Tag Archives: Premier League

Erik Ten Hag to Manchester United – Destined for failure or light at the end of the tunnel?

So.. Manchester United are close to appointing Erik ten Hag as their next manager after they verbally agreed on a three-year-contract for the Dutch coach to take over at Old Trafford.

The current Ajax boss seems to have won the race to become the man to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis, taking over from Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

He pipped the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers, Luis Enrique and others to the role if reports are to be believed and fans are delighted at the steps taken to get him in.



There is no doubting that Ten Hag is a great coach. He has built two excellent Ajax sides with an attractive style of football, young players and competed well in Europe too.

But there are doubts around his appointment that people seem to be either overlooking or downright ignoring.

The level of competition in Holland is not that high. Yes his team blew the competition out of the park in recent seasons, but much like PSG that’s kind of what they’re supposed to do.

Performances in Europe are great too, but I would bet large sums of money that United fans wouldn’t want Unai Emery anywhere near Old Trafford’s home dugout and his side have done well in Europe too.

Ten Hag has also never had to deal with the pressures and the egos of dealing with top players and reputations before.

Having the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba in the changing room can often see decisions questioned, naturally, because these players have won things at the very highest level before.

Dealing with those problems will be new to him, and it’s undoubtedly a gamble to bring him in.

But in the same breath, and in his defence, there was no sure-fire appointment for United this time around.

In the past there seemed to be an ideal candidate every time and not bringing them in was seen as silly. Van Gaal was brought in to build a style and blood young players.

He did it, but too slowly and far too pragmatically and when Jose Mourinho became available, the United board couldn’t help themselves.

He was brought in to win immediately and while he is the last Reds manager to win a trophy of any kind, he was detrimental to the development of the team and arguably took the club backwards.

Solskjaer was never cut out for the permanent job and was given the role because of a purple patch of form while he was the interim boss. There was a bit of progress, because he cleared the club of plenty of deadwood and recruited relatively well, but he never had the coaching abilities to compete.

With Ten Hag United are now restarting that process.

They have an incredible conveyor belt of talent coming through the academy right now. Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri, James Garner, Ethan Laird, Alejandro Garnacho, Zidane Iqbal and Alvaro Fernandez are all on the brink of senior football.

The first-team still has players that are under-25 who are already involved like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Dean Henderson and Diogo Dalot that Ten Hag can improve and develop.

But United, the club and the fans, must have patience. There is no overnight recipe for success anymore. It doesn’t matter who gets signed or sold, the team needs time to develop.

The coach must be given time to implement his style and ideas, weed out the players who don’t fit in, improve those who do and be backed to compete at the highest level.

While Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola are all in the Premier League with their super-squads it will be incredibly hard for Manchester United to close the gap on them and compete regularly.

But they can close the gap and they will get there, with time and the right decisions being made.

Ten Hag has been given a chance to do that, with a three-year contract and an option for a fourth, but it can go one of two ways.

Either Ten Hag gets the time and trust to complete the process, which he has shown he is capable of doing while at Ajax, or the club demand immediate success and fail to realise the scale and size of the problems they face.

Ten Hag is a great appointment on paper, but football isn’t played on paper. Unless the board fix up and sort the club out, then Ten Hag will just be added to the ever-growing list of disappointments at Old Trafford in recent years.

Manchester United European woes are the tip of the iceberg

Nine. Nine games. Nine match days. That’s all that’s left of this God forsaken season for Manchester United after they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the last 16 stage to Atletico Madrid once again.

Just as a disclaimer, this isn’t me writing this article as a football journalist. This is me writing this as a Manchester United fan and getting all my frustrations out because this club is making all the same mistakes.

It’ll be five years with no trophy at the end of this season and nine years without a league title for the 20-time champions. United are at rock bottom.



First things first, sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the right thing. But he also absolutely wasn’t the only problem at the club. Those issues start way above him or any other manager’s head.

The thing this club lacks the most is an actual identity. Yes that’s a buzzword right now in modern football, but it’s a fact.

