When it comes to changes of fortunes, Arsenal must be due some luck heading their way. Having dispensed with the services of manager Unai Emery at the end of November, the Gunners still haven’t managed to put any kind of momentum together and are very much marooned in the middle of the table.
Having seen caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg manage just one win in his five games in interim charge, permanently appointing another former Gunner in Mikel Arteta hasn’t provided the spark the supporters were expecting. As we head into the mid-point of February Arteta himself has three wins to his name from nine games, although two of those victories have come in the FA Cup.
As with North London rivals Tottenham, it appears the issues run a lot deeper than just a poor set of results and performances that cost Emery his job. Arteta comes with no front line experience although a spell as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City stands him in good stead. What Arteta needs which wasn’t afforded to Emery is time to rebuild the club from the bottom up and get Arsenal challenging minimum for the top four places and Champions League football.
Time however isn’t afforded to many these days with the game being very impatient from the boardroom down to the supporters in the seats. Arteta will be well aware that thirteen draws from twenty-five matches is some of where the issues lie, unable to kill off games which is why they sit closer to the relegation zone than the top four. However, with the unpredictable nature of the Premier League this season, the Gunners can still finish in the European placings if they can turn the draws into wins.
Whilst the winter transfer window is now firmly shut, Arteta must make the most of the squad he has at his disposable. His front two of Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have the quality to put most Premier League defences to the sword although they have rarely hit top gear together. But, it’s at the other end of the pitch where Arteta has the most problems where David Luiz hasn’t hit a consistent run of form since his summer move from Chelsea and Leno at times has looked anything but reliable between the posts.
The Gunners face some crucial games over the remainder of the months with a return to European action facing Olympiakos whilst Everton and Newcastle Utd both visit the Emirates. If Arsenal can win both games whilst advancing in Europe, there is something to play for as the season nears its final months.
Arteta will hope for a bumper size war chest to be able to revive the Gunners fortunes over the summer and with Euro 2020 on the horizon he knows his European stars will have very little time off before the new season starts so reinforcements are a necessity to endure a better Premier League campaign.
Liverpool aside, there is a thought that the league won’t be so open in 2020/21 but the Gunners have much work to do if they harbour hopes of Champions League football in the near future or risk becoming just another mid-table team dreaming of what used to be.
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37