There’s been plenty of talk about Arsenal choosing to stand by Mikel Arteta despite their recent struggles, but it’s only natural that speculation has been rife as they’ve plummeted down the table.
The win over Chelsea has surely given the Spaniard some breathing room, while a few more victories will extinguish any relegation talk and they could still look to make an outside run for European football next season.
The biggest problem is that there hasn’t been many true signs of progress this season, so it’s perfectly understandable that the Express have indicated that some of Arsenal’s hierarchy want to make a change.
Rafa Benitez is the suggested name that they are hoping to bring in, so he would signal yet another change in direction if the club actually decided to go down that route.
They’ve has the highly touted European manager in Emery and the promising coach/club legend in Arteta, so Benitez would bring something very different with his experience and more pragmatic approach.
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His teams tend to be focussed on keeping things tight and the football might not be so exciting, but he’s hugely experienced in the Premier League and could be the steadying presence that Arsenal need just now.
They confirm that he’s still managing in China but he’s starting to lose patience and wants to return to Europe, so Arsenal are interested in bringing him back.
It would be an interesting one because he would probably be a good appointment, but you also get the feeling he’s a manager who steadies the ship and lays the groundwork for someone else to come in and build on rather than being the manager who would transform Arsenal into title contenders again.
You could be sure that they wouldn’t be in this position if he was the manager since the start of the season, so it will be interesting to see if these links get stronger over the next few weeks.