Whenever Manchester City step on the pitch, you know exactly what the role of each and every player on the pitch is. Regardless of personnel, you know what each player in each position is expected to do.

When Liverpool step on the pitch, you know the same thing. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan. All the top sides in the world are in the same boat.

It makes recruitment easy too, because you immediately know which players would suit and which players wouldn’t.

At Manchester United, there is no such luxury. This is a squad banded together by marketing people with a mix of talents and qualities, with the hope that whoever has been given the managerial role at the time can sort it out.

There is no vision. This board survived on the brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson and the monopoly he had over the Premier League for so long, they thought it would carry over when he left.

This squad needs a total revamp. Not because they’re not good enough, because they are. This group of players, with the right manager, are capable of competing. There is no doubt about that.

But who the right manager is, is impossible to decipher when there is no vision or identity at the club right now.

Take Scott McTominay as an example. It’s well known I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s into his third manager now where he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.

I can’t explain why, most fans aren’t sure why and when you listen to ex-pros or pundits talk about him, they almost never mention his footballing ability when discussing his best attributes.

It’s always ‘passion’, ‘energy’, ‘running’. Never his passing ability, or his ability to break up play, or his positional sense. But it’s almost impossible to criticise the manager for picking him because we have no idea what the team is being asked to do. There is no identity in the team.

At this point, it’s already been a decade of mediocrity. The club can wait a few more years and finally get it right.

They made a good decision bringing in Ralf Rangnick to help sort out the behind the scenes issues, it’s just a shame he needed to have six months in the limelight first before getting to work.

It could be a good thing though. He knows exactly what needs to be done. He knows the club needs a revamp and he knows it starts off the football pitch rather than on it.

First, establish a style. An identity. So that once the managers leave, or players become not good enough anymore it’s easy to identify replacements without having to burn everything down to the ground first.

Second, build a squad to suit. That could take a few years to get the right players in and get the players on the edge out, but it’s doable – especially with the resources the club have.

Thirdly, be consistent and challenge. The squad doesn’t need tonnes of work, but it does need key areas addressing, despite what was seen as a largely successful summer last year with the additions of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Until the club make those decisions and take those steps, it doesn’t matter who is in charge. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at the situation, because the problems trickle down from the top all the way down to the bottom.

This issue is way bigger than being eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16, and not finishing in the top four in the Premier League.

This is about a complete lack of planning and a complete lack of care at the top of the club.

Never have I been so disconnected from the club I have loved all my life, and the vast majority of fans I know and have spoken to largely feel the same way.

If the people in charge of the club don’t care, why should we? The answer is because the club will be there long after those people, and hopefully we will be too.

When they go, we can get back to loving this club like we once did. But until these issues are addressed properly, it’s no longer a football club but simply another multi-billion pound business.

How long will it take Newcastle to break into the Champions League?

Ever since the Saudi PIF took Newcastle over at the back end of 2021, the question has been when, not if, will they break into the UEFA Champions League?

This season the priority under Eddie Howe was safety, having won just one of their first 20 Premier League games under Howe and previous manager Steve Bruce.

But now unbeaten in eight games, with six wins in that run, the Magpies now sit seven points above the relegation zone and can start planning ahead for their assault on football’s elite.



Many reports have been shared of Newcastle targeting top level players to add to their squad, including the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Kalvin Phillips and even Marcus Rashford.

Bringing in that calibre of talent would undoubtedly accelerate their push towards breaking through the glass ceiling, but how realistic is that? Not very.

The first priority for the Tyneside club is going to be to separate themselves from the clubs at the bottom of the league in order to avoid this same situation next season.

Players like Chris Wood were brought in more to weaken their opposition than strengthen their squad and are unlikely to be starters going into the new season, while there is room to improve almost all other positions.

But they won’t be able to skip stages and go straight to signing top level players because of the money they now have available to them.

The ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham – all have huge amounts of money available to them also and they won’t stop spending just because Newcastle are going to start.

When Man City got their billions overnight, they had several years of competing in a much weaker league than now before they were able to break that barrier.

