It’s safe to say, Arsenal are enjoying life under former midfielder Mikel Arteta.
He’s beginning to turn things around from that tumultuous Unai Emery reign having already clinched two trophies in the form of the FA Cup and Community Shield.
There haven’t been many holes to pick at since he took the helm in December 2019.
However, the 38-year-old may have just walked into his first major mistake at the Emirates Stadium by excluding Mesut Ozil from his Europa League squad this week.
The German playmaker has rarely been seen this season and quite possibly has no future under his old teammate, but that shouldn’t mean his talents are completely worthless.
Arteta failed to land one of his key targets in Houssem Aouar during the summer transfer window, meaning there is still a creative void and a lack of a true number ten – outside of the outcasted Ozil.
It’s only really Dani Ceballos who can create such chances through the middle, though he’s not playing every game and if he were to pick up an injury or suspension, then that decision to omit the 31-year-old could look rather silly.
The Gunners’ misfit has not contributed to 12 or more goals since the 2017/18 Premier League season but his playing time in each campaign since has dramatically dropped along with his goals and assist numbers.
Long-time a favourite of legendary boss Arsene Wenger
Being on a whopping £350k-per-week has understandably increased the pressure and often puts him under scrutiny amongst the Emirates faithful, but he’s never averaged lower than 1.9 key passes per game throughout his Arsenal career with a high of 4.2 coming in the 2015/16 season, via WhoScored.
It’s on Arteta to bring that back out of him instead of simply giving up.
Arteta may have just made his biggest blunder yet.