Despite recent back-to-back Premier League victories over Norwich and Burnley, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta hasn’t enjoyed the start to the new season that he was likely hoping for.
After kicking off the new campaign with three consecutive defeats – while not managing a single goal in response – large sections of the Gunners’ support were calling for the Spaniard to be relieved of his duties.
Although his pair of recent wins have helped to quieten the discontent of Arsenal fans somewhat, there is still a general feeling that he is not the right man for the role – and he remains one of the leading candidates with bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job.
However, though Arteta may not have the backing of supporters as boss at the Emirates, plenty on social media have joked that they would like to see him return as a player after footage of him participating in a team training season emerged.
Arteta retired as a player at the end of the 2015/16 season, with his final match coming in a 4-0 home win for Arsenal over Aston Villa.
Throughout his own career, skillful midfielder Arteta was renowned for being a sublime passer of the ball – and a training clip shared on the @afcstuff Twitter account on Wednesday shows that little has changed in the five years since he hung up his boots.
Playing a substantial role in a possession drill alongside his players, Arteta strokes the ball around with ease at both short and long-range, finding his targets effortlessly.
“Still better than half of them,” said one Arsenal fan of the boss’ showing.
“More mobile than Xhaka,” read a second reply.
“He’s gonna get fed up and sub himself in at some point this season, I just know it,” predicted another supporter.
“Involve Conte in this drill,” jested a fourth comment referring to rumours that ex-Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte is being lined up to replace Arteta at Arsenal.
You can check out the footage for yourself below…
As impressive as Arteta was, a few supporters couldn’t help but bring up the famous occasion where former Gunners defender Kolo Toure lunged into a two-footed challenge on then-Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger during a trial with the north London club.
So aggressive was Toure’s challenge that Wenger had to checked over by a doctor afterwards – and one fan joked that the same fate could befall the current manager, saying: “All I want to see is if someone clatters Arteta like Kolo did to Wenger on his trial.”
“Should have got two-footed by Ben White to repeat history,” read another post referring to the incident.
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The passing on display may have been crisp, but one Gunners supporter was keen to know if his side had been practicing their skills in front of target, given their poor goals return this season.
“Hopefully this was followed up by a shooting drill because it’s needed,” they declared.
Heading into the north London derby with Tottenham this weekend, Arteta will be hopeful that his team can make it three wins out of three – and help to secure his future in the Arsenal hot seat.
Saka to leave Arsenal? (Via The Football Terrace)