They didn’t have FFP regulations to deal with either back then, which is something that the Saudi’s must adhere to.

My prediction for Newcastle to make it into Europe’s elite competition is at least four seasons because of the standard of the big six currently and all the teams in between them too.

They will likely improve year on year, but not everything will go their way. They will miss out on key targets to other clubs, they will lose players to top sides, they’ll have spells where their form is bad and the manager gets changed.

They will get there eventually, I have no doubts, but it will be longer than many are expecting it to be in my eyes.

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In one of the biggest ties of the round, current reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid take on Premier League giants Manchester United for a place in the quarter-finals.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to Last 16

Atletico Madrid made it through to the knockout stages by the skin of their teeth in a poor group stage by their own standards.

Diego Simeone’s side suffered defeat home and away to Liverpool and they were beaten at home by AC Milan, but a final day win over FC Porto saw them claim the runners-up spot in the group.

They scored seven goals in the six games, conceding eight but crazily there were seven red cards in their group stage games too to show the frustration they carried.

Manchester United overcame a tough start to their group win finish top with a game to spare, despite changing managers during the group stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored in all five of his appearances to help United claim wins over Villarreal home and away and Atalanta at Old Trafford but they failed to beat lowly Club Brugge at all.

United scored a total of 11 goals int heir six group games, conceding eight and only managing to keep one clean sheet.

Team news

Atletico Madrid are facing several injury issues with all of Daniel Wass, Matheus Cunha and Yannick Carrasco ruled out of the game, while Thomas Lemar, Koke and Mario Hermoso doubtful.

Simeone was seen in training with a lineup consisting of a back-five, with January signing Reinildo as a centre-back, while Joao Felix and Luis Suarez could start together. Angel Correa is pushing for a start though following his good form.

Ralf Rangnick’s options are much better, with Edinson Cavani expected to be fit following a groin injury that has seen him miss the last few games.

Marcus Rashford has recently found himself on the bench after some poor form, so Anthony Elanga could get a start while Jadon Sancho will look to continue his excellent form. Ronaldo will continue up front.

Breakdown and Prediction

Atletico still have a reputation of being a defensive side with little intention to play attacking football, but that isn’t the case anymore.

The team have kept just three clean sheets since the turn of the year and have lost eight of their last 15 games in all competitions.

Manchester United on the other hand have been struggling with their performances in recent weeks, but the results haven’t taken a massive hit so far under Rangnick.

Across 90 minutes, they’ve lost just once since he became manager in 14 games but they’re yet to win three games in a row in all competitions this season. They won their last two, with a 3-0 win over Brighton and 4-2 win over Leeds.

This game is likely to be tight with both sides relatively low on confidence in their performance, despite the difference in their results.

Home advantage is likely to play a big part in both games, but I do feel that Man United will be able to progress because they have more goals in their team.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United 2-1 Atletico Madrid
(Manchester United qualify 2-1 on aggregate)

Chelsea vs Lille – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the current holders Chelsea take on French league champions Lille in a tie that would be expected to go one way but could well go the other.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Last season’s winner and the current World champions Chelsea had a pretty good group stage, but defeat on the final day to Juventus cost them the top spot.

Tuchel’s side claimed four wins and a draw from their first five games, including a memorable 4-0 win against the Serie A giants with an excellent record of just four goals conceded.

Lille on the other hand claimed top spot in arguably the weakest group of the first round, pipping RB Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg to the berth.

Jocelyn Gourvennec led his side to three wins and two draws including wins away to Sevilla and Wolfsburg to claim their path into the last 16, also conceding just four goals throughout the group stage.

In comparison though, Lille only managed seven goals across their six games while Chelsea scored more than double that with 13.

Team news

Chelsea are still struggling with some injury problems, with wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell not yet fit. Mason Mount won’t be fit for the first leg but Cesar Azpilicueta could return to the team after missing the weekend win over Crystal Palace.

Romelu Lukaku’s form is in the gutter, but Tuchel is likely to stick with the Belgian in the hope that he can play through it and find a goalscoring streak ahead of the weekend’s Carabao Cup final.

