Alexandre Lacazette (left) and Mikel Arteta (right) (cred: The Indian Express)
Mikel Arteta’s stint as Arsenal manager has been rocky but he seems to finally be equipped enough to navigate it.
Mikel Arteta has had to make some tough decisions at Arsenal
Arteta has had to make plenty of tough calls over the course of his managerial stint. He has put his team and the club’s philosophy ahead of players and deserves credit for the job he has done at the club. When he took over, Arsenal had a rather ordinary squad filled with overpaid players.
There were big egos that needed to be dealt with and Arteta seems to finally be nurturing a squad largely filled with the type of players he wants. Over the course of his managerial reign, we’ve seen several top players fall out with him or fail to deliver for the Gunners.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five Arsenal stars who have failed under Mikel Arteta.
#5 Eddie Nketiah
West Ham United v Arsenal – Premier League
Eddie Nketiah has found some form for Arsenal in recent weeks but it may have all come too late for him. The 22-year-old has been a good replacement for the misfiring Lacazette in recent weeks and has shown a lot of enterprise in the final third for Arteta’s side.
Nketiah joined Arsenal as a 15-year-old but has now entered the final months of his current contract. Nketiah has largely failed to make the most of the opportunities handed to him but Arteta has taken the blame for not extensively using the youngster.
After Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Chelsea, Arteta said:
“If there is one player I have been unfair with, it is him. He has given me every right to do something different, so if Eddie hasn’t played more, it’s my fault, I have missed something or I haven’t had the courage. He showed me again how wrong I was.”
He has scored just two goals and has provided one assist in 17 Premier League appearances this term. But it’s worth noting that he has only started four of those games.
#4 Bernd Leno
Arsenal v Sunderland – Carabao Cup Quarter Final
When Arsenal spent £24 million to sign Aaron Ramsdale last summer, the consensus was that they had wasted a lot of money. That is because they already had a decent goalkeeper in Bernd Leno.
However, after Arsenal lost their first three Premier League games of the season, Leno was replaced by Ramsdale. The Englishman has since turned in some phenomenal performances for the Gunners. Leno has since started just one more game and he looks likely to leave the club at the end of the season.
“It was a setback and a bitter moment. But that’s sport, you have to accept that. It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t feel sorry for myself, I wanted to attack again immediately. I don’t want to say I was a pawn, but when the results aren’t right, sometimes things happen quickly in football.”
#3 Cedric Soares
Crystal Palace v Arsenal – Premier League
Cedric Soares is currently the second-oldest player at Arsenal after Alexandre Lacazette. The 30-year-old has been pretty lackluster this season and has been largely replaced by Takehiro Tomiyasu as the right-back at the club.
Soares has provided just two assists in 22 appearances across all competitions for Arsenal so far this season. Soares did have a good run in between while Tomiyasu was injured between February and April.
While he has proven to be a decent deputy, Soares has not hit the heights expected of him under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.
#2 Alexandre Lacazette
Crystal Palace v Arsenal – Premier League
Alexandre Lacazette‘s situation at Arsenal is rather peculiar. The Frenchman has shown a knack for producing some outrageous finishes and is pretty good at link-up play as well. However, he has struggled for consistency throughout his stay at the club.
When Aubameyang left Arsenal in January, Lacazette had the opportunity to become the main man at the club. It has now ended up being yet another chance that he failed to grab by the scruff of its neck.
The 30-year-old was one of the best strikers in the world not long ago. He has scored just six goals and provided eight assists in 32 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners so far this term.
#1 Nicolas Pepe
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League
Having cost £72 million, Nicolas Pepe is Arsenal’s most expensive signing of all time. However, the Ivory Coast international has failed to justify his price tag and now finds himself in the doghouse at Arsenal.
Pepe has featured just 20 times for Arsenal this season. He has made 17 appearances in the Premier League this term but has started just five games. When Pepe was initially roped in, the Gunners had hoped he would become a talismanic presence in the side.
But he has become nothing more than a liability at this point and has failed massively at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.