Arteta set to deliver as Arsenal’s busy summer transfer window yields same poor results


Spending money is one thing, but spending it wisely is another. The much-maligned Arsenal owners stepped in this summer, perhaps more than expected, backing Mikel Arteta with more than £ 130million of new talent in a bid to bridge the gap between the Gunners and the Premier’s main contenders League. Now is the time for Arteta to deliver.

– Report: Lukaku scores, Chelsea pass Arsenal

It is still too early to judge him on the signings Arsenal made this summer – defender Ben White, a permanent contract for Martin Odegaard, a new goalkeeper to Aaron Ramsdale, among others – but Arteta has been given a job. the elements and the responsibility. to train them as a team rests squarely on his shoulders.

It should be remembered that Arsenal actually promoted Arteta from “head coach” to “manager” in September 2020, symbolic of the greater influence he would now have over large swathes of the club’s operations, including politics. transfer. The Spaniard had won the FA Cup a month earlier, but at the time it felt like a leap of faith in a 30-something who is embarking on his first managerial role. The decision was partly based on his clear vision for the way forward and a huge promise as a coach, honed for three years under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but Arsenal now need to see that on the pitch.

It was almost painfully predictable how Romelu Lukaku intimidated Arsenal’s makeshift back line, and it could have been worse if Pablo Mari had received a second yellow card for taking down Lukaku at the end of a scorching afternoon. Arbitrator Paul Tierney opted against, although an expulsion may have been the greatest leniency under the circumstances.

It was a metaphor for both teams as a whole: one impatient, determined and powerful, the other hopelessly hung on to life, never convincing and ultimately outclassed.

Lukaku marked his second Chelsea debut – 3,648 days after his first – with an all-action display, encapsulated by the opening goal. He didn’t score in 15 appearances between 2011 and 2014, but having returned as a signing of £ 97.5million he only needed 15 minutes to open his account on Sunday. After repelling Mari with ease, he handed the ball over to Mateo Kovacic, who fed Reece James in acres of space to Chelsea’s right. Lukaku’s instinct after the pass was to drive into the box, where he encountered James’ delivery to ward off visitors ahead at close range.

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The mood among a crowd at full capacity homes – aside from a handful of empty seats – for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started in March last year had been one of fervent support, but it did. began to dissipate at dawn over them, there was little reason to rally.

James doubled Chelsea’s lead 10 minutes before the break and although Arsenal improved a bit after half-time they failed to put Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy under sustained pressure. In fact, Lukaku could have extended the Blues’ advantage with a point blank header which Bernd Leno saved superbly, one of the many dangerous moments Chelsea failed to capitalize on.

It was too easy for them. Lukaku has proven to be an elite striker for two years at Inter Milan and his acquisition, while Cher feels as close to a guaranteed success as possible, especially given his personal motivation and his more very mature now 28 years old. Chelsea are under much less financial pressure to make every penny count, but afternoons like this underscore how smart they’ve been in the market compared to many of their rivals.

On the other side, Arteta was without a host of first-team players. White, his £ 50million center-back, was ill, Gabriel has a knee injury, Thomas Partey has an ankle problem, Hector Bellerin suffered a “strained thigh” according to the club, Martin Odegaard did could not be registered in time after his arrival from Real Madrid, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian had not recovered sufficiently from a positive test for Covid-19 and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only fit enough for an appearance of 29 minutes on the bench. A lack of cohesion was therefore understandable to some extent, but one of the most overwhelming aspects for the second weekend in a row was how difficult it remains to discern how Arsenal were trying to get back into the game.

The Gunners had six shots in 90 minutes; Lukaku had eight of them all to himself. Arteta’s side had just three shots on target, and the last one came in the 63rd minute as Aubameyang tried his luck from the edge of the box.

It should be noted that Chelsea are European champions, currently operating with more ambitious goals than Arsenal, but Tuchel arrived mid-season and organized a squad that had become in tatters under Frank Lampard, quickly establishing an identity that achieved immediate success.

Arteta, meanwhile, had a tough hand, but he has to prove he knows how to play the game. Last season ended in these areas with fan protests at Kroenke Sports Enterprises as the involvement of Arsenal in the failure of the Super League draft has rekindled the long-standing antipathy towards club owners. This hostility persists, but attention will soon turn to the canoe if Arteta fails to find serious improvement in the weeks to come.

At least they only have one next trip to Manchester City.

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