Lille are at almost full strength for the tie, with the only absentee expected to be former Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes.

The youngster was forced off injury in their latest Ligue 1 game and is now expected to miss the game, while Orestis Karnezis will miss the game.

All of Andre, Renato Sanches and Xeka are competing to start in midfield, with the former two likely to get the nod.

Breakdown and Prediction

Chelsea have moved away from their 343 formation since their wing-backs suffered with injuries, and Tuchel has since gone with a 433 formation to get back to winning ways.

They still look to keep the ball for the vast majority of the game and attack down the wings but without Mount they’ve lacked that attacking mind in midfield recently.

I expect Tuchel to move back to his 343 for this game if Azpilicueta and/or Callum Hudson-Odoi are fit again, playing as the right wing-back with Marcos Alonso reinstalled at left wing-back after his assist at the weekend.

Lille will try to soak up the pressure with their usual 442 system and try to counter with the pace of Jonathan David in attack.

Realistically they will struggle to make that effective, because it’s exactly what Chelsea are set up to play against. Lille have been okay defensively this season, but they’ve struggled to find the back of the net and have a negative goal difference in their domestic league.

Ultimately, this is Chelsea’s tie to lose. They have the better coach, better squad and if they’re on song then they should be able to win this tie relatively comfortably.

Chelsea 2-0 Lille
Lillle 0-1 Chelsea
(Chelsea to qualify 3-0 on aggregate)

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In one of the biggest ties of the round we’ll see Italian champions Inter Milan in their first knockout round since the 2011/12 season, and they’ll take on Premier League heavyweights Liverpool.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

It was two very different group stages for these two sides, with Simone Inzaghi’s men battling it out with Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff until the final day.

It wasn’t until defeat to Madrid in that final group game that they were unable to win the group, but with three wins from the other five games they managed to secure the runners-up spot.

They scored only eight goals during the groups, and conceded five, so there is plenty of room for improvement there. Domestically, they currently a point behind rivals AC Milan with a game in hand.

For Liverpool, it was quite literally the perfect campaign.

A group of death containing AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and FC Porto was expected to cause them problems but Jurgen Klopp’s side made it six wins from six to become the first English side to earn a 100% record in the competition’s history.

They scored a wonderful 17 goals in six games, conceding six to come into the knockout stages as one team that everyone wanted to avoid.

Team news

Inter will be missing their key midfielder Nicolo Barella for the first leg after he was sent off in the final group game against Real Madrid.

Arturo Vidal should replace him, while Ivan Perisic is likely to continue at left-wing-back with January signing Robert Gosens still injured.

Nicolo Barella FC Internazionale Milano leaves the pitch after receiving a red card during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Real...

Liverpool are essentially at full strength and Klopp has got the strongest squad of his entire tenure at Anfield to choose from currently.

Diogo Jota will likely return to the team after missing the weekend win over Burnley, while Luis Diaz will probably start on the bench since both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are back from AFCON.

Breakdown and Prediction

Inzaghi will stick with his 3-5-2 system that he loves, with Lautaro Martinez likely partnered up front by Edin Dzeko.

The midfield strength with Brozovic and Calhanoglu gives lots of balance and with Vidal going box-to-box they can go toe-to-toe with the Liverpool midfield.

In attack though, Liverpool are likely to cause far problems to Inter than vice-versa. They have great depth and goals from all three attackers are possible, but Inter have adapted their system in Europe under Inzaghi and are difficult to beat.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool with Sadio Mane of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on February 11, 2022 in Kirkby, England.

Without any real pace in behind though, Liverpool should be able to deal with their best attacking threats and while a clean sheet won’t be easy I would be surprised if Inter grabbed a goal at Anfield.

Because of that and the added depth they have in their squad, I expect Liverpool to progress through this tie but don’t be surprised if they make hard work of it.

Inter Milan 1-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
(Liverpool to qualify 3-1 on aggregate)

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In a very exciting match up the Portuguese champions Sporting CP play host to the tournament favourites and current Premier League champions Man City.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

In their first appearance in the Champions League for several years, Sporting made their presence felt by finishing as runners-up in the group of hipster teams.

