Arsenal in ruins: Arteta now faces club crumbling around him

Mikel Arteta flexed his muscles by backing Arsenal fans’ Super League protests… as supporters rage at the hated Kroenke ownership and grow disillusioned with form on the pitch, the Spaniard has his work cut out to stop the club crumbling around him

  • It has been a turbulent week all round for everyone at Arsenal Football Club 
  • Fans reacted furious to the club pledging to defect and join the Super League 
  • Boss Mikel Arteta praised the fanbase for sending the strongest message ever
  • Arsenal sit in ninth in the table and risk missing out on all European football 

If Mikel Arteta didn’t already have enough on his plate at Arsenal, the recent Super League debacle which has left a dark cloud hanging over the Emirates was the last thing he needed.

Arsenal are a team in a period of stasis, lacking direction and shrouded in uncertainty.

The appointment of Arteta was supposed to herald a new dawn; an inventive Arsenal who would do things differently and be at the forefront of modern European football.

Instead, the club has struggled and large swathes of the fanbase feel the manager has not been adequately backed with his rebuilding plans and in the transfer market generally.

Arteta flexed his muscles this week when he spoke glowingly of the fans impact in bringing the proposed European Super League to a grinding halt, despite Arsenal being one of the 12 clubs keen to board the gravy train.

Mikel Arteta faces a monumental task of somehow stopping Arsenal crumbling all around him

The Spaniard refused to be censored and spoke his mind as he told reporters: ‘When the fans have to come out and talk, they’ve done it really loud and clear, and they sent probably the strongest message that has ever been sent in the football world.’

He went on to outline that the fans were able to ensure ‘the right thing’ was done, despite the fact that the prospective riches of the closed shop project would have hugely benefited Arsenal.

Arteta added: ‘And every club, leaving their interests apart, has done the right thing – which is, they are the ones (the fans), we have to listen to them, we put it aside and in 24 hours we kill the project. So that is a massive statement for the history of football.’

Supporters took to the Emirates this week to unleash their fury against the ownership

So, what now? Arteta has effectively spoken out against his employers and remains faced with the weekly hardship of navigating an Arsenal ship which appears unable to plough through rough seas.

The Gunners sit 9th in the table with only a handful of fixtures left to play, and run the very real possibility of missing out on European football of any kind next season.

A number of issues need to be resolved, and quickly, for Arsenal to have any hope at all of emerging from this doomed campaign with anything intact.

Crossed wires

The ownership of Arsenal claim to be in touch with the fanbase and understanding of the principles of the famous east London club.

Alas, given the dramatic and rather public collapse of the Super League, this appears to be incorrect.

Arteta says the way the ESL plans unravelled highlighted the enormous power of supporters

The Gunners were one of 12 European clubs to sign up for the £4.6bn breakaway league

ARSENAL’S FIXTURES LEFT TO PLAY…

Everton (H) – Premier League

Villarreal (A) – Europa League semi-final first leg

Newcastle (A) – Premier League

Villarreal (H) – Europa League semi-final second leg

West Brom (H) – Premier League

Chelsea (A) – Premier League

Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League

Brighton (H) – Premier League

TBD (N) – Potential Europa League final 

Just like John W. Henry at Liverpool or the Glazers at Manchester United, the Kroenke family are finding out the hard way that you cannot take an historic football club and completely manipulate its future trajectory, no matter how many figures your net worth amounts to.

In football the fans will always be king, and now both Stan Kroenke and his son Josh have found out the hard way, yet again.

During a fan forum this week Kroenke Jnr was told by prominent Arsenal Supporters Trust member Akhil Vyas: ‘Do you not understand English football? You do not interact with fans. You have no clue.

‘English football is clearly not for you. You should leave.’

Now, even though the Super League project has fallen apart, anti-Kroenke protests are still due to take place ahead of Friday night’s home clash with Everton.

Addressing club director Josh Kroenke, the son of owner Stan Kroenke, Ian Wright said that the club should have to earn the right to play Europe’s best teams

So many wires have been crossed and it is down to the powers that be at the Emirates to untangle these are quickly as possible.

Fans want success and a return to the glory days. They’re willing to back Arteta and offer patience to a long-term project, yet before them all they can see is simply an under-resourced manager and owners will a pure focus on the club’s balance sheet, eager to turn profits regardless of the cost.

Consistency

For all the wild fires which may raging off the field up in the boardrooms, Arsenal really have to get back to doing the business on the field.

It has to be noted, for Arteta, that the Gunners have struggled with injuries to key personnel this season, with the likes of star defender Kieran Tierney and mercurial talent Bukayo Saka each spending lengthy periods on the treatment table.

Inconsistency has badly stung Arsenal this season and explains why they still wallow in 9th

But, with that said, the division as a whole has been struggling with crocked players. This is perhaps the most testing season in recent memory and the Gunners have certainly underperformed considering the calibre of player they have.

Arsenal have been badly stung by inconsistency this season and it’s costing them dearly.

In the last six games alone the Gunners have been held to draws by Fulham, West Ham and Burnley while being hammered by a depleted and out-of-sorts Liverpool at home.

It’s the kind of frustrating spell which has left even the most dedicated and understanding Arsenal fans questioning whether Arteta really is the man to take the club forward.

Lack of consistency has stretched back years and has led to Arsenal falling away as a top team 

League fixtures against Everton, Newcastle, West Brom, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Brighton remain.

A large portion of those fixtures should be expected victories for the north London giants.

Arteta now needs to cut through all the noise and concentrate on the task at hand. Focus on his principles and style of football and see the points over the line for his side, in order to salvage something for next season. 

Clear planning

Regardless of league place finish, potential trophies won or overall budget, Arsenal really do need to wise up this summer when it comes to their planning.

It was no secret that Arteta was left underwhelmed 12-months ago by Arsenal’s failure to carry out his full plans for a pre-season preparation, though the side were handed a boost with the deadline day arrival of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.

Now, however, the Gunners need to get it right from the off.

All teams have felt a bitter knock-on effect from the coronavirus pandemic, though as teams begin to re-emerge from the bubble and get back onto two feet, Arsenal simply cannot risk being left behind.

The son and father Kroenke duo must realise that things could still get a whole lot worse

Targets must be identified, the right players sold and the right faces brought in. The club will , in the near future, once again feel the increase of revenue as football fans return to the stands.

Clear and concise planning for the club, well in advance, will determine exactly what sort of mood these fans return in.

Arsenal could yet go on to life the Europa League trophy this season, and in doing so finally break back into the Champions League elite.

Should this be achieved, it would considered criminal for the club to enter next season ill-prepared and be ejected at the first hurdle.

If that were to happen, a whole new dimension of anger would encompass the club.

The Kroenke-led regime may think things are bad now, but they had better believe it could still get a whole lot worse. 




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