There can be few doubts that Mikel Arteta is a good fit for Arsenal, despite his appointment representing something of a calculated gamble. The North Londoners have famously gambled before on the management front and come up trumps. There is, therefore, no need to get more than medium-sized jitters about the arrival of a man whose profile fits the bill on many levels.
Standing shooting the breeze at half-time on Thursday night, in a humiliatingly half-empty stadium, the like of which we’d not seen since the inauguration of the Gunners new home in 2006, it couldn’t have possibly been more glaringly obvious that Unai Emery’s number was up.
The pressure is on Unai Emery to deliver at Arsenal this season. Failure to finish in the top four or win a trophy could signal an abrupt end for Arsene Wenger’s successor at London’s biggest club. Wenger’s early success and general brilliance ultimately afforded him 22 years running football affairs so replacing him was always going to be a challenge despite fortunes waning towards the end of his reign.
It’s easy to believe the FA Cup has lost a bit of its shine after Arsene Wenger lifted the famous trophy three times in four years but still lost his job because it was the ‘only’ thing he won; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t clubs going into this year’s third round desperate to reach Wembley.
It’s never a good day for Manchester United when they lose to Liverpool but to offer such a toothless display and be beaten so comprehensively by their bitter rivals, as they were in the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday, was clearly the final nail in the coffin for Jose Mourinho, writes
The most-improved player award isn’t always the most coveted of titles, ranking somewhere above ‘clubman of the year’ but well below the more meaningful individual honours; but for two players at Sunday’s North London derby it is a story worth telling.
They’re coming home, they’re coming home, the footballers are coming home… Well, to their home from home at any rate, the heroes and villains, the few triumphant and the many also-rans, all back from a sensational month in Russia and returning to what nobody ever calls the ‘bread and butter’ of the Premier League (#notthegreatestleagueintheworldbutwedontcallitthateither).
Arsenal will celebrate Arsene Wenger’s 22-year managerial reign around his final home match against Burnley tomorrow, but the party lap of honour is in danger of turning into a funeral march after their Europa League humbling in Spain.
For a fixture that has offered us the Battle of the Buffet, the sight of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane snarling at each other like a pair of Rottweilers on steroids in the Old Trafford tunnel, this was a particularly low-key, some might say sad, way for Arsene Wenger to bid farewell to Manchester United.
It’s certainly been a week for unlikely bedfellows getting pally. Trump manhandled Macron; the two Koreans hugged; and then, most unexpectedly of all, Old Trafford embraced Arsene Wenger. Where once would rage ‘shooting by other means’ now reigned sentimental applause.
The rise and fall of Arsène Wenger: An insider’s account of how the historic success of Arsenal’s greatest manager ultimately contained the seeds of his own downfall.
Tonight’s Europa League semi-final first leg between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid brings together two teams and clubs who are mirror opposites in many ways — including the personalities and philosophies of managers Arsene Wenger and Diego Simeone.