Mikel Arteta: Five things prospective new Arsenal head coach must address at the Emirates | Football News


Last Updated: 20/12/19 8:31am

Mikel Arteta is close to being appointed as Arsenal boss and Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol has identified five issues he must address quickly.

Sort out the defence

Speak to any Arsenal supporter and they will tell you the first thing any new manager needs to fix is the defence – the team have not kept a clean sheet for 14 games.

Long gone are the days when they could rely on Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn to keep clean sheets for fun.

Sokratis and David Luiz speak during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace

Sokratis and David Luiz speak during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace

Arteta must get his team defending as a unit again and he has to find an effective centre-back partnership.

Sokratis playing alongside Calum Chambers does not look like the answer and he needs to decide if he wants summer signing David Luiz back in the team. Arteta will also have to deal with the fact both first choice full-backs – Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney – are out injured.

Kieran Tierney had to undergo a shoulder operation

Kieran Tierney had to undergo a shoulder operation

Arteta was a fine defensive midfielder himself so he will also know how important it is for players such as Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka to offer the defence more protection. While he’s at it, he needs to sort out Arsenal’s vulnerability at transitions and get them to press as a team.

Mesut Ozil

What do you do with a player like Mesut Ozil? There is no denying his ability but many Arsenal fans think he is a luxury the club can no longer afford.

Mesut Ozil has endured a frustrating season

Mesut Ozil has endured a frustrating season

You can imagine him thriving in a winning team where he has the freedom to express himself but he does not look like what Arsenal need at the moment.

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Ozil was clearly unhappy when he was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe after less than an hour of the 3-0 home defeat against Manchester City on Sunday. Freddie Ljungberg explained the substitution by saying he needed more energy in the team.

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Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Mikel Arteta will need a good team around him to deal with his lack of managerial experience

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Mikel Arteta will need a good team around him to deal with his lack of managerial experience

Arsenal cannot afford to carry any passengers.

Arteta must decide whether to try and integrate Ozil into his side or to cut his losses on the club’s highest earner.

The captaincy

As a former Arsenal captain Arteta knows what it means to lead the side on the pitch.

Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy

Granit Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy

The saga surrounding the captaincy has been symptomatic of the problems at the club since Arsene Wenger left 18 months ago.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s 3-0 win against Arsenal in the Premier League

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s 3-0 win against Arsenal in the Premier League

Unai Emery allowed the players to vote for the captain in the summer and their choice of Xhaka was always going to create problems with fans who are not convinced the Switzerland midfielder is good enough to be playing for Arsenal.

Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy after he reacted badly to being booed by his own fans when he was substituted during the draw with Crystal Palace in October.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was appointed captain after Granit Xhaka

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was appointed captain after Granit Xhaka

Emery made Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang captain instead but many Arsenal fans are not convinced the striker is captaincy material.

Aubameyang appeared to lose his temper with 20-year-old midfielder Joe Willock during the defeat by Brighton and it is unlikely he will sign a new contract when his current deal runs out in 18 months.

Arteta must decide whether to persist with Aubameyang or put a new man in charge.

Get the best out of Lacazette

On his day Alexandre Lacazette is one of the best strikers in the Premier League but he looks totally disillusioned with life at Arsenal at the moment.

Alexandre Lacazette's contract runs out in the summer of 2022

Alexandre Lacazette’s contract runs out in the summer of 2022

He looked cold and miserable on the bench against City on Sunday as young players such as Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Willock were sent on instead of him.

Arteta needs to find a way of getting Lacazette and Aubameyang back together in Arsenal’s starting XI. Lacazette is too good a player to be sitting on the bench.

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Mikel Arteta would be a calculated gamble if the ‘innovative’ Manchester City assistant is appointed as Arsenal head coach, says Alan Smith

Mikel Arteta would be a calculated gamble if the ‘innovative’ Manchester City assistant is appointed as Arsenal head coach, says Alan Smith

His contract runs out in the summer of 2022 but unless he returns to being an automatic starter, it is difficult to see him wanting to stay at the club for long.

Get back into the top four

Arsenal’s main focus has to be getting back into the Champions League.

Unless results improve immediately Arsenal will miss out on playing in the Champions League for a fourth season in a row.

Arsenal face a battle to get into the top four

Arsenal face a battle to get into the top four

It looks as if Liverpool, Leicester City and Manchester City will definitely take three of the four Champions League places. Arsenal will be fighting it out with clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham for the final place.

It is a daunting challenge and it is to Arteta’s credit he has left City to accept it.

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