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Mikel Arteta’s second big test

Mikel Arteta, like every manager, will have to pass through a series of tests at Arsenal and while he passed the first one, the second won’t be easy.

This has been one hell of a tumultuous season for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta coming in to save the day right when it felt like we were doomed to a midtable finish. But now that he’s here, it’s been nothing short of incredible.

Isolating the table to Arteta’s reign alone, the Gunners would be fairly securely in a Champions League spot, with one of the best defenses in the Premier League and a Golden Boot contender as well.

In the early goings, Arteta’s first big test came against Chelsea, and what a test it was. At Stamford Bridge, the Gunners were up against it when David Luiz got himself an early red card in the 25th minute. This gave way to a 1-0 Chelsea lead.

Mikel Arteta’s second Arsenal test should inspire confidence

As fans, we’ve seen the Gunners knocked out far easier and far earlier. But they didn’t quit. They leveled the score with Gabriel Martinelli despite being a man down and, after Chelsea went 2-1 up, the Gunners again answered back via an inspired strike from Hector Bellerin.

The first test passed, right? Arteta was dealt a bad hand with the early red card, but the troops stayed motivated, the tactics stayed sound and no one could make a case against Arsenal being the better side on the day. They should have won, honestly, but that’s going to sound biased.

That’s been the one test against the big six for Arteta, with the second coming against City. And while it’s a small sample size to choose from, it definitely should give us a spot of confidence that, matched up against a team that should be our equals, the Gunners will rise to the occasion and, at the very least, fight for every minute and every blade of grass. They did that and more against Chelsea, and with the personal touch of Arteta going up against his former mentor, the want and need to step up is doubled.

Again, small sample size, yes. But all in all, if you believe in what Arteta is doing, that hesitation that we always feel before a big match really shouldn’t be there.

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This is a different club, a different mentality, a different man in charge. And when you have so many small differences, it’s bound to make a big difference.

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