On August 29, 2020, things were going well for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal after beating Liverpool at Wembley.
Yes, only the Community Shield, but the victory came against Jurgen Klopp’s previously all-conquering Reds side and marked Arteta’s second trophy in a month after a fine showing to win the FA Cup Final against Chelsea.
That FA Cup result also made him the first Arsenal manager to win a major trophy in his first season since George Graham back in 1986-87, and in September his job title was changed from head coach to manager, consolidating his power at the club.
However, after a disappointing 3-0 loss against the same opponents on Saturday in his 50th match in charge, his side lie 10th, only above the bottom half and newly promoted Leeds on goal difference, out of the domestic cups and with no real chance of finishing in the European slots.
In fact, their season hinges on European success – with Arteta taking his side into Europa League quarter-final action against Slavia Prague tonight. It also appears their most likely route back into Europe next season, given their domestic form.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta suffered a poor 3-0 loss against Liverpool in his 50th game in charge
The performance was worlds away from the Gunners’ Community Shield win back in August
Sportsmail takes a look at the statistics to discern what progress, if any, has been made during Arteta’s stewardship, and analyses how he stacks up to predecessor Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger’s disappointing denouement at the Emirates.
As shown in the table above, Arsenal – in Wenger’s last 50 matches – won 54 per cent of their games, scoring 96 in the process – almost two goals in every outing.
Club icon Wenger enjoyed huge success in his early years at the club, but departed at the end of his contract in 2018 despite wanting to stay, calling his exit ‘very hard’ and ‘very brutal’ amid widespread hostility from the fanbase.
Arsene Wenger endured a hostile exit but his side during his last days outstrips Arteta’s side
Emery only had 51 Premier League games in charge at the Emirates, but following a 2-0 defeat by Manchester City in his first game, his side won half of their following half-century of fixtures, scoring 91 goals, drawing more but losing less than compared to Wenger.
The Spaniard, now at Villarreal, went on a 22-match unbeaten streak during his first campaign but was sacked in November 2019 after a seven-game winless run.
Arteta’s tenure started promisingly with two trophies, but his first 50 top-flight games compare unfavourably to the Frenchman and Emery, with fewer matches won and more matches lost than both.
Unai Emery was sacked after runs of poor form but his side also outperforms the current team
Captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled with inconsistency this year
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His win percentage rests at 42 per cent, clearly below his two full-time predecessors, with only 72 goals scored – an average of less than one-and-a-half per game.
This tallies with the recent goalscoring woes of captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who only has one goal in his last six league appearances.
The 31-year-old Gabonese striker has struggled with inconsistent form this campaign since signing a lucrative three-year contract back in September.
Nonetheless, Arteta’s defence is tighter so far, having conceded 56 compared to 64 under Wenger and 70 under Emery in the period studied, although his clean sheet record is marginally worse than Wenger’s.
Critics could point to questionable recruitment affecting Arteta’s struggles at the Emirates so far, with players likely to be uncertain over their futures considering the sizeable proposed squad overhaul this summer.
Goalkeeper Emi Martinez (right) was sold to Aston Villa and has been superb since leaving
German midfielder Mesut Ozil was ostracised and then sold to Fenerbahce, ostensibly due to the lack of a No 10 in Arteta’s usual tactical system, although Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard has since impressed in his spot behind the striker.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was sold to Aston Villa despite playing well in the latter stages of last season, and has been integral for Dean Smith’s side, while No 1 Bernd Leno has failed to hit the heights of the Argentine.
Midfielder Thomas Partey signed for £45million but has been limited to 16 Premier League appearances due to injury, while error-prone Granit Xhaka has been ever present in the engine room with Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi out on loan.