Great Britain

Mikel Arteta is a massive risk – mentally weak Arsenal need a manager not a coach

THIS is a massive risk for both Arsenal and Mikel Arteta.

While the Gunners have looked all over the place at times, on-field tactics are not top of his to-do list.


Almost everything at the club has to change — with the mindset among the squad the most pressing thing.

For too long now Arsenal look more like a team of individuals than a cohesive, collective unit.

Just look at how the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester go about their business.

As soon as they lose the ball up the pitch — whether it be Sergio Aguero, Mo Salah or Jamie Vardy — they are instantly the first line of defence.

When Arsenal lose it the attitude is more, “Well, I’ve done my job, now it’s your go”.

Their defence has been getting battered from pillar to post but the whole team becomes separated far too often.

And I don’t think this comes down to tactics — it’s about professionalism, discipline and demanding more of your team-mates.

When an Arsenal player makes a mistake, too often I see other players throwing their hands in the air in exasperation.

So while this is far easier said than done, changing the mindset of his new player is his primary challenge.

In the immediate-term on the pitch, Arteta must not fall into the same traps that Unai Emery did.

There was no consistency under Emery, who played around six different systems while not playing players in their best positions.

By all accounts Arteta is a brilliant coach, trusted implicitly by Pep Guardiola.

When he was a player — and Guardiola was yet to arrive on these shores — the now-Manchester City boss would speak to Arteta to get information about any English team he was playing.

He used to take a lot of the training at City as well — but is a coach what Arsenal need now?

I’m all for young managers being given an opportunity but it doesn’t get away from the fact that employing someone with no managerial experience for such a big job is actually a massive risk.

One way in which the club can help is by getting a lot smarter in the transfer market.

Last season only two Premier League teams scored more than Arsenal — but eight conceded less.

So why on earth did they go and break their transfer record on an attacking player like Nicolas Pepe?

Pepe is a good player who came from Lille — a team known for being dangerous on the counter-attack.

But Arsenal don’t play that way, because teams don’t allow them too.

Their problem for years now has been a lack of a dominant centre-back.

Wouldn’t it have made far more sense to spend that on a defender?

Time will obviously tell whether Arteta will prove a hit at the Emirates.

But with the scale of the job at hand, I have my concerns.

Mikel Arteta says he feels back at home as he is unveiled as new Arsenal boss

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