There was a feeling held by some towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign that Arsenal had become one of the more comfortable clubs to be at.
The quality and balance of fun compared to structure in training was one concern raised.
How much the players were being properly pushed and why the same stars were being picked regardless was questioned.
There was a feeling Arsenal were comfortable to be at near the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign
But new manager Mikel Arteta has certainly laid down a marker to change the club’s culture
So too was dressing room discipline with some believing, among other things, players were getting too many days off.
By the end it seemed standards had been allowed to drift and, in particular, actions no longer seemed to have consequences.
Unai Emery attempted to improve things but lacked the authority. Enter Mikel Arteta in December, determined to succeed where Emery could not.
It will of course take time for Arteta’s full vision to come to fruition.
Unai Emery attempted to improve the drifting standards but had lacked the authority needed
And though their encouraging resurgence was frustratingly checked by Leicester, after being reduced to ten men following Eddie Nketiah’s dismissal, improvements have undoubtedly been made both with a number of individuals and the team.
Arteta has certainly laid down a marker in his bid to change the club’s culture.
Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, left out again on Tuesday night, will testify to that. Ozil hasn’t played a minute for Arsenal since the restart.
A back injury has bothered him but even when fit he has not been called on. Being Arsenal’s £350,000-per-week top earner now comes with no guarantees.
When available Arteta hinted Ozil was omitted as he had stopped doing what earned him 10 successive league starts before the pause.
Mesut Ozil, who hasn’t played a minute since the restart, will testify to the change in culture
Meanwhile, Arteta’s concerns about Guendouzi’s attitude resurfaced when he was embroiled in controversy at Brighton last month.
He also did not help himself by arriving late for a follow-up meeting with Arteta and technical director Edu and, it has emerged, Guendouzi has been training alone since.
Arteta has his ‘non-negotiables,’ a minimum requirement that players work hard, and his no-nonsense approach as a manager may not surprise those familiar with him at Arsenal as a player and captain – a consummate professional and stickler for standards, attitude and application levels.
Nothing may have changed there but life at Arsenal now has. Actions do have consequences under Arteta.
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