Arsenal have gotten off to their worst league start in over 60 years, and Mikel Arteta is under a lot of pressure to turn things around.
The performances so far have been poor, there has been a distinct lack of direction on the pitch, and in some players’ cases a lack of effort.
At times like these, you need a real leader to guide your team out of trouble, but after Folarin Balogun’s update, you have to question whether or not Arteta is the right man for the job.
Indeed, Balogun appeared on Stadium Astro this week, and he was asked what Arteta’s message to the squad has been, and he said that the Spaniard has taken the soft approach.
“Yeah the message from the boss has just been to relax and to make sure to keep things moving. He’s made an effort to keep morale around the camp very high, so he doesn’t want us to start feeling bad or starting to lose motivation, because that doesn’t help anyone,” Balogun said.
Arteta is trying to keep his players calm, and while that is a good tactic in some cases, we can’t see the logic here.
It’s all well and good telling your players to relax and keep doing what they’re doing when you’re going through a genuinely unlucky run, but that’s not where Arsenal are right now.
The Gunners have been genuinely dreadful in every metric, just look at the xG table if you don’t believe us.
The London club have the second-lowest xG in the league and the second-highest xGA, they’re not getting unlucky, they’re just a poor side playing poor football – and something needs to change, quickly.
This isn’t the time for Arteta to be telling his players to relax, this is time to light a fire under the squad and if that requires a bit of tough love or the hairdryer treatment then so be it.
We understand there are different approaches to management, and in some instances being a bit softer is beneficial, especially with your young players, but this is a squad where the so-called experienced stars aren’t stepping up, and Arteta needs to be ruthless if he’s going to change anything.
Of course, with players being extensively media trained these days, this could just be a case of Balogun trying to keep the media off the manager’s back and he may be giving this answer as a way of avoiding the question or making things seem calmer behind the scenes.
However, if Balogun is being truthful about Arteta’s message to the squad, then Arsenal fans may have reason to worry, because if the manager’s approach doesn’t change, things aren’t going to improve, and if Arsenal continue on this path, it may not be long before the Spaniard is out of work.