An ex-Gunners midfielder is confident that a fellow Spaniard can steer his old club through a “transitional period” if he is afforded patience
Mikel Arteta is still “trying to find his team”, according to Cesc Fabregas, who says the Arsenal boss needs time to implement his “exciting” ideas.
Arteta has received plenty of praise for his work at Emirates Stadium since being appointed as Unai Emery’s permanent successor in December 2019.
The Gunners have rediscovered a distinctive identity under their former captain, with a high-pressing system based around defending and attacking as a team reaping plenty of rewards over the first year of his tenure.
Arsenal concluded their 2019-20 campaign with a thrilling run to FA Cup glory, and have been aiming to build on that platform at the beginning of the new season, with mixed results.
Arteta’s men are sitting 11th in the Premier League standings after eight fixtures , having suffered damaging defeats against Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Aston Villa.
Encouraging signs have been shown during wins over Fulham, West Ham, Sheffield United and Manchester United, but the north Londoners will need to develop a consistent streak in order to challenge for a place in the top four.
Fabregas has called for patience as Arteta bids to transform the Gunners into an elite force once again, and has expressed his belief that a fellow Spaniard is still trying to assemble a squad in his own image.
“Listen, it’s a transition period,” the ex-Arsenal midfielder told 90min . “Mikel has his ideas, but it takes time. The problem for a coach nowadays is that you have no time. You lose three games, everyone is asking for your head.
“I know it’s very, very difficult because you want to implement your ideas, and it’s a process. Sometimes it’s difficult because football is moving very quickly, everyone wants to win, there’s pressure from the board, from the fans, from the players. You’re on the spot every single day.
“He’s trying to find his team. They have [Dani] Ceballos, they have [Granit] Xhaka, now they’ve added Thomas Partey from Atletico, who’s a very good player as well. They have Willian, they have [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang – top, top players, that’s 100 per cent sure. Maybe they still need a little bit more time.”
Fabregas added on Arteta’s managerial credentials: “You can see that he’s a leader, that he knows a lot of football. He obviously learned from one of the very best coaches in history, Pep Guardiola, and for him, that must have been a masterclass. I have no doubt about that.
“He was at Barcelona, he knows what it takes to win. It’s an exciting moment for Arsenal, because I believe that even though it’s his first job, he’s showing personality, and hopefully, he can do well for the club.”