Arteta needs to change the whole Arsenal mentality
After their most Arsenal of Arsenal implosions against Chelsea, only two teams have now won fewer games than the Gunners this season. They are Norwich and Watford, the 19th and 20th placed sides in the Premier League.
It’s almost becoming cruel to watch Arsenal fans get excited about 30 minutes of good football, as they were after their first-half display on Sunday, only for it to all disappear down the toilet. It’s a bit like observing a kid on one of those fairground machines with the grabbing claw, picking up the teddy bear and carrying it halfway to the hatch before — o, cruel fate — it slips from the claw’s grasp and the child’s spirits are crushed. We all know they’re not actually going to get the teddy bear, but for a short while there’s enough hope to make them think it’s possible.
Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal manager for two games now and at least he has a full appreciation of the job he has on his hands, if he didn’t before. He not only has to fix a football team but change a mentality that runs through a whole club, a sense that the four minute spell in which Bernd Leno waved at a cross to let Jorginho score then Tammy Abraham was politely allowed to spin and finish, was inevitable. Not so much a consequence of two individual mistakes but a manifestation of an entire club’s vibe.
The good news is that Jurgen Klopp has managed it, albeit in different circumstances, and some of the raw materials are there for the new manager. Arsenal have some terrific players, if they all stick around, and if Arteta is afforded the time he can still fix them. A lot of time, of course.
Lampard reveals Chelsea’s inspiration for comeback win
Frank Lampard explains how an aggressive half-time discussion helped Chelsea beat Arsenal.
Remember that Lampard is still learning
How much of Chelsea’s comeback against Arsenal can you put down to shrewd tactical changes by Frank Lampard? Maybe not much, but it is at least encouraging that Lampard is being proactive: When Plan A wasn’t working he quickly shifted to and tried something different, switching systems and personnel significantly. Obviously you could say that he is simply throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks, but it’s easy to forget that this is still just his second year as a manager. There’s going to be a lot of that.
Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to Southampton was troubling, but there will inevitably be these bumps and bad results and even bad runs of form with a young coach and a flawed squad. For the moment, Chelsea should be relatively content with where they are.