Mikel Arteta completed his 200th game as an Arsenal manager on Saturday with his side edging out a 1-0 victory over Brentford to go atop the Premier League standings.
The journey to 200 games for Arteta has been a long one. When he was appointed as Arsenal’s head coach in December 2019, he inherited a bewildered club. Unai Emery, who succeeded Arsene Wenger, was sacked just over a year into his tenure, leading to Freddie Ljungberg’s interim spell before Arteta’s appointment.
As previously mentioned, Arsenal were not in the best of positions at the time. Arteta and Wenger share the fact that they were both unproven managers/coaches at the time of their arrival, but they have seemingly proven to be good decisions by the club on both occasions.
How Mikel Arteta’s first 200 Arsenal games compare to Arsene Wenger’s
Arteta has changed a lot around the club. Even in the early days, when Arsenal did not have the best track record, Arteta’s tactical vision was evident. Over the years, he has worked incredibly hard, made numerous tough but correct decisions, and assembled the best squad to effectively execute his tactics.
A significant focus for Arteta was fixing the club’s culture. He instilled values reminiscent of Wenger’s era, emphasising respect for the club and the importance of representing ‘Arsenal Football Club.’
“If I have to describe him– one word is integrity,” Arteta said on the red carpet of the premiere of the documentary; Arsene Wenger: Invincible.
“The values he had as a person and how he protected always the club. Every decision was for the benefit of the club,” the Spaniard said about Wenger.
One notable cultural change was the introduction of photos depicting key historic moments of the north London club. At London Colney, just before entering the field, players now exchange high-fives with a portrait of Wenger. This primarily aims to evoke a sense of the club’s greatness and inspire passion and energy on the pitch.
After 200 games at Arsenal, Arteta boasts 116 victories, surpassing Wenger’s 111 wins. Although both managers won three trophies after 200 games (if we’re counting Community Shields), Wenger’s were all Premier League titles, including the historic unbeaten 2003/04 ‘Invincibles’ season.
While Arteta has achieved significant success, winning the FA Cup in his first season (becoming the first Arsenal manager to win silverware in their debut season since George Graham in 1986/87) and holding the best win record at 200 games for an Arsenal manager, he is yet to secure a Premier League title. Last season, despite coming close, the Gunners fell short due to squad depth issues and injuries.
There seems to be a lot more we are yet to see from the Spanish manager. The Gunners began their 2023/24 campaign positively as they triumphed over Manchester City to win the first piece of silverware of the season – the Community Shield.
As of now, Arsenal lead the Premier League table after 13 games and are also top of their group in the Champions League. Disappointingly, however, the Gunners’ are already out of the Carabao Cup but they’ll have the chance to regain the FA Cup in the new year.
Regardless, it can comfortably be said that all Arsenal supporters are grateful to Arteta for restoring the club’s competitive edge. With the Spaniard at the helm, the Gunners are once again on the brink of glory.