Horrifying Arsenal stat surely spells the end for Mikel Arteta

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A quite shocking stat shows just how unacceptable it is for Arsenal to be playing without European football, and surely it’s further reason for Mikel Arteta to be sacked.

Granted, Arsenal have never won the Champions League, European football’s crown jewell, but that’s not to say that the club doesn’t have a rich history on the continent.

From the win over Parma in the 1994 Cup Winners Cup final, to the victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, courtesy of a quite brilliant Thierry Henry goal – Arsenal are a club that needs to be playing in Europe.

MORE: Video: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang agonisingly denied Arsenal winner by inside of the Villarreal post

Thierry Henry celebrates after scoring for Arsenal in a famous European night in Madrid.

Unfortunately for the Gunners, tonight’s defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final second leg all but confirmed that they won’t be, for the first time in over 25 years.

Unai Emery was sacked for less. It’s difficult to see how (and why) Stan Kroenke would decide to keep Mikel Arteta on beyond the end of the season, with the former Manchester City assistant having failed miserably.

Arsene Wenger delivered European football for the club year after year. Even Emery managed it, and he didn’t last long. Arteta’s looking to finish in the top half, and nothing beyond.

That’s just not Arsenal. Surely he’s on borrowed time now?

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  1. Mikel Arteta is likeable and he knows his football, but he lacks the clout and the courage to manage a club like Arsenal.

    People keep applauding his courage for benching Mesut Ozil; but the player that replaced Ozil, Martin Odegaard, managed 1 goal and 0 assists in his half season with the Gunners. Ozil was never that bad. While Odegaard may, one day, be an impact player, anyone watching the semi-final match against Villareal will have to conceded he’s not one now. The same is true for Emile Smith Rowe. 4 assists and no goals in a full season.

    Arsenal fans blame Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubemayang for poor form? Forwards can’t score if their midfielders can’t pass. Arsenal’s best passing midfielder is Granit Xhaka, who plays a holding role. He doesn’t score either. Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil were surplus to requirements, and they were replaced by two players who have 1 goal and four assists combined. On their worst years, either player performed better than that. Congratulations on joyfully running your two best midfielders out of town.

    Fans have decided that the new scapegoat is Hector Bellerin. He was Arsenal’s most pro-active player all game; until his brilliant manager hooked him. He made run after driving run. Saka and Martinelli both showed their inexperience, constantly driving at defenders who actually knew how to defend, and turned the ball over repeatedly. Smith-Rowe was a none factor. Tierney actually played well, creating chaos on his side of the field, as Bellerin did on the right, but when the centered the ball, other than Aubameyang, there as no one there to score.

    While this loss is hardly the tragedy it is being made out to be, and it is certainly not an accurate reflection of the game or this team. Emery is being given all kinds of plaudits for besting his former club; but get real. Aubameyang was six inches from changing everything. Twice. That’s not dominance by Emery or a collapse by Arsenal, it’s just luck. Bad luck, but luck none-the-less.

    If fans want to be angry, look at a club with world class players wallowing in ninth place. That’s what people should be pissed off about.

    Aubameyang, Lacazette, Bellerin. Partey… this are top-class players.

    Xhaka, holding, Mari, Tierney, Saka, Pepe… these are very good players.

    Sure, Arsenal have some underachievers. Their goal keepers are weak, their central midfielders do not produce, and players expected to provide depth, like Willian, Elneny, etc. while not poor, have not shone.

    Arsenal have been, as a unit, average. Which is mid-table, which is where they are. And yet, the idiots who screamed for Arsene Wenger’s head and kept blaming him as Emery and now Arteta failed to reach his levels of performance, are now saying the Gunners need to sign Brighton’s left back and central midfielder.

    Yves Bissouma, a holding midfielder, who does not score or provide assists, does what Thomas Partey does. Maybe he’s better, maybe not; but Arsenal needs a central midfielder and #10 that score and provide assists. They do not need another holding midfielder. They do not need a right back unless Bellerin is fed up with being the whipping boy (and who could blame him) and leaves. Whoever Arsenal sign will not be as good.

    The experts, fans, and executives at Arsenal who ran Wenger out of town have used the word ‘progress’ all season. After 20 years of top four finishes, 3 titles and 7 FA Cups, Arsene Wenger was pushed out for finishing 5th and 6th in consecutive seasons. Maybe my math is fuzzy, but I am reasonably certain 9th is worse than sixth. I am equally certain that 8th is worse than sixth.

    So., how can two consecutive finishes below the performances that got a legend fired count as progress? Players that pundits and fans did not like were moved on, and replaced with players who have performed worse. Arsenal are giving up fewer goals; but they are scoring fewer too. Wins are what decide the quality of performances.

    Mikel Arteta was a mistake. It’s his own fault. Want to see a smart man piloting his managerial future? Take a look at Steven Gerard. Went north and took the reins of a club looking to return from the dead, led them to glory out of the pressure cooker of the premiere league and will be a hotly sought after commodity if he decides to leave the Scottish Champions. By contrast, Arteta and Lampard, two former players took over their legendary clubs and looked utterly and completely mid-table. When you start at the top, there’s nowhere to go but down.

    Arteta probably has the first two months of next season to show he can make this work. I hope he does. He probably won’t. He won’t sign the right players. He won’t play the right players, He won’t hold the right players accountable, and he’ll lose his job for those reasons. And he should.

    Arsenal need four players. Three first XI players and 1 reserve. They need a first team goalkeeper who is a leader. Ilan Meslier from Leeds is the man. He could be the next Ederson. The team needs a central mifilder who can score goals and provide assists. There are two proven Premier League options. Youri Tielmanns is the player the Gunners need to sign. He scores, he assists, he defends, and he is durable. James Ward-Prowse is another candidate. They are both massive upgrades on Dani Ceballos and Xhaka. Marcel Sabitzer and Julian Draxler are also options, but will cost as much or more and will take time to settle.

    In the #10 role, swapping Odegaard’s 1 goal and 0 assists for something like quality there are three good options. Philippe Coutinho is the surest thing. He scores, he assists, he’s available, and he knows the league. Not setting the world on fire is at Barcelona is not proof that a players sucks. Alexis Sanchez was a bit player at Barcelona and was Arsenal’s best player for three years. If Coutinho is deemed damaged goods, a raid on Everton for James Rodriguez would be the next-best thing. Draxler can also play as a #10.

    At left back, Arsenal need a player who can step in, play meaningful minutes, but be relatively happy with a secondary role. Owen Wijndal from AZ fits the bill. Cedric is not good enough to play extended minutes against top opponents, Saka is too valuable up front, and Xhaka, while game and gritty, is not a left back.

    Signing Bissouma, Julian Brandt, or Martin Odegaard will end with Arteta out on his ass. Keeping Leno as his number one, ditto. Letting Bellerin walk for 20 million… no worries, I’m sure Pep Guardiola has a place on his staff for Mikel.

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