Arteta’s hour of reckoning is finally here

That this has been Arsenal’s poorest season in the last 46 years is not a secret. A decade ago, Arsenal voices were calling on Arsene Wenger’s sack for an apparent lack of ambition. The team then seemed to only be working for a top four finish, and it used to get that, with Champions League football coming regularly.

Wenger went, Unai Emery came. Things got worse. Emery went and the Gunners opted for someone who knows the club well. A former player – Mikel Arteta. It has been one year and three months now with the team and the jury on Arteta is out. He should leave, the fans say, and with valid reason.

While he engineered a fine finish to last season with the team winning the FA Cup, and a good start to the current campaign, winning the Community Shield, Arteta’s inexperience as a manager has been glaring and the team’s current state has everything to do with his decisions.

What has happened so far aside, no one would have guessed the Gunners’ entire season would hinge on one match like it is on the Europa League game away to Slavia Prague. Arsenal go to the game on the back foot, having put up another of the more common lackluster performances to draw 1-1 at The Emirates.

Slavia Prague have in the last two rounds eliminated Rangers and Leicester City, and will fancy taking on another side from Britain. Across most bookies, Arsenal are tipped favorites to win it with 1xBet and 22Bet carrying the best odds for a Gunners win at 1.84 and the football tips and predictions on Wincomparator preview this and many more games.

Last season Arsenal finished eighth and only got to play in Europa League by virtue of winning the FA Cup. This season they are already out of the FA Cup and are struggling to even get in the Europa League positions. If they fail in Prague, there won’t be much to play for in the season and voices demanding for Arteta’s head will grow tenfold.

From poor team selection, frustrating players to the extent of handing in transfer requests, and calling out players in public, Arteta’s inexperience at this level has been glaring. With just 13 wins in 31 league matches, Arteta’s season has been a tale of excuse after excuse, without an admission of his own blunders.

Lack of a regular first team is one thing the team’s fans have come to be accustomed to, while the manager never shies from fielding out of form and underperforming players while ignoring obviously better players.

One mistake, which perhaps Arsenal fans will find unforgivable, was the sale of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa then going on to bring two new keepers in the season. Arsenal preferred to keep Bernd Leno, who has proven to be error prone as the season draws to a close. While he has nine clean sheets from 2,682 minutes played in the league, Martinez at Aston Villa has 14 from 2,700 minutes played.

With all that the season has offered, it increasingly seems the only way Arteta will stay on, is if he wins the Europa League. That seems quite unlikely in their recent form. Perhaps it is time to bid farewell to the Spaniard.

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