Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta can be happy with his work so far at the Emirates Stadium.
His first 15 matches as Arsenal manager have seen him win eight, draw five and lose just two so far. The current Premier League suspension means that their momentum has been halted, but there are certainly plenty of positives to take from his tenure to date.
A notoriously difficult time to put your stamp on a squad, the Spaniard only signed Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari on loan during the January transfer window – the fact they are both defenders should be telling. In fact, it appears he tried to sign another, according to Le Parisien. The French outlet have claimed that Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti turned down an offer from the Emirates outfit for his services.
Arsenal have not exactly been solid at the back this term – they have conceded 36 goals in the Premier League so far, which is better than just two other sides currently in the top 10 in the division. However, they may have just had a lucky escape.
That is because he is no better than Sokratis. The Greece international has started 19 games so far this season in the top tier, meaning he has been the most regular partner for David Luiz at the back. In that time, he has managed to help keep four clean sheets, whilst he has won 62% of his duels. Not only that, he also has an 88% pass accuracy and has made 1.3 tackles per match. He has only given one foul away per game as well.
£36m-rated Umtiti – as per Transfermarkt – has been dogged by injuries, but he has still managed to feature 11 times in La Liga, of which nine have been starts. He does have a higher pass accuracy than Sokratis, with 93%, but that is the only real department where he is in the ascendancy. He has kept two clean sheets, won just 61% of his duels in comparison, and has made just 0.8 tackles per game. In terms of fouls given away, as well, he is the worse of the two – his number stands at 1.5.
Clearly, Arsenal are in need of reinforcement at the back, and not just because they have not exactly been reliable. Sokratis is already 31, and will be 32 by the start of the the next campaign, whilst Luiz is 32 and will turn 33 next month. However, Umtiti is not the man for them.
As the club look to add new recruits in the areas they really need, it is back to the drawing board this time around.