‘I won’t be getting excited’ – Collymore says Arsenal need to do more to convince

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Mikel Arteta continues to impress as Arsenal coach, with the FA Cup victory over former employers, Man City, the latest 90 minutes to evidence his credentials.

Coming so soon after a win over Premier League champions, Liverpool, it showed a steely defensive side to a team that have often been accused of being a little lightweight.

Although the north Londoners look to be going from strength to strength, former player-turned-pundit, Stan Collymore, wants to see a fair bit more from the Gunners before he’ll anoint the Spaniard as Arsenal’s new saviour.

“I won’t be getting excited for Arsenal fans until they are in the thick of it, at the top, in the fire of a new season,” Collymore wrote in his Daily Mirror column.

“But I’ve liked Mikel Arteta’s last few weeks of work.

“I’m not convinced about Arteta suddenly changing Arsenal from softies to hardened title contenders. But I may have misjudged the Spanish coach.

“He’s more than the quiet, nice guy demeanour that he exudes. He is proving tough and flexible.

“[…] There’s a pragmatism that I have not seen at Arsenal for some time now, that is raising expectations.

“Arsenal is a club that needed dusting down and new life breathed into it when he took over in December.

“They needed a way of playing that wins football matches in several different ways, not just trying to pass teams off the park, no matter what.

“[…] Next season, when there’s a clean slate, will be the test. He can win the FA Cup by beating Chelsea – that is a step.

“Can he say in September: ‘Right, great honeymoon. We kept Aubameyang, kept Lacazette. We can go to Anfield, the Eithad, and win’?

“That’s when I will change my opinion from naysayer, to interest piqued, to someone who believes in this Arteta process that Gunners’ fans tell me about.”

Given that Unai Emery had a similarly impressive spell not long after taking charge at the Emirates Stadium, Collymore’s caution is understandable.

However, what Arteta does appear to be getting right is bringing back a definitive identity to Arsenal’s play, and that’s something that’s been missing since the Arsene Wenger era.

Time will tell if he can take over the mantle from the Frenchman, or if this will be another false dawn.

More Stories Alexandre Lacazette Arsene Wenger Mikel Arteta Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Stan Collymore