Looks like the Arteta situation is finally rumbling to a close, in classic Arsenal “drag-it-our-linger-than-needed” fashion and after Pep decided not to give anything away post-match against Oxford United last night, you have to expect that there’ll be some kind of announcement imminent.
If Arteta is to take charge against Everton on Saturday lunchtime there will have to be, you’d have thought, because if he’s announced today then it’ll be Friday to meet the players and then travel up with them too.
And I’m minded to think of the job that Arteta has in front of him. Steady what has looked like a sinking ship, arrest the rapid decline in form of some players who really should be performing better than they are, and rebuild the excitement from a fan base that had grown weary of the latter Wenger years and then were worn down by “Emeryball”, which turned out to be even duller and more rudderless than Wenger’s final season, in the end.
And the time in which Arteta has to make these changes is not long at all. This morning I got up early as I couldn’t sleep and was reading over the 1930s at Arsenal and Herbert Chapman’s time at the club. He is arguably our best ever manager, when you think that he took a middling London side with no major honours in its 50 year history, turning them into multiple title and FA Cup winners. In 1930 he helped us win our first FA Cup against a Huddersfield that he himself as built up to be one of the best in English football.
Why am I talking about Herbert Chapman now? Because when he took over at Arsenal in 1925 he said that it would take five years to turn Arsenal into a trophy-winning side. He was a man of his word and he delivered. That made me think of today. If Arteta arrives and tells us all that it’s going to take five years to make us champions I’m sure that some of us could probably accept that. But five years without gradual improvements won’t fly.
I wonder if Herbert Chapman would have been given the time to affect culture change at Arsenal if he were here today?
I’m not so sure. The need for instant gratification in this social media and instant-access age of information means tempers are short and easily frayed. I fall victim to it myself. I can’t help it. I’m just a product of my environment. But in joining now we have an opportunity to give Arteta half a season to work out what is needed and affect the kind of change where it at least looks like we’re going in the right direction in the summer.
It’s a scary time though because this could go horribly wrong if he doesn’t get players ‘on side’, as the brother of Aubameyang has been saying publicly on social media over the last 24 hours. Willy Aubameyang said in a post in response to AFTV that Arteta is the same as Ljungberg and we’ve all heard the rumours about how some of the Arsenal players were hopeful of Ancelotti joining the club. He’s won trophies, he’s recognised around the world as a good coach and so I can understand that players might want that, but although Willy doesn’t speak for his brother you can tell that he and his brother talk and it’s highly unlikely that both are on different wavelengths with situations like this.
So Arteta needs to get Aubameyang on side and that is hopefully one of his first tasks. Winning football matches will help and that’s why having him in at the weekend has to be a key priority. We all cut Freddie some slack because he hasn’t had many training sessions with the players, but neither did Duncan Ferguson and he got an instant response from his Everton players. That’s what we have to hope for this weekend against Everton and I’m crossing everything that we can get this Arteta deal done ASAP and see if he can change our fortunes this weekend with the ol’ “New Manager Bounce”. Lord knows we’ve had enough of them against us in the past, so it’d be nice to profit from one for a change.
And that’s just about all there is to say about that today. Let’s just wait and see to find out if anything happens.