Alan Alger's Last Word column: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta deserves praise - here's why

Here's an extra slice of Alan Alger's Last Word Arsenal column following the Gunners excellent victory in the North London derby as he praises boss Mikel Arteta

Alan Alger's Last Word column: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta deserves praise - here's why

Read Alan Alger's Last Word column

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Alan Alger's Last Word Arsenal column has become a must-read on the Gooner website.

Alan's writing also appears in print, including his latest piece in our forthcoming new issue, out this weekend, which you can buy here. 

After Arsenal's excellent 2-1 victory over Spurs in Sunday's north London derby, we thought we all need more of Alan's measured, informed writing.

So, read on for an extra slice of his Last Word column as he hails Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.


There are many areas in which Mikel Arteta deserves praise in the aftermath of Arsenal's stirring 2-1 victory over Spurs in the North London derby on Sunday.

His ruthless upholding of the rules in sidelining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang received plenty of attention, something that may have backfired if the result had gone against us.

I also like the fact that he has made some assessments on players that thought they had an easy enough berth in the starting XI.

All great squads have a degree of healthy competition, which good managers blend with togetherness and team spirit.

The highest profile case of squad competition has been Hector Bellerin.

But before writing about my opinion of him as a footballer I once again have to address the fact that I’m not in the baying idiot camp that somehow judge him for off the field conduct that doesn’t align with their views.

This is a purely football based opinion.

The boss seems to have realised that he’s not good enough and if we can nick a few million quid from PSG (or any other reckless spenders) in the summer it will be an incredible bit of business.

For those that doubt this view here’s a perfect illustration.

Our loss rate with Hector starting matches this campaign is 41%, without him it’s just 13%.

There’s an element of what might have been after each good result we fire off in the league.

It’s certainly a valid point to say that Arteta should have noticed the problem with the formation and lack of a ‘number 10’ far sooner than he did. Let’s also remember that those changes that have turned our season were forced upon him.

But he’s not being a passive manager in all of this and his animation on the bench is probably replicated elsewhere with these players.

For as long as they look like they are buying into it, then we definitely have to.

There are many positives. Winning our most important remaining league game while maintaining focus on the Europa League is a welcome double.

Our advantage over Olympiacos will mean that we can probably start to take it easy after half-time on Thursday.

Then we face a West Ham side that have dropped off from recent good performances, even their win over Leeds was a little fortunate prior to their lacklustre defeat at Old Trafford hours after the NLD.

We can achieve back-to-back league wins for just the fifth time this season if successful at the London Stadium.

Keeping us firmly fixed to the right half of the table in a topsy-turvy season.

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