The culture that Mikel Arteta is trying to establish at Arsenal is one of consistency, not complacency.
After a half season of more drama than most managers go through in a decade of coaching, it seems Arteta currently has the backing of the entire club, players, and supporters. ‘Currently’ being the key word.
It is easy to be happy with a manager after they help bring home silverware. Arteta’s FA Cup campaign was a stretch that ended in happiness and comfort for Gooners, but the short time as Arsenal’s head coach hasn’t been completely steady.
He inherited a team riddled with uncertainty. When he arrived in north London, there were far more questions than answers. The team had no defensive backbone, injuries to key players forced youngsters to enter the first team prematurely, and a feeling of severe discomfort throughout the club was left by Unai Emery.
What Arteta was able to do in just a few months is admirable. He gave every squad member a clean slate, and was able to help the team find an identity to eventually help them take down some strong teams on the way to an FA Cup trophy.
Supporters should remember this as we enter next season. The short and unorthodox turnaround might create a different transfer window than expected, and we can’t fault the manager for that. It does look, though, like Arteta will welcome some much needed additions to his side.
Arsenal fans have extremely high expectations, and for good reason. The club is historically successful and have been trying to climb their way back to the top of the Premier League for some time.
Rationality is not a Gooner specialty. To expect that Arsenal are going to win the Premier League in Arteta’s first full season as manager is unfair on him, the players, and the entire club. The culture that Arteta is trying to institute isn’t short-term, so the benefits shouldn’t be expected immediately.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool project is a perfect example of a club’s long-term investment in a manager. When he was appointed in 2015, the newly appointed manager made it clear that he would be implementing a complete rebuild at the club. He was gifted a solid nucleus in Jordan Henderson and the exciting new signing of Roberto Firmino, but from there he chased down players outside of the club to help his team’s venture from mediocrity to history.
He found the electric duo of attackers in Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, and from there looked to bolster his defense. He made huge-money signings of Virgil Van Dijk and Allison Becker, and surrounded them with the young talents of Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to create what is now a Herculean lineup.
This plan was far from simple, but he had the backing of the club and the supporters. His objectives were supported from the start, and the rebuild of Liverpool led to a Champions League trophy in 2019 and a maiden Premier League trophy the year after. The club was patient enough to let him sign the right players for his vision.
Klopp’s rebuild of Liverpool should be something for Arsenal to look at when thinking about Arteta’s aspirations for the future of Arsenal Football Club. Obviously, not everything will be a shot-for-shot remake of what Klopp did at Liverpool, nor should it be. Arteta is a different style of manager and Arsenal are a different club.
Arteta’s ambition is apparent. He wants to create a new identity for the club, but he knows that lots of things need to happen before then.
After Arsenal’s win over Wolves in July, Arteta said his side could win against any team because they “enjoyed suffering together.” Before Arteta’s arrival, there were more problems than just losing games that were hurting Arsenal. Books could be written on what a bizarre season went down at the club, but simply put, The new manager had his work cut out for him upon being hired.
Now, the players are vocal about their belief in Arteta’s system and plan. Emiliano Martinez said that Arteta has been cut-throat in regards to performances since arriving, which the squad has bought into.
“We know that if we want to play and we want to be at this football club, we have to be on board. That’s good for the team because no one can relax. If you relax, you don’t train properly or you don’t perform like he wants you to, you’re out,” Martinez said.
There are still factors that need to be put into effect for Arteta to run the team how he wants. Players that fit his system and a solid support system within the club top that list, although it is much more complicated than a few signings and a simple pat on the back.
Arsenal still have a long way to go, so supporters should acknowledge the work being done by the new boss and encourage the current project that is Arsenal Football Club.