Ruben Amorim’s side started poorly with defeats to Ajax and Dortmund in the opening two games, but back-to-back wins over Besiktas and then a huge home win against Dortmund saw them edge towards qualification.

In the end, it was Dortmund’s poor results against Ajax that cost them as they were eliminated on goal difference.

Man City on the other hand cruised to victory in their group of death, winning five of six games against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge.

Their only defeat came to PSG in Paris, when they played brilliantly but were caught out twice by Pochettino’s side.

They scored 18 goals in the group stages, more than everyone else bar Ajax and Bayern Munich, and come into the game in excellent form.

Team news

Sporting are likely to be without excellent midfielder Pote this season, who has been one of the best performing players in their team.

Joao Palhinha, Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho are the key men in midfield and attack and should all be available to start the game, while Sebastian Coates will lead the defence as captain.

Amorim’s 3-5-2 formation is likely to be set up to contain City rather than attack them too much, so expect Nuno Santos to play a little bit deeper than usual.

City will be without £100m man Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, while Kyle Walker is set to start a three-game suspension for his red card on the final match day of the group stages.

Raheem Sterling has been in fine form in recent weeks, bagging a hat-trick at the weekend while Kevin De Bruyne has had his minutes managed and is in peak physical condition for the business end of the season.

Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo will know the opposition well having previously played for Benfica and will all likely start the game.

Breakdown and Prediction

This is a game that is due to be really exciting and full of excellent tactical battles across the pitch.

Sporting play a high-intensity system with a big emphasis on scoring goals and controlling the ball, much like Pep Guardiola at City.

The difference here of course is that the quality of player that Guardiola has available to him is far greater than that of the Portuguese outfit.

Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea...

Because of that, plus the experience at the top level, it’s fair to expect City to be able to dominate the game and implement their game plan on Sporting rather than the other way around.

With that being said, it’s hard to look past a relatively comfortable City win over the course of two legs.

Sporting will cause them problems over the course of the 180 minutes, but ultimately the added quality on the pitch and the touchline will pay dividends and City will progress to the next round.

Sporting CP 0-2 Man City
Man City 3-1 Sporting CP
(Man City qualify 5-1 on aggregate)

How does the Luis Diaz signing impact Mohamed Salah future at Liverpool?

Liverpool were up to their usual tricks during the January transfer window, swooping in late and quickly to secure a top target.

After Tottenham made a bid for Porto’s Colombian star Luis Diaz, Jurgen Klopp made the decision to move early for a player he had identified as a key target for the summer window.

They swooped in, secured a deal worth a total of £50m and they now have a brand new weapon in their attack to unleash on the second half of the Premier League season.



But as soon as the deal was confirmed and announced, many fans began to wonder what that meant for the future of superstar Mo Salah, whose current contract expires at the end of next season.

The future of Salah has been a conversation for a while, with both parties publicly stating their wish to continue their relationship.

However with reports that the Egyptian is requesting a record wage for the club, it has been met with resistance from the board.

As Salah approaches his 30th birthday, it’s only natural that he wants a big payday in his final big contract. But on top of that, his performances since moving to Anfield mean that he feels he should be earning on par with the other best players in the world. He’s not wrong.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between...

But further to Salah, the contracts of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino also expire next summer and it’s more likely that their places in the team are under threat from Diaz’s arrival than Salah’s.

My personal expectation is that the two parties will find a compromise and thrash out a deal that sees Salah stay at the club as their highest-paid player ever, before eventually riding off into the sunset in a few years when he’s past his peak.

But for Mane, many have seen his influence diminish in recent years and he won’t have nearly as much leverage when it comes to demanding a big contract at his age.

Firmino is in the most danger, having already lost his place in the team to Diogo Jota and finding that he’s not as important as he once was in a red shirt.

Luis Diaz of FC Porto runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield on November 24,...

Add to all that the fact that Diaz is a right-footed winger who likes to cut in from the left, he could quite easily play in the same team as Salah and provide a terrifying attacking threat for Klopp and Liverpool.

