put in a performance against city for me if it’s another dull display he has to go.

Franz Biberkopf

I like this strategy, but what troubles me is that it was only made ‘a few months ago’, when it probably needed to be made a few years ago. What these comments from Arteta really underline is how questionable our strategy has been over the last few years. Our transfer business from Lacazette to Willian has been, on the whole, pretty average. In my opinion, that’s the biggest reason why we’ve been struggling to really compete in the Premier League.


There is a project. It’s based on sound strategic principles (finally)! Do I trust it…?

Ask me after tomorrow’s match…


Strategy isn’t based on what happens tomorrow.


So Arteta is going into this game without any strategy….?

At last..! A confession..!


I’m in Arteta out camp but except for White, the other transfers are good quality and price-wise imo.
Time for Arteta to deliver, At least improve the play style. He should have 10 games for that. I doubt that he can from what I see though.


Agree the White signing is a strange one. I always thought Dunk was their best defender, just can’t believe the money for an unproven CB, one of the positions we’re actually most complete in

Hank Scorpio

For the money you’d expect to see White walk into the team and be dominant. Let’s see if that happens. What I find laughable though is some here saying it’s not a lot over 5 years. There seem to be a fair few accountants these days talking amortisation, give him time, he’s young etc. That’s the kind of talk you’d expect for Tavares and Lokonga, not a 50mil signing familiar with the league.


How old is Dunk though? You can’t be suggesting that the club shells out £50m on 29-year-old Dunk. The idea is for the young players to grow together. Long term plan. It’s all up there.


I would give him this whole season, as long as we linger around top six, if it completely implodes sack him, but if there is a bit more clarity on our style of play by the end of the season (I don’t think there will be) he should be given more time to develop it.


But that’s always been the problem with this ownership; they always used yesterday’s competition as a benchmark.

They always try to beat the top four, but based on last season. That’s the problem. Your competitors evolve.

You can’t just catch up, you need to get ahead.


this phrase seems particularly insane considering what happened with our scouts recently:
“In order to know about that, you have to know about the background, their family, how they’ve been coached, where they are coming from, which experiences they’ve had in the past, how they have reacted. With all that information on the table, then we try to make the right decisions for the football club.”


Edu and Mikel can work as hard as they want. At the end of the day this ownership will only fulfil what is in their Limited imagination. You can take it 1000%? Ok we can just get to 9995% and it will only cost us 95%. Let’s settle for 9995% then. It is what happened to Wenger and what happened to Unai. Wenger in 2018 was trying to get Jonny Evans but the board refused to sanction 12m for a key defender. There was a whole litany of things like this. Unai’s system relied on wingers, they didn’t buy one… Read more »


Am I the only one who seems to be have a bad case of dejavu? I’m pretty sure we’ve been down this path before, with a much better manager. How did that end up again? I wonder ….


It ended up with a brand spanking new stadium and consistent top 4 positions year after after year (which we’re basically crying for now).


Wow! That sounds great! All the fans must have been pleased at the time. And no one was asking the manager to be sacked. Oh wait ….

Nostalgic Gooner

Sometimes I think Arteta is trolling us.


I like Arteta, and hope Arsenal have success with him of course… But his body language and facial expression signal to me that he is pretending to be in control, bit of false confidence. This leaves me thinking that he’s not ready for the job 100%. I believe in him to be able to coach the young and upcoming players to get the most out of them, however, during games, I am not confident in his ability to adapt the team, especially to create wins from a deficit. Hopefully by the end of the season he can do this and… Read more »


This talk of youth investment while sound begs the question- Saliba (£28m) not ready, so out on loan while Mari is considered good enough to begin our season as a starting CB…?


With the right set of players, a good coach can imprint his identity on the team in six months of one year, but when you’re still trying to assemble the core of the team, you can be hasty in doing that, Wenger was accused so much for his approach, gunho in every game, Arteta should take his time to build a team as long as we don’t get relegated and we don’t keep getting hammered!

River Master

Arteta, we’ve gotta do better.

Mark Carr

I love my football, supported Arsenal for 45 years, but if I’m honest I don’t really know what he’s going on about.

Don’t get me wrong, he definitely needs time, and he is getting it, it seems. For how long i dont know. I reckon October. Hopefully after the City game we’ll go on a run and he’ll be alright.


