Arsenal were right to choose Arteta over Mourinho; here’s why:
The Spaniard may be under great pressure going into Sunday's north London derby at Tottenham yet he was a far better choice than the Portuguese.
What a great difference a few months can make!
Arsenal fans were happy and smiling back in August. The FA Cup had just been secured for a 14th time, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was ready to sign his new contract, and the future was looking very bright under Mikel Arteta.
Down the road at Tottenham, however, questions were being asked about Jose Mourinho following their sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
The uplift following his appointment had been insigniifcant. The football had been pretty poor and the Portuguese coach had failed to tighten things up defensively, in spite of having replaced Mauricio Pochettino back in November 2019.
And those questions continued to be asked when Tottenham were defeated 1-0 at home by Everton on the opening weekend of the new season, which was the same weekend that saw Arsenal get their campaign underway with a stylish 3-0 success at Fulham.
The two north London clubs seemed to be heading in quite different directions. Arsenal were on the up under a young, vibrant coach who had united his team, while Spurs were struggling for an identity under an experienced coach who many believed was over the hill.
Nevertheless, just four months later, and as we head into the first north London derby of the season, things could not possibly feel more different.
That defeat against Everton on the opening weekend is the only loss Spurs have suffered this season in the league. They are at the top of the table, have beaten both Manchester clubs and had won four games successively prior to their 0-0 draw at Chelsea last weekend.
Arsenal, nevertheless, have lost five of their last eight games in the league, have scored only 10 goals in their opening 10 games and sit 14th with 13 points – their lowest points tally ever at this stage of a Premier League season.
So, while Mourinho finds himself being lauded for the great work he is doing at Tottenham, Arteta finds himself under pressure, with some adamant fans even calling for him to be sacked only four months after he lifted the FA Cup.
“So unjust,” stated Hector Bellerin, when inquired about the pressure Arteta finds himself under.
“We have to, as players, take responsibility for this because I think we all know that Mikel and his coaching team give us all the tools that we need to win all the games; when you lose a game it’s always very easy to blame the coach. But also when the coach gives us the tools we have to be the ones to step up.”
Arteta may be somewhat inexperienced when it comes to management, yet he has been around the game long enough to know that football moves quickly.
He might have won the FA Cup just a matter of months ago, yet when you are at a club like Arsenal, you have to get results. If you don’t, harsh scrutiny will ensue.
And that is the position he finds himself in as he gets ready to face Spurs for the second time as Arsenal boss. He lost his first derby, going down 2-1 at the end of the previous season; a similar result at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this time around will only see the dissenting voices become even louder.
The poor start to the season Arteta has had has led to some Arsenal fans wondering whether or not the club should have made a move for Mourinho back when he was available.