When Mikel Arteta was appointed as Arsenal manager back in December, most Gunners fans were left with mixed feelings of optimism and uncertainty. The majority of Arsenal fans were glad to see the back of Unai Emery, who had led Arsenal down an ever-increasing slippery slope since he took over at the beginning of the previous season. Arteta’s profile, a young, forward-thinking coach who has learnt his trade under none other than Pep Guardiola, greatly excited Arsenal fans. He was a man who knew the club well and was willing to invest significant time and energy into the Arsenal rebuild. Feelings of uncertainty came from his complete lack of managerial experience, but it was a trait most Arsenal fans were willing to accept. After all, Arsene Wenger’s appointment was welcomed by a newspaper article titled, “Arsene Who?” Perhaps a risky appointment was exactly what was needed to revive this football club.
Fast forward three and a half months into the Arteta era, and there has certainly been more positives than negatives. Although the results have been somewhat inconsistent, Arteta has clearly steadied the ship and it is already evident that he is beginning to assert his philosophy throughout the club. He has been affirmative in press conferences, convincing on the touchline, and carries an aura of confidence while showing belief in his players. He has made it clear that he is unwilling to put up with players who are not prepared to give their all for the team, highlighted by his shunning of Ainsley Maitland-Niles from the first-team picture, who started the Arteta era so brilliantly.
The suspension of the Premier League season has stopped Arsenal in their tracks, who were in a fairly positive run of form apart from the horror-show against Olympiakos at the Emirates. This time off has allowed for a time of reflection for Arsenal fans, and allowed me time to begin an Arsenal FIFA Career Mode.
I have decided to base this Career Mode off of exactly how I expect Arteta to revitalize Arsenal. No unrealistic transfers, no crazy money spent. I played the first season without making any new signings. My most common starting eleven, by the end of the season, looked like this:
I allowed Bukayo Saka space to roam down the left and had Granit Xhaka cover for him on that side. Torreira and Ceballos took turns holding down the middle, and Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette, and Aubemayang formed a formidable front four. My back line was most often made up of Saka, Mari, Luiz, and Bellerin, with Leno just behind them. Arsenal’s youth made great strides in cup competitions, with players such as Nelson, Martinelli, Willock, and Nketiah significantly improving throughout the season. I finished the season in 4th place, gaining the final Champions League position.
With the summer transfer window looming, I am now finally able to both sign and sell players. Which positions and specific players should Arteta’s Arsenal target, and who should be moved on? What needs to be done to bring this Arsenal squad closer to the likes of Liverpool and Man City?
Please comment below or on Twitter and let me know what changes you believe need to be made to this Arsenal side!