I’m not convinced. Great we’ve bought in young players but I think the reason behind that is because he thinks he can mold them more easily. I think he’s stifling our attacking players’ creativity on the pitch by such rehearsed patterns of play that they are not allowed to deviate from. Martinelli got benched last year when he tried to play…ESR most likely will be next, by the way he was being shouted at last match. He’ll lose his favored central position to Odegaard too. I’d much rather Conte come in sooner rather than later and help rebuild us an… Read more »

Man Manny

This reference to Arteta shouting at ESR in the Chelsea game, and being made a big issue of, is surprising. Managers shout at players all the time. Have you ever seen Ferguson or Kloop in their elements?
Stop making ESR look like a toddler in kindergarten; he is a young adult in a trade meant for toughened professionals.
He can take a shout in his stride.

Man Manny

The biggest challenge before Aeteta, for me, is the non-existent margin of error in player purchase. He does not have the luxury enjoyed by the Peps and Tuchels of this world. Drinkwater, Ross Barkley, and some more expensive flops are still in Chelsea, yet they can go ahead and get Lukaku for £97.5m. Nobody seems to care. But Arteta must get every signing right. Every one of them must improve the team. This interview reveals that much. I am yet to see a manager who gets it right all the time. Sir Alex Ferguson, for all his legendary status, got… Read more »


Martinelli is not on that level yet ( with saka and ESR) even with those games where he scored you notice he’s still raw. I don’t remember when he put on a man of the match performance in a pl match .u can consider the match against Chelsea where he scored such a goal apart from that what did he do. I remember some fans were happy when auba and laca were not available for the Brentford game cos they wanted martinelli and balogun to start.but what did martinelli and balogun produce in that game. I think balugon for instance… Read more »


I keep seeing loads of comments about “If we see a style come through by the end of this season” Arteta has now been in charge for 18 months and the fact that people are saying he needs another 9 for us to start seeing a style is mental. Christ most managers can impart their style on a squad in a month. Look at Chelsea, how long did it take Tuchel to change their style after Fat Frank was sacked? Even Fat Sam gets his style on a team almost immediately, admittedly “kick them and hoof it” is a pretty… Read more »


Most teams would have sacked him by now, then appointed a new manager, then another one, then…
I believe Arsenal are right to back him. I hope to see strong signs of that. Remember the really successful clubs historically have backed a manager long term.

P1553d off

I do worry about how thick our fans are. This parroting of narrative about Martinelli being treated badly is bullshit. The kid was badly injured and protected from burnout when returning.

If young players aren’t good enough then it’s right to sell them on. AMN is clearly squad level.
Saliba is playing week in week out and will be a much better player for it.
If it takes 3 years so be it, the immature need for instant gratification is silly.


The Bishop wants two years, you want three.

Any advance….?

How about a decade in the Championship, just to be on the safe side?

Viju Jacob

If only his on-field performance was half as good as his presscons, we wouldn’t be in this position. I had such high hopes of him which vanished last year with the way he treated our players.
Anyways, good luck to him, or in Arseta we rust.

Fransco Dutor

From this narration you’ll know that the mission is to have Arsenal in the top four only and not to win the European champion league. With the mindset of this current board, we are going no where. As a fan, It is clear now that I am not going to know happiness soon and all I have make me feel better is to watch videos of the invisible. Honestly, I feel very bad about the lack of daring spirit in the team.

Stupid gooner

I still want to know what’s happening with saliba? Surely he would be better than Mari?

Fingers crossed we pick up. We know we’re a long way off.


Is it possible that the ownership will judge Arteta on his financial acumen? I mean of course the clubs profile and profitability is enhanced by success on the pitch, but if we (He) buys wisely and sells profitably in 2 years, and Arsenal make money, maybe the Krankees will be happy with that?
Q. Does Arteta have KPI’s involving sporting success, or financial success?

Patric Murray

The mix of young talent against the more experienced players needs to be balanced better by arteta, seems to be a lack of purpose when starting games and declines slightly when opponents take advantage of this early, I see this time and time again in previous seasons, team needs to gel better and keep up the pressure of forward playing football for all of the game.

Pete Plum

Thats an odd way to describe what happened last season. They dropped Ozil without a replacement. ESR injured. Hours without a goal from open play, clueless attack, Ozil not even in the squad. Now its airbrushed out of history.


Progress?? What progress?! On his bank account or what? Seriously he is dangerous for this club. We are sinking into toilet bowl stadium like a…

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