Arteta Should Have Been Appointed Arsenal Boss Sooner

Q. What did you make of the game at the Emirates earlier in the season?

Honestly, I had to look back at that specific result to remember it! Much of this season has blended together in lacklustre performances, disappointing results, injuries, and self-inflicted destruction. Arsenal’s centre back pairing (Sokratis and Luiz) scored both of the Gunners goals in the opening ten minutes, Pepe got the start, and Dani Ceballos was still fit. Giving up those two goals to drop two points was indicative of what was to come and really that game was the start of the decline for Unai Emery. Arsenal never won another match from then until Emery was fired.

Q. How has the season gone for you since then?

Well, Arsenal kicked off against Manchester United in 13th place and Mikel Arteta was on the sidelines as the club’s third coach this year. That’s obviously not where Arsenal want to be or expect to be. Unai Emery clearly wasn’t a great fit and a change was needed. Not really to save this year, but to get started on what will be a big rebuilding project. They had some tough luck with injuries, specifically to Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney, so the backline has been makeshift all year. Hopefully, Wednesday’s win is the start of a more stable period.

Q. Is the appointment of Mikel Arteta a popular one among the fans and was the timing right to make the change?

Yes. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone upset at the appointment of Arteta. The only disagreement might have been should it have been earlier, should they have gone straight to him rather than have Freddie Ljungberg as interim manager for a while, or should it have happened this past summer.

Q. How active do you think the club will be in January and what are the needs?

In attack, I doubt they add anyone. If Mikel thinks he needs another player they will keep Eddie Nketiah, who just ended his loan with Leeds United early. In midfield, I can only see them adding a player if Granit Xhaka leaves for Hertha Berlin, which appears unlikely now. Defence is where I think we will see them make a move. Callum Chambers is now out for the rest of the year, both left-backs have been out at times, there is no true backup to Bellerin, and the third best option at centre back has been Mustafi until Rob Holding gets fit and in form again.

Q. The introduction of VAR this season has not gone to plan so far – what is your view of the system and how it is being used?

In general, I don’t have a problem with VAR. I follow Major League Soccer closely and they’ve been using it for a few years without much issue. I think the problem in the Premier League is the implementation of VAR and how they are using it. Someone’s armpit being one inch past a defender’s heal is not the intention of VAR, or at least now how MLS uses it. Instead, it should be used to fix clear and obvious errors – red card tackles that were missed, obvious offsides, etc.

Q. Who will win the title this season and which three teams will be saying goodbye to the Premier League?

Liverpool. It’s over. I just hope they lose a match so they don’t join the Invincibles. For relegation, I’ll go with Norwich, Bournemouth, and Aston Villa, but I expect another 3-4 teams to still be at risk with a month to go and it’ll go down to the last matchday.

Q. Who has shone for Arsenal so far this season?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bernd Leno have been the top performaers, while Gabriel Martinelli has been a surprise and one to watch for in the years ahead.

Q. Which Arsenal player do Palace need to keep an eye on in the game?

I think Arteta will rotate heavily for the FA Cup match against Leeds on Monday. If he does, I’d say Pepe. He has the talent and is one of the few Arsenal players that like to take on the opposing defender.

Q. Perhaps you could share your views on what you expect from Palace this season?

In general, I expect Palace to finish somewhere in the 7th to 13th range. Not breaking into the top 6, but also no risk of relegation. Play entertaining soccer and be a place where younger talents or new faces to the Premier League shine.

Q. Your prediction?

2-1 to Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s turnaround continues and Aubameyang gets on the scoresheet.

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  1. Good article!

    I don’t believe Arteta should have been appointed prior to the wheels completely coming off. Coming in mid-season has allowed the fans really get behind him, if he had come in the summer made transfers and the season started as bad as it has then the boo boys and the #ArtetaOut would have started. Freddie had to be put in place as City weren’t going to just let him go without getting a plan in place and also Arteta would have been involed in a lot of the background work for the last few games prior to leaving.

    Overall very happy that this man is in place now and can finally bring the Arsenal style to the new era of football!

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