What a job Mikel Arteta has on his hands. Inheriting a team that lacks defensive qualities and a backline that has been deprived of any care or attention for years.
Arteta selected his best centre back pairing in Mustafi and Marí against Manchester City. Mustafi’s time at Arsenal has been fairly mediocre and there are no signs of that changing any time soon.
Marí has only two appearances so he gets a pass. With twenty four minutes on the clock all of Arteta’s plans changed when the Spanish centre back was replaced by David Luiz.
The reason Luiz was on the bench is the very reason why he only lasted twenty five minutes on the pitch. He is a liability.
Whether it was desperation or a half hearted attempt by the powers that be to show they were trying to solve the teams centre back issues, purchasing Luiz left most football fans baffled on his arrival to the Emirates.
There is no doubt Luiz was brought in for his experience. But he plays like an eighteen year old. Taking too many risks on the ball. Getting himself in all sorts of trouble. Why hasn’t he matured as a player?
The best players make the least amount of mistakes. The Brazilian made two huge mistakes in twenty five minutes and his team mates efforts where flushed down the toilet within two minutes of a game.
The first mistake leading to Sterlings goal is embarrassing for a professional, a senior professional at that. When he let the ball bounce off him, half turned and no idea what he was trying to do himself was not just a mistake.
Its complacency, it’s a lack of concentration, it’s not caring about the club enough to be mentally focused and prepared. It’s thinking about his contract situation and moping about after not starting.
Its lazy. That’s one thing that creeps into his game and often. To drag back Mahrez in the box and at an angle when he still had work to do against Leno who was having a really good game with multiple goal saving saves was lazy and unforgettable.
A stat on Luiz that came out after the match was that every six games playing for arsenal he was giving away a penalty. That’s unacceptable.
What’s also unacceptable is Arsenal leaving London on a plane at 5pm for a game that kick off at 8.15pm! That can’t be right. And with Xhaka and Marí taken off injuried after only 24 minutes it is something Arteta must review.
Asked if David Luiz had played his last game for the club, Arteta said: “I don’t know. He is very open, he is a leader and I was sure he was going to speak in front of everybody. You heard what he said, he was very direct with us too.
“That is what I value from him and that is what I like from him. We need to be fair on him. Me personally, I am going to defend him with everything I have because I believe in him. He has shown me a lot of things in his time here and his career speaks for itself.”
Surely this is just a manager who feels he has to show support to his players in the media. To keep a positivity within the group. A unity that they are all in it together.
Time For Change
The Arsenal manager will be heavily judged on how he approaches the transfer window this summer. It’s a tell tale sign of how his time at the club will unfold.
Keep players like Luiz and Özil and he is basically accepting the same fate of Wenger (towards the end of his term) and Emery. He cannot let the players dictate the standards. He needs to be ruthless.
These players must be forced out of the club starting now. Özil does what Özil wants to do and that is very little most of the time. So it was good to see he wasn’t involved in the match day squad at all despite being available.
If Arteta decides to keep them no matter what the reason is then his destiny is sealed. They are a bad example to the rest of the squad and the youth players involved in the club.
Of course who he brings in is as important as who he releases. Proposed players personality and their mentallity traits are huge when looking for new recruits. Technical ability alone is not good enough.
They can not afford to fail again in the transfer market as Arsenal as a club are slowly blending back into the pack. They are slowly turning into an average football team.
It is a huge summer for Mikel Arteta’s managerial career, recruitment is the key. If he isn’t strong enough it may be over before it starts. But there is some good news for Arsenal fan’s… David Luiz is suspended.