Mikel Arteta: Trust the process
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Sunday's defeat confirmed that Arsenal have now had their worst start to a Premier League season in history.

With that they find themselves in 14th place and eight points off their bitter rivals Tottenham, ahead of the North London Derby on Sunday.

The performance against Wolves was nothing short of appalling from the team, with very little positives to take from it.

Fans and pundits have asked whether Mikel Arteta is the right man to make things right and get Arsenal back to where they want to and should be.

But as we approach his one year anniversary at the club, a lot of praise needs to go to Arteta for the work he has done in what has been a year where he has had to rebuild while trying to deal with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the row over Mesut Özil.

  • Emery vs Arteta

Social media was quick to condemn Arteta with comparisons to his predecessor Unai Emery, even claiming he had fallen short of his standards of management.

Now the main point made is that at around this stage one year ago, Emery had just been sacked with The Gunners' sitting in 8th place on 18 points, while currently the club are 14th with only 13 points.

However, the bigger picture is being missed completely. Emery in all competitions had a 55.1% win rate, while Arteta is on a 55.6% rate of winning games. 

Now although goals per game have gone down, goals conceded, one of Arsenal's big problems for many years, has been reduced from 1.28 to 0.91 per game.

Many seem to forget, this is Arteta's very first job as a head coach, having previously only been the assistant at Manchester City. Emery on the other hand, before Arsenal, had been in management for 14 years, managing six clubs.

Whereas many players seemed to look bemused at Emery's instructions, with Arteta there appears to be more clarity on the pitch with a lot more faith in the former captains ideas and philosophy.

The plan in the match is clear, but at this moment in time it just isn't clicking, possibly owing to the current crop of personnel Arteta has at his disposal.

  • Guardiola and Klopp's Slow Starts

The last two managers to win the Premier League were Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, both of whom were questioned when they arrived in their respective jobs.

Guardiola at the time even called his first season with Manchester City a "disaster", with the Cityzens finishing 3rd and not winning any silverware, while Klopp's Liverpool finished 8th in his first year in charge, not seeing a trophy to his name until his 4th season, in the form of the UEFA Champions League.

Now with Guardiola, the argument can be made that he joined at a time when City were only two or three signings away from the perfect team, highlighted in his 2nd season when they won the League Cup and set many records, including most points to win the Premier League title.

However, with Arteta and as was the case with Klopp, the job is a lot more complicated, requiring a lot of rebuilding.

Though Arteta has had two windows where signings have been made, the big problem has been shifting the players which don't fit his mould.

Until he can do such a thing, it will be very unlikely the board will sanction the funds to allow Arteta to sign the players he wants to make his vision work, owing to The Gunners self funding model.

Allow him the time to rebuild with the backing of the board, then he has the capabilities to turn it around.

  • Big Changes 

Already it is clear that Arteta is having an impact on the side. 

In just under a year, Arsenal have won two trophies first and foremost, in the form of the FA Cup and Community Shield.

Although not league titles, certainly still signs of progress, especially when you assess the sides beaten to win them.

Going off that, Arsenal have greatly improved when it comes to facing the bigger teams.

Arteta has beaten Manchester United twice, including Arsenal's first win at Old Trafford since 2006, beaten Chelsea in a cup final, beaten Man City in a cup Semi Final, beaten Liverpool in the Community Shield, League Cup and in the Premier League.

Away from home Arsenal have made improvements in what was traditionally an Achilles heel.

At the start of the year Arteta led the team in breaking a record of longest streak without defeat away from home (11 games) which was the longest since Arsenal when 15 games unbeaten away from home under Arsene Wenger, back in 2016.

As explained before, attacking and creating chances as been a problem, which arguably comes down to personnel, but defensively The Gunners have looked a lot more solid than in previous years and it was only about three games ago, that they had the best defensive record in the league.

On top of this, Arsenal haven't been conceding goals from set pieces, something Arteta has sought to eradicate, since it has been a problem for so long where Arsenal would often be bullied on corners or free kicks.

Something Emery tried but failed to implement was a successful process of playing out from the back, which Arteta has done in less than a year.

Though Arsenal can be criticised for a lot of things, especially this season, one thing they have got right in the last few months has been playing out from the back, now finding themselves in a position to confidently do it every time from goal and somehow managing to find a way out.

Should Arteta be allowed to buy the right players, he can build on this confidence from the back four, to get Arsenal playing the free flowing football the fans are all used to seeing.

  • Needs To Be Backed

Modern football has developed a culture where if instant success isn't provided, a manager will often get the sack.

The unfortunate scenario is that even if  the players are to blame, it is a lot easier to sack one man, than a whole team.

Clubs like Arsenal and even Manchester United have been on a downward turn since arguably their greatest ever managers left and with the success the fans were once so used to, not coming, it can lead to rash judgement and frustration.

However, the hierarchy at the Arsenal need to give full backing of Arteta, even during these testing times, especially in regards to giving him the funds and say for incoming signings.

Only then will he be able to build a team that he can work with and that can bring success again.

He has shown already what he can do and has tried to implement a philosophy into his players.

After almost a year in the job he has had a lot to deal with in what is his first year has a manager and if the board notice the change he is having, then they will give him the time and energy to turn it around and get Arsenal back to where it should be.