During Mikel Arteta’s unveiling as Arsenal boss, the Spaniard made a clear vow to the club’s fanbase. He wanted to build a team supporters could be proud of once again after a catastrophic 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Coincidentally, talks between Arsenal and their former midfielder over the vacant managerial position started the day after the game in which Arteta had been in the opposition dugout.
The former City assistant saw the mess he was inheriting first hand but despite the challenge ahead, Arteta was eager to step up and be a catalyst for change.
“The first thing is to change the energy,” Arteta said in his first Arsenal press conference.
“Last week I was here with Manchester City and I was a little bit down after the game when I felt what was going on.
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“So we have to try to engage everybody, I have to try and convince the players about what I want to do, how I want to do it, they have to start accepting a different process, a different way of thinking, and I want to get all the staff and everybody at the club with the same mindset.
“We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest.
“If you don’t have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live, and if you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms and in this way. And after that, we can talk about other things.”
Ten months on from his arrival, Arteta already has the club punching above their weight.
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Make no mistake, Arsenal belong in the upper echelons of the Premier League but when he took charge the team was a mess.
Arteta steadied the ship in his first full season before winning the FA Cup against Chelsea at Wembley after completely transforming the mindset of his squad.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked destined for the exit door but has now penned a long-term contract extension.
The Gunners have also snapped up Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, proving Arteta can attract the best of the best.
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His players are now engaged and willing to fight for the badge. All of them have improved having been handed a fresh start.
Arsenal’s remarkable progress under Arteta was commended by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ahead of their meeting at Anfield last month.
“He’s shown in a short period of time that he’s an exceptional manager. He’s changed the structure, got balance between defence/offence,” Klopp said.
“They have good organisation, still with creative freedom. He’s changed the mood at the club.”
Pep Guardiola has already fallen foul to his former assistant, after losing the FA Cup semi-final to his opposite number.
The City boss has been taken back by Arteta’s start to life in the hot seat and believes he is the man to take the club back to the top.
“They have something special already, they have a team spirit Mikel has created,” Guardiola said in July.
“I see from the side how they celebrate goals, how they fight for every ball. They have begun to create something special for the club. We approach Arsenal like we do the other ones.
“Arsenal were one of the elite clubs in English football for the last 20, 30 years. I am pretty sure he is the right person to take them back to the position they were.”
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