‘Takes the pressure off’ – Sky Sports pundit backs Arteta to flourish as Arsenal will give him time to build

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Former Arsenal ace Paul Merson has backed Mikel Arteta to flourish as his coaching ability will come to the fore with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic limiting spending.

The 38-year-old was appointed as Unai Emery’s long-term successor in December, with performances and results improving for the Gunners under his stewardship.

Since the start of 2020, Arsenal have eight wins, four draws and just one defeat across all competitions, while conceding just nine goals in those 13 outings.

In turn, the improvement is surely there for all to see given the struggles under Emery prior to his departure, and so there are already positive signs at the Emirates.

However, Merson believes that the economic fallout of the pandemic could ultimately work in Arteta’s favour, as it will give him time to rebuild and work with what he has rather than falling behind the club’s rivals who would have perhaps been in a stronger financial position to splash out and continue to bring in better players.

Time will tell if that’s the case or not, but with Arsenal seemingly going in the right direction under the Spaniard, Merson makes a good point below.

“Every manager is different. I’ve worked under some great coaches who weren’t good managers, and I’ve worked under some great managers who weren’t good coaches,” he told Sky Sports. “You need the team around you, the coaches around you to challenge you. When you have a coaching staff around you who don’t, and are just yes men, that can be a problem.

“But I think this situation helps someone like Mikel Arteta. Arsenal need such an overhaul of players that it’s actually almost impossible to get that many players in. There’s now an opportunity for him to work with the current crop, and I think it actually takes the pressure off of Arteta, and now anything is a bonus.

“Arsenal’s expectations will be nowhere near as high as they were a few months ago. I think he’ll now be given loads and loads of time to build. He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, and he’ll want to work with younger players.

“He’s not a Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, who I’d call your Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys, they’re just dealing in majors, nothing else! Arteta is the type who might work from the ground up with lesser players.”

There is no doubt that Arsenal boast a talented crop of young players, and so given the opportunity to continue to grow and develop under Arteta, he’ll hope that he doesn’t have to bring in countless new faces to close the gap on their rivals above them.

Nevertheless, it all depends on whether or not other clubs do struggle to justify big spending this summer, but if so, with the talent already at Arteta’s disposal at Arsenal and with William Saliba also set to return this summer, it could be reason for optimism just as it is for Merson.


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