With the Community Shield coming up later today, let’s have a deeper look at the man who got Arsenal there. The boss, Mikel Arteta.
When Arsene Wenger finally decided it was time to say goodbye at Arsenal after 22 fabulous years, it was obvious that there would be big changes at the club. Wenger’s Arsenal were so consistent, they were often snubbed as boring by rival fans. However, Wenger’s replacement, Unai Emery was anything but consistent. Whilst in possession Arsenal looked like a formidable team, too often they were caught short defensively. Emery was not well liked by Arsenal fans and in the end his sacking was inevitable.
Many big names were circulated around the vacancy, however it was a man with no managerial experience that got the job. Former player, Mikel Arteta left his position as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, to take over his old club. Arsenal finished a disappointing 8th placed in the league but won their first piece of silverware post-Wenger, the FA cup.
So how has Arteta so swiftly changed the mood at Arsenal?
When Arteta signed for Arsenal as a player from Everton, the club were in a sticky patch after having just lost 8-2 to Manchester United. But Arteta’s strong leadership qualities steadied the Arsenal ship and kept them in the top four. Arteta went on to become club captain and is regarded as one of the club’s best acquisitions in recent times.
And it appears that these leadership qualities have only been strengthened in his managerial career. Mikel Arteta now speaks a staggering seven languages so that he can communicate with all of his players. Those that know Mikel best have described him as a ‘natural leader’ not a bad skill to have for a manger.
Now Arteta is calling for his players to reciprocate his leadership skills and implement what he calls a ‘culture of leadership’.
Man Management Skills
Arteta has dealt excellently with two very talented but highly temperamental players, Granit Xhaka and David Luiz.
It was thought that Granit Xhaka would never play for the club again when the then Arsenal captain swore at Arsenal fans after they applauded his substitution. Emery striped Xhaka of captaincy and the Swiss international was set to leave the club in January. However Arteta took over and managed to talk Xhaka into staying. Since then Xhaka has been an integral part of Arteta’s side.
Another character Arteta has dealt superbly in recent months with is David Luiz. Luiz has had an excellent career in football however he has always carried an unpredictability. And since signing for Arsenal he has not been up to the required standard defensively. In the first match post-lockdown, Man City beat Arsenal 3-0, with David Luiz conceding a penalty and being responsible for making a mistake in the lead up to another goal as well. Before coming off injured. Many fans thought he should not be playing for the club next season. However, Arteta responded by extending his contract. Luiz has since been fantastic for Arsenal and was arguably man of the match when Arsenal exacted revenge on City in the FA cup.
It is always good for a manger to be well respected and here are just a few quotes about Arteta:
Leroy Sane, who worked with Arteta at City, said this about his old assistant manager, “People always ask me about training under Pep, but the things I’ve learnt from Mikel Arteta!”
Pep Guardiola also has high praise for his apprentice saying, “He will have success, yes. He’s a young manager, he’s 37, so he is so young but he has experience already to handle big players and teams and when it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. He’s helped me a lot. From day one, so not just the last two seasons, from day one. He has an incredible work ethic, and he has a special talent to analyse what happens, and to find the solution”
So Arteta is a good leader, can manage individuals and is highly thought of in the footballing world. But that is just a snapshot at a man with many qualities and whilst his career is only just starting, he is looking like one of the most promising young managers in the world.