The Arsenal boss has been forced to make a number of big decisions amid what has been a turbulent start to the season for the Gunners, littered with debuts for new stars
Mikel Arteta finally has his Arsenal team and with that comes the end of any excuses – the Spaniard’s time for adjusting to life as a manager is long gone, the £135m spent on six new recruits this summer represents a huge vote of faith from the club’s hierarchy.
The season started in a terrible fashion, with three losses, zero goals and nine conceded. However, the tide may be turning.
As a result of several Arsenal players leaving for international duty at the end of August, the mood was very low around London Colney. However, things are looking drastically different as we approach the second half of the season.
The last fixture of Arsenal before the break was a 5-0 defeat at the hand’s Manchester City. This was arguably Arteta’s lowest point.
Five of the five names who had lined up at Etihad were gone by the time of the next league match against Norwich. They were all part of the Gunners defence and Bernd Leno, the shot-stopper.
Although Rob Holding, Cedric Andres, and Sead Kolasinac were not surprising to Gunners fans, the decision to drop Leno caused quite a stir.
Aaron Ramsdale’s signing was met with backlash from Arsenal fans, who opposed the deal due to everything from the fee (£24m) to his ability between the sticks.
Therefore thrusting him into the thick of things with just one Carabao Cup appearance under his belt came as a surprise, but the reasons why Arteta was willing to meet Sheffield United’s valuation were evident soon enough.
Arteta will benefit from a completely new tactical approach thanks to Ramsdale. Ramsdale is well-known for his constant tweaking and ability to control every move from his dugout.
While Leno was a skilled shot-stopper but didn’t understand what was required with the ball at his feet, Ramsdale has demonstrated the technical prowess Arsenal have lost in midfield and in goal.
Arsenal’s former Blades goalkeeper has given Arsenal a new way to beat the press. His high-risk passing style between lines allows Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey to seamlessly transform defence into attack.
Arteta will be a huge fan of Arsenal’s second goal in their recent 3-1 win in the North London derby. The move was a result of a dangerous Ramsdale pass that ended up in Hugo Lloris’ net seconds later.
Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu is already a favourite of Arsenal fans.
Tomiyasu brings back a refreshing change in an era when attacking fullbacks leave a lot of room for improvement in the defence.
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On Sunday, the aforementioned pair were at their absolute best against Spurs.
Ramsdale parried Harry Kane’s driven attempt at a goal, but Tomiyasu responded quickly, clearing his lines to block any possibility of a rebound.
As the pair enjoyed a thumping embrace and fought for the points, it brought a smile to the faces of even the most depressed Arsenal fans.
As Arsenal prepares for the Amex trip on Saturday, few Arsenal fans would have expected Ramsdale to be alongside Tomiyasu.