There’s probably no need to say it again and you probably won’t want to hear or read it again, but Arsenal are currently 15th in the Premier League table. What you maybe didn’t know is that Arsenal are actually having the worst season up this point since 1974-75.
As written by David Ornstein and James McNicholas for The Athletic, some of the newer staff at London Colney believe the standards at the club have fallen dramatically, and the fact that a 1-1 draw at home against Southampton in midweek, albeit with 10 men for half an hour, was seen as a positive, backs the claim up.
They’re saying that it feels as if the club have built walls around them which bounce criticism off and created a comfort zone for themselves, and if they remain there, the slide will continue. Some say it was a premature decision to change Mikel Arteta’s title from head coach to manager, though Arteta himself fully accepts responsibility.
Nonetheless, it cannot be doubted anymore that the Spaniard’s issues with player discipline have become serial. Much has been said and written about the situation of Mesut Ozil. Matteo Guendouzi fell out of the bosses plans completely after not one, but two separate incidents. There have also been reports of a clash in training between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos. And speaking about training sessions, it seems punctuality issues have arisen as well.
Some also accuse Arteta of not applying his disciplinary methods the same way towards all players, pointing to Willian being named to start against Leeds United in November after an unauthorized trip to Dubai.
Discipline has become an issue on the pitch as well. Since Arteta took over, Arsenal players have been sent off seven times in the Premier League – more than any other team, the latest being Gabriel Magalhaes against Southampton.
It seems Arteta needs to get a firmer grip on his team if he is to have any hope of succeeding at the club.