All or Nothing Arsenal series makes it hard not to like Mikel Arteta 1 month ago

All or Nothing Arsenal series makes it hard not to like Mikel Arteta

Passion, passion, passion.

Full disclosure, I am not an Arsenal fan, and up until now haven't really had much of an invested interest in the decisions that the club make.

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I remember when Mikel Arteta was appointed as the Arsenal manager, and how it coincided with Carlo Ancelotti's appointment as the new Everton boss. I had thought that surely the roles should have been reversed there.

Yes, Arteta played for and captained Arsenal, but he was every bit as much a Toffees legend for his time at the club under David Moyes, and with all respect to the Merseyside team, it would have been regarded as the smaller job.

So, with the vast experience and several European Cup medals in his trophy cabinet, surely Ancelotti would be the man to take the Gunners role, and the much less experienced and youthful Arteta would still be thrust into a huge job managing Everton.

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Of course, football doesn't work that way and now that the Spaniard is embarking on his fourth season in charge of the north London team, it's clear to see that the club have been vindicated for their decision.

Although successful at Everton, Ancelotti was quick to jump ship once a better offer came, and the club have already had to replace his replacement, leaving them unstable and stagnant.

Arsenal on the other hand, may not have made the enormous leaps of improvement that the fans would have wanted, but the trajectory is definitely on an upwards curve.

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After Arsene Wenger left - a man who controlled every single aspect of the club - things were bound to be thrown into chaos. You only need to look at Manchester United and the hangover they still have since Alex Ferguson departed almost 10 years ago.

A young, passionate coach who can be a friend and a disciplinarian is exactly what Arsenal needed to restore order, and although Arteta often has his arm around the shoulders of his players, he isn't afraid to push them out the door either when tough choices need to be made.

Following two seasons finishing eighth and one FA Cup already bagged, the All or Nothing Amazon series documents his third year in charge of the club; a year which heralded incredible drama within the dressing room.

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Team captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the main man, the goalscorer, leader and at the heart of everything that was good about the way they play football.

However, following a poor run of form and several disciplinary breaches, Arteta was cold and unwavering in his convictions, refusing to compromise his principles, and stripped the Gabon international of the captaincy before shipping him out to Barcelona.

Despite the fact that they just sold their most prolific striker right at the end of the January transfer window, the young manager was not going to be forced to panic-buy a replacement.

Even without their star man, they so nearly secured that elusive fourth place, but Arteta's patience has paid off and this summer, he got the right man to replace Aubameyang in the form of Gabriel Jesus.

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Football fans may be fickle and impatient, but the manager needs to be strong enough to look beyond that, think long-term and ignore all of the noise.

Like when Jurgen Klopp refused to give up on signing Virgil van Dijk - even when Southampton wouldn't let him go in the summer market, and they had to endure poor defensive form until they got him in January - they have never looked back since.

Arteta's team speeches are very creative and innovative as well. His energetic exuberance as a coach won't allow team talks to grow stale and lose meaning. He often draws diagrams on the board and he asks players thought-provoking questions, like when he asked: 'what's more important, the journey or the destination?'

The answer was neither, but rather the company you have - either on the journey or at the destination - underlining his emphasis on teamwork and togetherness.

Bukayo Saka has also been comfortably placed under the wing of his watchful gaffer, alongside Emile Smith-Rowe, with a clear objective of nurturing youth and homegrown talent.

Going into his fourth season in charge, this team is very much Arteta's team, and he now has the players he needs to implement the style of play he wants to.

However, that does mean that there are no more excuses. The Spain native has to take full responsibility for the outcomes of this season, and after watching the way he goes about things and the genuine passion that he has for football, I hope that he is successful in bringing the club forward.