If ever a game of football could demonstrate the current demise of Arsenal then the 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City at the Emirates was that game. And yet, remarkably, out of the horrendous defeat — the Gunners were three down within the first 20 minutes and were hopeless and hapless at the same time — could come some good.
For sitting on the opposing bench as assistant manager to City boss Pepe Guardiola was former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta. As well as surveying all that was to like about his City side, Arteta would have seen at close quarters what was wrong with the north London outfit.
And now he has emerged as the leading contender to take over the hot seat at the club following the axing of Spanish coach Unai Emery two weeks ago. In the meantime, former Arsenal attacker Freddie Ljungberg has been in temporary charge but he has overseen just one win in four games — two draws as well to be fair — and after yesterday’s dismal display it seems as if he won’t get the nod as first team coach.
But Arteta? Well, he is certainly a very credible candidate. indeed, after the loss yesterday the Gunners managing director Vinai Venkatesham and colleague Huss Fahmy were pictured leaving Arteta’s home in Manchester making the swirl of speculation surrounding the next manager of the club gather gusto.
The mainstream media seems to be united in the opinion that Arteta wants the job. The bookies would agree with the news that the former Everton schemer has now been made short-odds favourite to land the role.
The question is, will Ljungberg be asked to steady the ship until the summer before Arteta can take charge? Or will he be happy to quit City and immediately take the position? One way or another, these are trying times for Arsenal and they continue to be just that in their next game — Everton away.
The Gunners go to Goodison Park on Saturday for a 12.30pm kick-off to take on the Toffees and the players will no doubt be keen to redeem themselves after what was a lacklustre performance against City at the Emirates Stadium.
Season ticket holder Chris Adsett says he would approve of Arteta being handed the job — he says he ticks the box in being aware of the heritage and history of the club, as a former Arsenal player, and that he has been at the cutting edge of a successful team as Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.
“It’s tricky but Arteta does seem to have all the ingredients to be a good fit for the club. I hope we can sort it out soon because we are all over the shop at the moment.”