Arteta apologises to Arsenal fans after defeat at Brentford
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came under-fire last season for poor results with the Gunners – and he has done himself no favours at the start of the new campaign following the 2-0 loss to Brentford on Friday. Arsenal were lambasted for the majority of last season after languishing in mid-table for the majority of the season, although a strong finish helped them achieve 8th – albeit their joint-worst finish since 1994-95.
There were a number of factors involved; what primarily contributed to their downfall was a lack of signings compared to the rest of the Premier League, with the arrivals of Willian, Thomas Partey and Gabriel the only ones to strengthen the first-team – all three were ultimately underwhelming.
Alongside this, fan pressure to sack boss Mikel Arteta – who despite playing wonderful football at times, fell short more than he should have – brought negative energy around the club.
And, with an ageing squad and no sign of leadership bar Granit Xhaka – who contributed with his leadership by forming aggressive outbursts and red cards – it is no wonder as to why Arsenal failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 26 years.
But with Arteta tipped to be the first manager for the sack, there are some players who will not feature as much as a result of his potential dismissal. Express Sport looks at which players could pay the price for the Spaniard’s departure.
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Oh, what could have been for Willian. Having played for Chelsea for seven seasons, with the world at his feet, he won two Premier League titles and a Europa League in a largely successful spell at Stamford Bridge.
Yet, as his contract expired, he did the unthinkable – move to rivals Arsenal on a three-year contract.
Not unthinkable as in betraying Chelsea – far from it; in fact, it was the fans of the Blues’ who were laughing at Arsenal’s sheer stupidity in offering a 32-year old player a three-year contract.
Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian produced his worst numbers in his career last season, who behind Nicolas Pepe in the pecking order, is only going to get worse.
And if Arteta is sacked, the new manager will most definitely see him as a wasted commodity – the worst part is there are two more years left.
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Emile Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe has shot to stardom in the last twelve months.
Spending the 2019-20 season on loan at Huddersfield Town, the Croydon-born midfielder seemed as though his days were numbered after a failed loan to Leipzig the year before.
However, reinvigorated by the arrival of Arteta, Smith Rowe has been a key part of Arsenal’s midfield this season as him and fellow youngster Bukayo Saka quite literally pin up the hopes of an entire fanbase.
Although, with Arsenal linked with Martin Odegaard and James Maddison, the England U21 international’s place in the team may be at risk as the new boss may prefer experience to propel Arsenal up the table.
Chambers and Hector Bellerin form a strange coalition. The pair have been solid right-backs in the past – Bellerin especially – but more sparingly than consistently.
Bellerin would have featured on this list last season, but with the Spaniard wanting out of the Emirates, it is Chambers who would likely be axed should a new manager come in.
For a right-back who isn’t brilliant at attacking, it would be expected that Chambers would be good at defending. However, with both Brentford goals coming down the right-hand side, Chambers has to be looked at as a weak point by the new manager.
Kieran Tierney is much better on the left, and the player that resembles him most offensively is Ainsley Maitland-Niles; not as rugged, but the 23-year-old offers an outlet and athleticism – something Chambers doesn’t.
Lacazette is a curious case. The Frenchman is by no means Arsenal’s worst player, of course – but he is expected to be up there with the best at the club.
Yet, for someone with a reputation like Lacazette’s, he doesn’t produce anywhere near as much as he should.
True, he has scored over ten Premier League goals per season since his £53million arrival from Lyon in 2017 – but there is that longing feeling that he should have scored, well, more.
It isn’t that he is a bad player, but that if Arsenal want to get back to their former best in terms of strikers – van Persie, Henry, Adebayor even – then Lacazette is not the man to do it.
If they want to progress, the Gunners need to sign a new, hungry striker – and by not being Arteta’s favourite if the Spanish boss was to leave, Lacazette could soon be looking at the exit door in north London.
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