You could hardly have blamed Mikel Arteta for accepting Arsenal’s invitation to become their manager as early as 2019, but in retrospect it is starting to look like a very ambitious move.
Sitting next to Pep Guardiola for a few years is good and good, but the leap from assistant manager to manager is huge, and being at the helm of such a massive club in his first managerial role ever is quite the challenge.
Mikel Arteta’s men were beaten 2-1 by Hibernian / Steve Welsh / Getty Images
Arteta’s tenure has been under increasing scrutiny in recent months after the club failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years, and defeat against Hibernian in their first pre-season outing on Tuesday night is not the start he will have wanted their campaign. 2021/22.
Arsenal fans are constantly urged to “trust the process” but everything is just starting to sound a bit like PR junk to us. After their shocking defeat against Hibs, 90min has looked back on Arsenal’s worst defeat since Arteta took over in December 2019.
It may not seem like a bad loss on paper, but given the way Arsenal played and the size of the occasion, their defeat to Villarreal at the end of last season was a shock.
Arteta learned a leadership lesson from former Arsenal boss Unai Emery and had it not been for the Villarreal boss’s negative tactics, the Europa League semi-final would have ended after the first leg.
Manu Trigueros gave the home side the lead within five minutes with a powerful strike before any miserable Arsenal mark made it possible for Raul Albiol to double the lead within half an hour.
Nicolas Pepe’s penalty for the second half gave the Gunners some hope but the injury had already taken place and a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium a week later spelled the end of their 25 years in Europe.
A terrible night for Arteta and definitely one of his worst in the lead.
Again, it is hardly a disaster to beat a team like Tottenham, but how Arsenal fans thought their side was the better team was frightening.
Jose Mourinho’s side did what Jose Mourinho’s sides did, sat behind the ball and closed up the press before hitting the team at the break. The Gunners had 70% possession and twice as many shots as the Spurs had, but the home team still collected more shots on goal and basically did a job on their north London rivals.
Adopting Guardiola’s style of play is all well and good, but the difference between his team and Arteta is that he has players in the last third who can unlock defense – without you just ending up with meaningless, boring football and that’s exactly what Arsenal did here.
Arsenal are often accused of lacking leadership and not being strong enough, and it was two moves that raised their ugly heads in Brighton in Arteta’s first season.
The away side bounced off Mat Ryan’s goal and should have been ahead long before Pepe’s strike led them 1-0 with just a quarter of the game to play.
Against a side struggling for Premier League survival that had not won in their last nine league tournaments, the Gunners should have had more than enough to see the win, but instead crumbled the ones we have become so accustomed to seeing.
Lewis Dunk’s goal 15 minutes from time gave the Seagulls an equalizer before Arsenal completely lost their head and conceded a 95-minute goal to Neal Maupay when they lost the match 2-1.
A symbol of poor game management.
Burnley had not won an away match all season when they traveled to the Emirates in December 2020, so good for Arsenal to give them an early Christmas present.
Arteta’s men had countless opportunities to break the deadlock – collected 18 shots on goal in 90 minutes – but their shocking finish meant that the result remains locked at 0-0.
Still, you would have liked Arsenal to find the breakthrough sooner or later – that was before Granit Xhaka decided to grab Ashley Westwood by the throat and was sent off.
Lack of discipline came back to Arsenal again when Burnley began to take control of the game, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late own goal gave Clarets all three points.
Do not be fooled into thinking that Arteta put a weakened team against Hibs or that he just wanted to give the players a run. The Spaniard even said after the match that a number of the decisions he made with his start XI were tactical and he played a very strong team.
Eddie Nketiah missed an absolute sit-in early before Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo made a clown of himself by looking like a drunk who had found a football outside a pub while trying to hack a clearance, allowing Martin Boyle to knock on a empty net.
Arteta threw more of their big players in the second half but their situation only got worse as more disgusting defense allowed Daniel MacKay to go home on the back post to make it 2-0 to the home team.
Emile Smith Rowe took a late consolation but it turned out to be an embarrassing night for Arsenal.
Undoubtedly Arsenal’s worst performance under Arteta.
The Gunners were second best for every ball against Aston Villa at the Emirates in December last year, with Jack Grealish pulling the strings and making the Arsenal defense look.
The Englishman almost caught an early assist himself when he lost John McGinn who hit the ball home, but the visitors were denied by a marginal offside call.
They did not have to wait long to take the lead when they tore apart Arsenal’s defense before Bukayo Saka put through his own net, while Ollie Watkins’ second half gave Villa an emphatic 3-0 victory.
The score did not flatter Villa at all and if anything they could have gotten more, with Arteta herself admitting after the match that it was the worst he had seen his side play since joining the club.
Trust the process but guys, ey?