There are plenty of reasons to be happy about the future of what Mikel Arteta’s reign as Arsenal manager could look like, and there are also plenty of reasons to be a little bit concerned. We’re five games into proceedings with four in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup, and so far, we’ve seen two wins, two draws and just one loss. When you put it like that, everything seems to be going fairly smoothly.
One step beyond
Then, however, you flip it around a little bit, and suddenly the picture becomes a lot more distorted. One of those wins came in the FA Cup against Championship side Leeds, the win in the Premier League was against a struggling Manchester United side. The draws were against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, with the latter being especially questionable as a result of the Cherries’ horrendous run of form as of late.
The problem is that people will argue the other side of the coin and continue to make claims that suggest Arteta is the second coming of Pep Guardiola. We can appreciate the enthusiasm, but how about we all take this one step at a time? Rome wasn’t built in a day and we honestly believe that it’s been a pretty underwhelming start so far.
Pump the brakes
Which takes us to the game against Sheffield United. Firstly: it’s taking place at the Emirates which should immediately signal that the Gunners are going to be the favourites. Secondly – on paper: Arsenal are a much better team from pillar to post than the Blades.
Neither of those things will matter, though, and that much is just kind of obvious. We all know the issues that come with facing a team like Sheffield United, and we’re interested to see how Arteta deals with it all. If he doesn’t, then expect a few eyebrows to start raising.
How big is the game against Sheffield United?