Football is back and unfortunately for Arsenal fans, so are the embarrassing defensive performances and terrible defeats. This time, in their latest attempt to break the routine, Mikel Arteta and his side came away 2-1 losers at the Amex Stadium against Brighton & Hove Albion. It was Arsenal’s game in midweek against Manchester City that welcomed them back, however, as they came away 3-0 losers.
Once again, mistakes from error-prone defenders proved costly as David Luiz endured a woeful 25 minutes; the Brazillian replaced Pablo Mari in the first half before going onto make a mistake in the build-up to Raheem Sterling’s opener. If that wasn’t bad enough, he then went onto receive a red card, giving away a penalty in the process which Kevin De Bruyne happily converted for 2-0. The performance sums up Luiz’s time at Arsenal.
As for the Brighton game, it was Arsenal’s inability to keep a hold of leads that proved costly as they conceded a last gasp Neal Maupay winner. It is clear from the first two games back alone that Mikel Arteta must act brutally and efficiently in order to welcome a new era at the Emirates, starting with the transfers.
Mikel Arteta Must Be Brutal With His Arsenal Team
New Transfer Strategy Needed
What seemed like a fantastic deal last summer for Luiz seems like a woeful one almost a year later. The former Chelsea man is part of a long-lasting problem at Arsenal and their long list of transfer failings. Arsenal’s failure in recruitment has become an all too common feature at the Emirates, to the point that even when breaking the bank, they fail to find the perfect fit.
Nicolas Pepe cost Arsenal £72 million last summer just to sit on the bench in most games under Arteta, forced to watch on as academy graduates take his place. Arteta may be onto something here, however, as he attempts to replicate Chelsea’s trust in their youth system; trust that has since paid off. And, with the growing possibility of no European football next season, Arsenal may need to be brutal when it comes to outgoings this summer and the trust may need to be given to those willing to give 100%, no matter previous experience and age.
Arteta Must Say Goodbye to Uncommitted Players
Too often at Arsenal, we are seeing players who are unwilling to run the extra mile and commit everything into welcoming a new era at the club. The likes of Mesut Ozil fall under this category; the German is one of the biggest earners at the club yet rarely even features under Arteta. Just recently against Manchester City, Ozil was left out of the entire matchday squad. Instead, Arteta opted for the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka, players that have been through the Arsenal system and understand what it means to play for the club.
The decision was brutal from Arteta, but the right one. It is this nature that must continue, too, for the sake of both Arsenal’s finances and their status as one of England’s biggest clubs. Letting go of ageing players on excessive wages and replacing them with young, hungry players should be the way forward; it could be the only way forward.
The Chance to Free Up Funds
By letting go of David Luiz and Mesut Ozil, Arsenal would be saving crucial money; money that can be reinvested on younger, more eager talent. And, after taking a loss for the first time since 2002 last year, it is money that Arsenal so desperately need. The loss of £27 million will continue to grow, too, as Arsenal struggle on the pitch and fall further away from a European place. The only way to turn that loss around is on the pitch, however, and Arteta will be aware that this is a long term project with laying the groundwork the key to future success.
Replicating Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool
Perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s guide of how to turn doubters to believers to winners is the best way for Mikel Arteta to take Arsenal out of what is a devastating part of Arsenal’s illustrious history. The first step that Klopp took was making Anfield a fortress and reestablishing a strong connection between the club and the fans. He then slowly began recruiting players who were on the cusp of greatness before taking them to that level. To complete the guide, he took a risk and sold his best player to fund the mentality monsters that we see today at Anfield.
And, whilst uniting the fans may be a difficult task at the Emirates due to the culture which Arsenal Fan TV has created, Arteta can rely on his past connection with the club as a player to establish the message of unity. Arsenal may even have step one and two closer to home than most people believe.
Their academy alone is capable of providing world-class talent; talent that can take the Gunners into a new era. These steps will take time, but as long as people are patient and the brutal decisions are made, then, and only then, will Arsenal escape the growing possibility of becoming a mid-table club.