Arsenal’s home match against Southampton could well be the defining game in Mikel Arteta’s reign.
Sitting 15th in the Premier League table, the Gunners desperately need a win, not just for the fans and to get their league campaign up and running, but also to ease the pressure on their manager.
The Spaniard has come under some serious heat over the last two weeks and rightly so. Granit Xhaka’s red card is just another instance where Arsenal was in control of the match, similar to the Leeds United game, then a red card cost them any chance of the three points.
On Sunday, Arteta was again let down by the players he has put his trust in.
Arteta is the right man for the job, isn’t he? He has a remarkable tactical mind and led the club to the FA Cup just four months ago.
So why has it gone so horribly wrong?
Many fans suggest it is down to the manager, while others have laid the blame on the players. Whichever side of the debate you are on, both have valid points.
Arteta has baffled the mind with his team selections recently, giving games to his senior players when it is clear that the youngsters who cruised through the group stage and barely make the matchday squad are more deserving of an opportunity.
He continually puts his faith in certain players and week after week they let him down. Is Arteta trying to get these players into form or does he simply not trust the younger players in his squad?
William Saliba has been ready for first-team football for weeks, while Emile Smith Rowe has all the ingredients that Arsenal are missing in the final third. Why have they not been given a chance?
But ultimately, it does come down to the players. They are the ones on the pitch and are trusted with putting their gaffer’s plan into place. Yet so many have been sub-par.
Arteta has previously stated that he does not have the proper players to play his desired style of football, yet his project seemed to be working when the club won the FA Cup. January presents a chance to bring in some quality recruits, however there is a real chance Arteta will not be there.
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It would be a shame if Arteta were to lose his job, as his quality is there for all to see. However, he simply does not have the players to carry out his vision.
It truly is make or break for Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side.
Something has to give.