After missing out on Champions League spots last season, Arteta has seen Arsenal’s explosive start to the season, with the Gunners now five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. During the festive season two years ago, things were still very bleak for them.
Twelve months after his appointment, Arteta was under pressure: Arsenal lost four home games in a row and fans became restless after watching their side get battered by Burnley at the Emirates. And while Arsenal had a host of exciting young talent, Arteta’s squad was plagued by a number of experienced players who were no longer capable of performing well.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright saw exactly those names – and urged Arteta to drop the likes of Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian: “The coach has been with Xhaka for a while. Mikel showed a lot of faith in him I think he has the same faith in Willian, the same with Lacazette They need to do something different because if things continue like this and the coach If you continue to put your faith in these players and they don’t perform, I don’t know what will happen next.”
After two years, Mirror Football has reviewed the current situation of the players being criticized.
Although few people objected to Wright’s assessment of Xhaka, Arteta kept faith in the Swiss midfielder – and he paid off that faith. Xhaka is Arsenal’s leader in every way after leaving behind the disciplinary problems that seemed to have ruined his career.
The 30-year-old has thrived after being allowed more freedom by Arteta this year and has scored four goals and provided three assists this season. Xhaka is the person with the most positive change under Arteta.
After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy, Arteta reached out to Lacazette in the hope that the Frenchman would set an example for his younger teammates. And while Lacazette’s behavior was impeccable during his brief stint as captain, he did not perform well in front of goal.
Lacazette scored just four Premier League goals in 30 games in his final season in north London and it’s no surprise he was not renewed in the summer. Lacazatte has been in prolific form since leaving Arsenal. After returning to Lyon, Lacazette had 9 goals and 3 assists in just 15 games for the French giants.
Unlike Xhaka and Lacazette, Arteta is not persistent with Willian, who left Arsenal just 12 months after arriving from Chelsea.
Willian struggled to replicate the form that had made him a god at Stamford Bridge, after which his departure pleased all parties. The 34-year-old has returned to his first club, Corinthians in Brazil but is now back in the Premier League with Fulham.
Thanh Vu | 10:45 December 25, 2022