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No risk, no reward: will Arteta let Arsenal’s creativity off its leash?

Arsene Wenger watches on

It was a familiar sight, back in the Wenger era: Arséne glued to the manager’s throne, watching the game along with the rest of us, knitted brow, shaking his head, letting his team muddle their way to a solution to their on-pitch problems. I’d scream at him through my TV set – implore him to get up and do something… make a substitution, berate a careless player, point out an obvious fix.

Hell, even just walking up to the sideline and waving his arms in that massive coat of his – the one with the faulty zip – would have been better than doing nothing, surely? But he would just sit there, stubbornly let the match unfold, and it would frustrate the living daylights out of me.

Fast forward a few years, and now Le Prof’s protége, Mikel Arteta, is in the driving seat. Except he very rarely is. In the driving seat, I mean… Nope – he’s perpetually planted on the touchline, toes touching it like an athlete waiting for the starting gun. Constantly barking instructions in multiple languages to his charges:

“Run, Eddie, run, Eddie! Eddie Eddie Eddie!”

Every single action is analyzed, eagle-eyed, and a real-time correction is issued to the relevant player:

“Go back, go forward, press, tackle, pass wide, clear it, mark him, no… him!”

Fingers point, hands dance, arms flail.

arteta-arsenal

No-one can accuse Arteta of being detached, uninvolved.

In fact – there have been whispers of the young gaffer possessing an over-controlling nature, accusations of micro-management, as fans and pundits attempt to explain Arsenal’s lack of creativity, their poor Goals For column tally, and the dismal returns of their strike force.

Arteta’s footballing knowledge is well-documented: the intensity with which he prepares for games is legendary. He is a lover of tactics, formations, and is comfortable devising intricate gameplans to nullify opposition threats, as Arsenal’s defensive record has proved.

Apart from the games against Aston Villa and Liverpool, in which Arsenal conceded 3 goals apiece, and the 2-1 loss to Brighton – the Gunners rarely concede more than 1 goal. They have yet to concede off of a set-piece in the Premier League (the only team still to do so). And Arsenal has the second-lowest Goals Against record in the league.

It is no secret that a good defense wins leagues: George Graham’s impermeable back four (Adams, Dixon, Bould and Winterburn) proved this beyond any doubt. Wenger’s most successful period at the club was with the defense he inherited when he joined the club.

With recent signings Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney consistently producing man-of-the-match-worthy performances, half of a world-class defense looks to be in place, promising a solid structure on which to build possible future title-winning teams.

aubameyang arsenal spurs

Current Club Captain Aubameyang is a world-class striker: a lethal and clinical finisher who won the Golden Boot in 2019, and was runner-up in 2020. When he signed a new contract in the summer of 2020, it was touted as a real coup, and fans rightfully rejoiced. However he has only scored twice in 9 EPL matches (and only once from open play) – easily his poorest run of form in many years, and though it is easy to blame this poor stat on the fact that he is played ‘out of position’, starting out wide never stopped him from producing the goods before.

Auba’s strike partner, Lacazette has huffed and puffed, but only has 3 goals in 7 appearances to show for it. Young Eddie Nketiah has one goal in eight for his efforts.

These figures make dismal reading. Fans want to see goals. They make games worth watching. No-one wants to see the monotony of an ineffective attack: tedious swinging of the ball in a horseshoe around the opposition’s box, an inability to penetrate, slow transitions from defense to attack, and barely any attempts on target…

But what is causing this malaise? Is Arteta’s system stifling creativity? The low-risk, conservative approach has improved our defensive stats, but playing it safe in a highly competitive league definitely won’t deliver goals, and goals win games…

The young Spaniard needs to let his creative players off their leashes – let them make mistakes, as frustrating as that may be… Players like Pepe produce occasional flashes of brilliance, but only when they are allowed to express themselves freely. Like signing up at one of these 5 Euro Deposit Casinos – a relatively small initial outlay could produce some great rewards if used responsibly… Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

arteta-wenger

“Chill, dude.”

Perhaps Arteta just needs to get the balance right: not invest in defense at the expense of attack. Ease off the reins a little during matches – take a page out of Arséne’s book: sit back and let his players find their groove, and produce those little bits of unexpected magic that football lovers everywhere live for.

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3 Responses to No risk, no reward: will Arteta let Arsenal’s creativity off its leash?

  1. jjgsol November 27, 2020 at 10:26 am #

    What a shame.

    I thought that I had found a great blog that gives a good and fair account of our beloved team, but does not gratuitously plug betting sites in the posts, entirely out of context.

    I see I was wrong.

    I am off.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  2. Gunners Town November 27, 2020 at 10:58 am #

    Occasionally we insert paid links into articles. It’s how we cover our overheads. It doesn’t happen frequently. It’s a necessary evil. We find it less invasive than slide-ins pop-ups and cover-overs.

    In this case, the article wasn’t written around the link (obviously) and should stand on its own merit.

    That said – sorry that you were triggered. Thanks for your feedback. And good luck in your search for the perfect site.

  3. jjgsol November 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm #

    I appreciate that you have overheads, but I am afraid it cheapens the message and effect of the posts.

    I am sure that I will be back occasionally because I enjoyed the articles that I had read, but the insertion of irrelevant betting adds, simply spoils it for me.

    Have a good weekend.

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