Monday , 6 February 2023

Sinking ship: what’s wrong with Arsenal

At the end of 2019, Josh Kroenke, the son of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, urged the fans of the London club to be patient. The team was led by a young and promising Mikel Arteta, who needed time. Ex-player of the “gunners”, a student of Josep Guardiola — from the very beginning, they began to expect a lot from the Spaniard. The specialist raised the bar for himself by heading a big club and having no head coach experience. He became the second Arsenal manager after the Arsene Wenger era. Unai Emery, under whose leadership the Gunners reached the final of the Europa League, cut in between them. Now such achievements can only be dreamed of in London.

Stan Kroenke - Josh Kroenke

Arteta got off to a good start. First, the “Pushkari”, under the leadership of a young specialist, won the FA Cup, and then the Super Cup. But in the domestic arena, things were not going well for the London club. In the 2019/20 campaign, Arsenal finished in 8th place in the Premier League standings. Last season, the Gunners took the same position. In the current campaign, things are going very badly for the” gunners”. Arsenal lost the first three matches of the season for the first time in 67 years. The Gunners lost to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City. The Londoners lost three games with a total score of 0: 9. The” Pushkari ” struck 29 shots on goal but did not score a single goal. Now Arsenal occupies the last, 20th place in the Premier League standings.

In England, the Gunners are perhaps the most discussed team at the start of the season. Of course, no one seriously thinks that the “Pushkari” will be on the verge of relegation from the elite division. But at the same time, it is evident that there are serious problems in the London club. The management allocates money for transfers, the team seems to be building, but something goes wrong. Arsenal’s strategy is clear. The Gunners want to create a young, promising and combat-ready squad that will compete on equal terms with the best English clubs. Artete is bought for every player he wants to see in his team. It’s time to act.

Last summer, Arsenal spent the most in England on transfers. The Gunners have signed six players under the age of 23. All of them cost the Pushkars a total of 156.8 million pounds. Nuno Tavares (Benfica, 8 million pounds), Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht, 15 million), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna, 19.8 million), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United, 30 million), Martin Edegor (Real Madrid, 34 million) and Ben White (Brighton, 50 million) have moved to the London club. Gabriel and Thomas Parti also joined Arsenal last season. They are also far from veterans. One is 22 years old. The other is 27. The Gunners now have the youngest team in the Premier League after Norwich and Brentford.

Freddie Ljungberg - Joe Willock

The transfer policy of the “gunners” is generally clear, but some decisions of the Londoners are surprising, for example, the sale of Joe Willock. The midfielder showed himself well at Newcastle, scoring eight goals in the Premier League for half a season. The Arsenal graduate showed good performance as a central midfielder, but the Londoners still sold the player to the Magpies. Instead, they signed Lokonga, who needs time to adapt to a new team and a new league in his place. At the same time, the Gunners retain forward Eddie Nketiah and midfielder Anzley Maitland-Niles in the squad. Both players get almost no playing time at the Emirates, but they take place in the application.

“Pushkari” failed with the transfer of Willian, but they were lucky that the Brazilian agreed to terminate the contract without financial compensation. The team consists of 6 players whose contracts are calculated until the end of the current season. This list includes Eddie Nketiah, Bernd Leno, Sead Kolasinac, Alexander Lacazette, Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny. The Gunners were actively working in the transfer market but ignored the players mentioned above. As a result, each of them, “pushkari”, can lose next summer for free or will be sold for a penny in January. This is a serious flaw on the part of management. The contract issues of these players should have been dealt with a year ago.

But Arsenal’s problems are not limited to cabinet shortcomings. Inside the team, too, everything is not calm. A series of defeats upsets everyone. But what do football players do for a positive result? The Gunners don’t have a team right now, and it’s not just a large number of newcomers who still need to be integrated. The “Pushkari” play very poorly, both as a team and individually. Londoners often lose single combats, make serious mistakes in defence and act uncertainly near the opponent’s penalty area. All this could be corrected if the problem was only a weak mutual understanding between the players. But it seems that it’s all about psychology.

Arsenal F.C. - UEFA Champions League

It is quite possible that Arteta does not fully control the situation in the locker room. According to rumours, Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are dissatisfied with the coach’s decisions. If the team coach does not have an understanding of its captain, nothing good should be expected. And the Gabonese himself, frankly speaking, is not a strong leader. Scoring a lot does not mean leading the team. This is another problem for Arsenal. The Gunners have no leader. Perhaps Granit Jaka would have been suitable for this role, but the midfielder already had the captain’s armband, which he lost after a scandal with fans. And in general, the Swiss sometimes has problems with discipline.

At one of the press conferences, Guardiola said that the management of the London club trusts Arteta since it allocates money for transfers to him. Maybe so, but there are also questions for the Spaniards. If the team plays as it can and not as it should, this is the problem of its mentor. To be a good coach, you need to, first of all, be a good psychologist. Standing at the head of a men’s team is not an easy task, especially when there are 20 people in this team. But this is the task of the coach-to make a single organism out of these completely different people that will be able to achieve high goals. Arteta is still far from this, as is his Arsenal. Young professionals study a lot, but the Spaniard no longer has time to learn. The Gunners have already reached the bottom, and they have only one way out – to push off from it.

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