While Liverpool fans are focused on potentially losing one of the best attackers to ever don the shirt and represent the club, they should probably be worried about losing the other two attackers that made up part of their famous trio.

If Salah ends up agreeing terms as many expect him to eventually do, that leaves less in the budget to renew Mane and Firmino’s deals and with a ready-made replacement already in the squad it seems more likely one of those will leave in the summer.

Frank Lampard can get the best out of Donny and Dele after deadline day deals at Everton

Deadline day was the best day in a long time if you’re an Everton fan, as they completed two big signings and announced a new manager.

After a two week search with plenty of rumours and fan protests, the club finally settled on Frank Lampard as their new manager with the official announcement coming on Monday lunchtime.

Quickly followed was confirmation that Manchester United midfielder Donny Van de Beek has completed a loan move until the end of the season, before the surprising news that Dele Alli had joined on a permanent move from Tottenham



It’s no surprise that Lampard played a big part in both players making the move to Goodison Park, considering both play in a fairly similar way to the way he did during his playing career.

As part of a midfield three or the most advanced in a two, Lampard made a career of arriving late in the box and scoring goals. He racked up striker numbers, and to this day is still the all-time top scorer in Chelsea history as well as the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history.

Both Van de Beek and Dele have garnered a reputation as goalscoring midfielders, but are both young enough to develop their game and become even more complete. They believe Lampard can help them with that, but can he?

Most importantly for both players is the promise of regular game time, having been starved of football in recent years at their previous clubs.

There is the chance that he could field a 4-3-3 with both fielded as a number eight, but that leaves the defensive midfielder that he selects likely on an island on their own.

Stylistically there is an issue for Lampard to overcome, but there is a big potential that he will be able to unlock the best of both players to help drag Everton out of their relegation battle.

There is the opportunity to change the way the team plays football, emphasising possession and an attacking style rather than defensive structure like Rafa Benitez did.

If anyone can get them both firing it’s Lampard, but he’s proven to be tactically naive in the past with both Derby and Chelsea at times.

If he is to prove he has made bold improvements and strides forward as a manager in his year out of the game, he needs to get them both playing well together and save Everton from the drop.

The pressure is on, but he’s been backed by the board since day one so he has no excuses.

Arsenal are rewarding mediocrity by giving Mikel Arteta a new contract

It’s been 18 years since Arsenal last won the Premier League title, and they’ve arguably never been further away from it than they are now.

Yet reports suggest that manager Mikel Arteta is to be rewarded with a brand new contract at the Emirates Stadium as he heads towards the final year of his current deal.

But why? What has he done to earn himself a new contract with the club?



The answer, quite simply, is nothing really.

Arteta has brought through Emile Smith Rowe as a first-team regular and regardless of the reason why he brought him into the team, he deserves credit for keeping him and making him a key player.

He’s recruited relatively well too with all of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard regulars in the side and playing relatively well.

But he’s managed to cause a rift with a multitude of players including William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi, Nicolas Pepe, Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That’s not including the ones he forced to leave the club too on a permanent basis.

He’s also overseen the worst start to a season in Arsenal history, their first season of no European football in over 25 years and they currently sit outside of the top four once again.

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on January 23, 2022 in...

They had a decent run in mid-season where it looked like things were going well, and they had a very impressive performance against Man City. But ultimately they lost that game.

They had a solid 0-0 draw at Anfield after going down to ten men. But ultimately, they were eliminated after losing the second leg.

They struggle to score goals on a regular basis, defensively aren’t exactly solid, are nowhere near getting back into title contention and are out of all the cup competitions in January.

Arsene Wenger was forced out for less than that and he was their most successful manager ever. Unai Emery was forced out because he missed out on top four and made the Europa League final, then went on a bad run the following season.

But Arteta is set for a brand spanking new contract and likely a pay-rise to boot.

Arsenal are a club who have lost their vision of being one of the best and have instead become a team just happy to take part. They’ve accepted mediocrity and are now rewarding it.