Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting

Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting on the Spaniard to turn things around after their miserable Europa League exit

Mikel Arteta is under pressure to transform the fortunes of Arsenal following their feeble Europa League exit to Villarreal.

The Gunners crashed out with a whimper on Thursday, a result that virtually ended their hopes of qualifying for European football next season.

It is understood the club’s hierarchy are not convinced an immediate change is necessary, with the unusual circumstances of this Covid-hit season providing some mitigation.

Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting

Mikel Arteta’s position as Arsenal manager isn’t immediately under threat despite their exit from the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night

Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting

The Gunners’ players react with dismay after their elimination to Villarreal at the Emirates

But the Gunners board are disappointed at the way the season has developed during Arteta’s first full campaign in charge and want to see significant improvements from the start of next term.

The pressure inside the Emirates i s building following the semi-final defeat by Villarreal — managed by Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery — with the 39-year-old running out of time to convince the hierarchy he is the man to lead Arsenal in the long term.

If, as expected, Arteta survives the summer, a poor opening to the next campaign will leave his role in serious jeopardy. 

There is recognition at Arsenal that Arteta does not yet have the full squad of players to carry out exactly what he wants and owner Stan Kroenke will make funds available this summer.

But there is also an acknowledgement that having no European football next season would be a major blow to the club’s recruitment plans.

Arsenal received just under £39million from UEFA for their run to the 2019 Europa League final and less than £30m last season when they were knocked out at the last-32 stage, an indication of the sum that will be out of reach next season.

The players will miss out on thousands in pre-agreed bonuses as a result of failing to qualify for the Champions League. On top of that money, players who have European qualification clauses written into their contracts will lose out, too.

Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting

Arteta is set to be in charge at Arsenal by August despite a disappointing season at the club

It is likely that Arteta will have the opportunity to start the season with a refreshed squad. There will also be a number of outgoings. But the Spaniard will head into the campaign with his position under scrutiny.

Some of that also comes from within his dressing room, with results, tactics, team selection, substitutions and his man-management beingquestioned by some members of his squad.

The two formations Arteta gambled with in the two legs against Villarreal — Arsenal’s biggest games of the season — were ones that had not been tried out in matches before.

He deployed a false nine system in the first leg and then 4-1-4-1 in the return match at the Emirates. Arteta said he understands supporters’ concerns about Arsenal’s decline.

Mikel Arteta will still be Arsenal manager at the start of next season but pressure is mounting

Arsenal are highly unlikely to be in European competition next season after Thursday’s loss=

Next season will be their fifth in a row out of the Champions League after 17 successive campaigns in it. 

In his bid to find out the reasons for the slide, along with internal analysis which cannot be discussed publicly, Arteta said he is questioning everything, including, ‘Is it the manager?’

He added: ‘We have not been competing with the top clubs in this country for five years. A project has its phases and I am telling you we are in a much better position today to be where we want to be very soon, if we do what we have to do. But we have to be ruthless.

‘There is no time to waste and there is a lot to do. We have to look what happened there to understand how we can make the most of it.

‘We cannot be crying and stuck on what we don’t have. We have to see what we do have and maximise it to get what we want.’

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here