Ten Things We Learned From All Or Nothing about Arsenal and Mikel Arteta

Alan Alger: Ten Things We Learned From All Or Nothing

Ten Things We Learned From All Or Nothing about Arsenal and Mikel Arteta

Arsenal supporters - and the wider world - have been gripped during the series All or Nothing.

The Amazon documentary reveals what went on behind the scenes at the North London giants during the 2021-22 season, as Arsenal and boss Mikel Arteta focused their efforts on challenging for domestic success and returning to elite European competition.

Here's loyal Arsenal supporter and Gooner Fanzine contributor Alan Alger's take on the must-watch show that has got everyone talking.

Ten Things We Learned From All Or Nothing

Gooners everywhere have surely already binge-watched all eight episodes of the ‘behind the scenes’ special on the club.

Spoiler alert for those that haven’t, but here’s ten things I’ve taken from the series…

1) The club are backing short term pain for long term gain…

The Auba situation which dominated the middle episodes of the series highlighted not just the ruthless side of Mikel Arteta but also that the club were willing to back his judgement in maintaining authority using, arguably, his best asset as an example. This may have led to the disappointing conclusion to the season, but the overall feeling is that the boss convinced the club hierarchy that discipline, trust and attitude will be much better magnets for eventual success further down the road than star names doing exactly what they want.

2) Protect Bukayo Saka at all costs…

As fans that have paid close attention to his every move on the pitch since his introduction midway through Unai Emery’s reign at the club, it was great to see how much of a star our Ealing-born winger is away from the spotlight of matches. His kind nature, intelligence and maturity bodes just as well for the future as his actual ability with the ball. Highlights included the hilarious frustration while trying to conduct a normal conversation (about mazes) with his teammates, playing Santa with all the backroom staff receiving personal gifts and the segment with young fan Teddy on the Emirates pitch. 

3) Less is more, Mikel…

the modern player is said to have a short attention span, managers now need to vary their methods almost game-by-game to ensure they’re getting messages through. We saw some innovative stuff from Arteta within each episode but the overall conclusion has to be that he should ‘keep it simple’. The Anfield atmosphere ‘created’ by speakers around the training pitch was extremely far fetched as was the lightbulb story before the Brighton game. While stuff like the speech from club photographer Stuart MacFarlane, ahead of the home North London Derby, and the Ivan Toney tweet, before hosting Brentford, achieved far better results – even with a pinch of hindsight added.

4) Businessmen in football shouldn’t be seen or heard…

‘All or Nothing’ certainly didn’t help with the suspension of reality we all need in trying to believe that we support a ‘Football Club’ and not a multi-million pound international business. From Josh Kroenke playing rather fast and loose with the exact date that his family have been in charge of the club to Vinai Venkatesham looking utterly lost every time the talk in the room turned to football matters. The worst scene was the cringeworthy way Vinai tried to explain to Arteta why they went with the end of season contract extension – a decision that didn’t really benefit anyone, least of all the boss.

5) The right support does make a difference…

The scene where club PR-man Mark Gonnella informs Mikel Arteta that the ground has never been so loud really shows that the right kind of support will always get through to the management and players. This takes on a further dimension when Arteta gets the team fully behind the playing of ‘North London Forever’ before home games, towards the end of the series.

6) The wrong support doesn't

It also shows that if you want the team playing their best then focus on the Emirates becoming a fortress rather than stopping player cars coming out of car parks, sounding off on Twitter or recording videos in your bedroom calling for the heads of players or the boss.

7) What do the Media know?...

Football content in newspapers or on national radio and TV is intended for immediate consumption and then discarded quickly as narratives change as games comes thick and fast throughout the season. It’s therefore an interesting aspect of ‘All or Nothing’ to hear press conference questions and snippets from radio shows that are mostly proved immediately wide of the mark in the next scene. Couple that with absolutely baseless topics and cliched points being brought into play to get an Arteta soundbite or clickbait (worst culprit Talksport’s Ian Abrahams) and you wonder why we don’t just exclusively listen to some of our great Arsenal fan podcasts and just read The Gooner!

8) Arsenal for everyone…

Sometimes documentary makers, quite rightly, try to balance up the views and opinions they seek in vox-pops by speaking to a broad range of contributors. You get the feeling that they didn’t have to try that hard at all to produce a very natural range of Arsenal fans from all different backgrounds, with our fanbase being proudly one of the most diverse in the Premier League.

9) Mikel went there!...

Despite the mountains of evidence that Arsene Wenger left the club in an abysmal state, it’s an area where both of his successors have declined to publicly give their views. For good reason too, as there’s obviously no upside in badmouthing a club legend. Although it’s evident that the current dip in fortunes for the club started with Wenger neglecting the small details in his latter years. We did, however, see one little slip of the mask from Arteta on the training ground as he was justifying his Aubameyang stance to a fellow coach by saying “It’s been like this here for about ten years” when referencing the poor attitude of the squad and how it’s impacted on performance.

10) Arteta IS likeable…

I wholeheartedly unconditionally support anyone that manages our great club, but I must confess that up until clicking the play button on ‘amazon Prime’ I couldn’t really warm to our manager. I’ve got to say I didn’t really warm to the type of player he was when wearing the red and white too. That’s all changed for me after this series and I can see a family man, an innovator and best of all a good man that wants the very best for the club and is driven to deliver it.


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