Arsenal supporters have been warned that the team’s progress under Mikel Arteta will take longer than his former superior Pep Guardiola managed with Manchester City and that he must first “get the right players in” before he can make real advancements.
The Spaniard has lost just two of his first 16 matches as Gunners boss, winning eight and drawing two.
That’s despite the north London outfit having only two of their previous 15 games across all competitions, drawing seven and losing six.
Arteta has certainly made some early development, with Arsenal notably more stable defensively - but the 37-year-old has been more pragmatic than was expected in some quarters.
Having spent three seasons as Guardiola’s assistant at reigning Premier League champions City, some believed Arteta might come in and implement a free-flowing attack-minded brand of football.
Arsenal fans issued Pep Guardiola warning about Mikel Arteta as Gunners flaw highlighted
And comparisons have constantly been drawn between the two compatriots, with Guardiola having endured a tough first campaign at the Etihad before going on to dominate in the following two seasons, winning two league titles, two Carabao Cups and an FA Cup.
But Arsenal legend Kevin Campbell insists the club’s fans must be patient, because Arteta cannot begin to play the way he wants until he has the right talent in place on the pitch.
“Everybody thinks Pep Guardiola’s system is attack, attack, attack,” Campbell told The Chronicles of a Gooner podcast.
“Pep Guardiola’s system is work hard, graft and press the ball. That is what his system is. Once you can do that you can play all the pretty football you like because you wear teams out.
“You have to, one: be extra fit, two: you have to have the buy-in from the players in order to do it, and three - and this is probably the most important thing - you have to have the right players, to play it.
“Unfortunately, Mikel Arteta this season is our third manager, so it may take a bit longer because now I think we’ve got the right manager, but now we’re going to have to get the right players in.
“I don’t think we’ve got the right balance of players in our system to play the way Mikel Arteta wants.”
The former Gunners striker has been impressed with what Arteta has done so far in the Emirates hotseat, but believes his current squad are still adjusting to the increase in intensity.
Campbell added: “I’ve been impressed with the way Arteta has gone about his business.
“We know that results have improved slightly, whereas we’ve probably drawn too many, that’s hindered him doing really well.
“If you could turn some of those draws into wins, we’d have been moving up the table. But we have to look at where we were, defensively we were awful under Unai Emery.
“The opposition just kept going through our midfield as if it wasn’t there, we were all over the place at times.
“Just like any manager, whether it’s experienced or not, you have got to sort your defence out first or else you leave yourself wide open. We’re seeing some real improved performances defensively.
“I think we suffered a little bit going forward at times, which can happen. Defensively, we saw David Luiz play his best football for Arsenal under Arteta, we saw the midfield functioning a lot better in some of those games as well.
“Probably one of the best performances was the Chelsea game which we lost, we ran out of a little bit of steam because the intensity Arteta wants to play with wasn’t in the players at the time.
“We suffered in that game, went on the Man United game and beat them convincingly, that was a lot more aggressive and we were on the front foot.
“But the difference is we’re not used to training and playing at that intensity week-in, week-out. It was always going to come and affect us at some stage and unfortunately it really affected us against Olympiakos.”
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