“The saddest thing ….is that many fans don’t want to set any goals for Arteta. IMO deep in their heart, they are admitting that Arteta is not up to a Top-4 fight. It is frightening how our expectations have been driven down.”
Apparently spending a boatload of the Kroenkes money, buying new and expensive players, has immunized Arteta and his technical director, Edu Gaspar, from having to achieve the traditional high standards that were demanded of previous managers.
For those who have forgotten; in his last six years Arsene Wenger spent an average of €86million on new players annually and averaged 4th place. He was kicked out of the job in 17/18 a year after spending €113million and coming 5th. Emery had barely spent €86million the year before he was sacked. In contrast Arteta has spent €280 million in 2 years to finish 8th and 5th and is treated as untouchable. Already he has been lavished €132.06million for new players in 22/23 and is seemingly under no pressure to make top-4.
Let us take Edu’s recent interview with Skysports. Listen closely at the 47 second mark.
Edu avoided setting any explicit goals. According to him “The project is not linked to the champions league.” Instead he made broad statements of intent; that it is all about the squad getting better and better every year. He then concludes that it is all about winning games, after which the champions league will follow.
Curiously, the same day he was on TV, there was publication of his interview with “The Athletic” when he stuck his neck out to predict a major campaign ahead for the club in 22-23:
“I gave the club a five-year plan. I said to Mikel and to the board:
‘”Guys, 2022/23 will be the season we’re going to be much better.”
So he promises we will be much better but does not give us a standard to measure this planned improvement. Obviously teams set goals in terms of points, goals scored, goals conceded, etc. Surely the team, the owners, management and fans should be challenged by a grand objective for this upcoming season. It is well known great teams, like great organizations, set their members and stakeholders inspiring goals that are galvanizing and unifying. Not in this case apparently.
What Edu seem most enthusiastic about was emphasizing the investments they have made in the squad. Clearly he thinks, and correctly so in my opinion, that fans care more about new signings than competing at the top-level in the champions league. Don’t forget that back in the day, certain gooners, in their crazy desire to demean Arsene Wenger, used to argue ‘why participate in the champions league if you can’t win it?’
For further proof that Edu’s evasiveness was a big hit among Arsenal, I suggest you read the comments at the end of the video. Below are a couple with the greatest Likes:
“Essentially what I’m hearing is top 4 or being in the champions league isn’t the priority, but building a good squad that can win consistently is. And in Edu’s mind winning is more important. I can respect that.” (234 Likes)
“Always backed Edu and Arteta. They’ve brought back the hope Arsenal fans needed. People doubted the process, but now that they see the process is heading in the right direction, more and more fans are supporting the team. If people can’t see we’ve improved, they’ll remain haters. Pleases me everytime Arteta and Edu prove them wrong. Humble pie always tastes bitter” (70 Likes)
Seems many of our fans have the memory of a goldfish. How quickly they have forgotten how Arteta contrived to miss top-4 despite United and Tottenham doing their level best to simply hand it to us. For long periods both our rivals suffered managerial turmoil and played well below their potential. We on the other hand were a team often playing with the handbrake on, devoid of offensive ideas especially against mid-table teams who sit deep and counter-attack.
One would hope that with the likes of PL-seasoned, ex-ManCity players, like Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko, Arteta would feel more confident about overcoming our weaknesses from the past year.
If Mikel is as good a manager, as Edu extolled in the video, then surely he should be tasked to at least challenge for top-4. But apparently most fans are afraid to make that demand. Either we have been hoodwinked by Edu’s excellent PR or intuitively we don’t believe Arteta is up to the challenge. Which is it?