Chris Sutton on Arsenal supporters’ changing stance on Mikel Arteta
Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton believes Arsenal are a “weird club” due to the reactionary nature of the fans towards manager Mikel Arteta. He stated that it seems the “wheels are off” for the Gunners after losing two consecutive Premier League matches.
The Gunners held fourth spot in the league for a while this season and looked in pole position to qualify for next campaign’s UEFA Champions League. However, they recently suffered face back-to-back defeats against Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. This has put their fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth position. The Gunners are three points behind Spurs in fifth with a game in hand.
Arteta joined the Gunners in 2019 and led them to consecutive eighth-place finishes in the league. They started this season poorly as well, losing their first three matches. However, they bounced back brilliantly and are now fighting for a Champions League spot.
Speaking about the changing emotions of the club’s supporters, Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (via HITC):
“You go back ten days and you speak to any Arsenal fan. And they would be delighted with Arteta and the progress they have made. It’s a really weird club Arsenal. Weirder than most because two defeats and you feel like the wheels are off. They are unique in that sense. At the start of the season, a lot of the Arsenal fans, like it or not, they didn’t want Arteta. They thought his race was run.”
“All of a sudden, he’s nurtured and cajoled. He’s built a pretty settled side and everybody is talking about the development of the young players coming through. This is great and we can see progress – and now there is that real uncertainty. It’s a crucial period for Arteta from now until the end of the season.”
Arsenal looking to bounce back against Southampton before a tough run of fixtures
After two consecutive losses, the Gunners can ill-afford to drop points against Southampton on Saturday at the St. Mary’s Stadium. While the three points are crucial, they will also look to gain some winning momentum before a tough run-in.
After Southampton, the Gunners face Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham United in a row. They then face Leeds United before the all-important North London Derby against Spurs.
Arteta’s Top 4 hopes hang by a thread and they will need to bounce back in the next few games.