Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was expected by many to be the first manager to face the sack in the Premier League this season. Slaven Bilic beat him to it a few weeks ago, but the pressure was well and truly on the Spaniard.
However, the win against Chelsea on Saturday eased the pressure on the Gunners boss’ shoulders. Arsenal’s board are fully behind their manager, but if they don’t go on a good run in the coming weeks, Stan Kroenke and Edu might have to show Arteta the door.
The Sunday Mirror (via The Daily Star) claimed that Arsenal’s chiefs have a name in mind to replace Arteta if things don’t improve. The chosen one if the unthinkable happens is reportedly Rafa Benitez.
The Spaniard is currently in China where he is the boss of Dalian Professional. He doesn’t have a great record there having won just 11 of his 37 games in charge, but he is still one of the most respected managers in world football.
Benitez knows the Premier League very well. He has been at Liverpool, Chelsea and most recently at Newcastle United where he is still a fan favourite for everything he did for them during his time there.
Arsenal took the risk of appointing Arteta who had no experience at the top level whatsoever. Benitez, on the other hand, has a wealth of experience in the Premier League having managed 340 games in the English top-flight alone.
Should Arsenal replace Arteta with Benitez?
Absolutely not. Yes, Arteta has had a hard few weeks at the helm, but the Arsenal boss showed on Saturday exactly what he can bring to the table.
Arsenal completely outplayed a Chelsea side who spent in excess of £200 million in the summer. The win on Saturday would have raised the spirits at the club, and it won’t be a surprise to see us go on a winning run in the coming weeks.
Benitez is an exceptional football manager, there is no doubt about that. However, Kroenke and Edu should stick with Arteta for the time being, and back him in the January window to help turn this disastrous season around.