A chorus of boos rang out around the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening as the full time whistle blew on Arsenal’s recent match against Burnley. Facing off against a side that had only picked up six points from ten games, scoring a league low of just five goals in that time, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal slumped to their seventh loss of the season, continuing on their worst ever start to a league campaign since the 1974-75 season.
The numbers for Arteta are pretty damning.
Four straight home losses for the first time in over sixty years, over twelve and a hours on the pitch without a goal from open play, and double the amount of red cards than any other side in the league since he took over the reins at the Emirates, it’s beginning to look like Arsenal have reached the point of no return with the Spaniard.
But, whilst it’s looking more and more likely that Arteta will be leaving the Emirates sooner rather than later, who could come in and be the replacement the Gunners need to find their way back up the table?
Current Club: Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone has been linked with the Arsenal head coach role pretty much since the final days of Arsene Wenger’s time at the helm, and is frequently cited as one of the most acclaimed managers coaching outside of England.
The manager of Atletico Madrid since December 2011, the Argentine is one of the longest standing managers in Europe and has led Los Rojiblancos to two Champions League finals and defied soccer betting odds everywhere when he won the La Liga title in 2013/14 in what is still one of the most gripping campaigns the Spanish top flight has ever thrown up.
The loyalty to one club is something Gunners fans can appreciate after the reign of Arsene Wenger, which is increasingly looking like a stable golden age in comparison to the debacles that have been the Emery-Ljungberg-Arteta eras, and Simeone has made his name by making the best of what he has and competing with teams more richly represented than his.
However, what really could be the biggest plus of Simeone is his infamous no-nonsense approach to players and their commitment to the cause. Downing tools and letting the fans down has become an all too familiar sight amongst the Arsenal first team in recent times, but there’s no way Simeone would allow for anything other than 100% fight and dedication should he arrive in North London.
Current Club: Southampton
Though his exploits at Southampton is undoubtedly the thing getting Arsenal fans purring the most at the moment, Ralph Hassenhuttl has been one of European football’s most promising up-and-coming managers since taking the hot seat at RP Leipzig back on the eve of the 2016/17 season.
On the back of a huge investment from the Red Bull group, Leipzig had romped to the Bundesliga. 2 title in 2016, but were an unknown quantity in the Bundesliga with Hassenhuttl taking over that summer. The Austrian led Leipzig to a surprising 2nd place, finishing ahead of the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, and helped unearth talents such as Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer and DayotUpamecano during his time at the club.
Southampton have a track record of bagging some serious coups with their managerial appointments, with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Keoman using the job to leapfrog themselves onto bigger and better things, and Hassenhuttl’s tenure has managed to stand out as particularly successful even next to those stints.
The Austrian plays a beautiful technically-focused style of football that would lend itself mightily well to the likes of Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka in the current Arsenal side, and he could prove to be the shrewd tactician needed to rejuvenate some of the stale attacking play the Emirates has had to watch in recent times under Arteta.
Current Club: Unattached
Once Arsenal fans stomach the thought of approaching a manager Tottenham had decided to ditch, they should realise that Mauricio Pochettino could be one of the best options as a managerial prospect. Readily available for work now without the need for compensation packages or negotiations with other clubs, Pochettino has been out of work since being dismissed by Spurs however, judging by his recent appearances on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, looks to be ready and raring to be back in the game.
Spurs and Arsenal are similar in the fact that they promote a good style of football and lack the financial might to outspend the likes of the Manchester clubs, which means the transition from the White to Red in North London could be a far more easy leap to make than what some might instantly think.
For two years or so, Pochettino led the most consistent and exciting side in the Premier League, and there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to do the same if he took over the mantle at Arsenal.