We need to address the elephant in the room.
No, not Arsenal fans’ ability to send abuse for no apparent good reason, although that’s a topic on its own, instead Mikel Arteta’s ability to chop and change for no good reason.
Let’s take a look at the state of affairs over the course of this season.
Will Arsenal play European football next season?
Arsenal struggled in what proved to be one of their worst starts to a league season since the 1974/1975 season. The club then seemingly resurrected their season with a six-game unbeaten run and everything was seemingly ok.
Arteta had seemed to find a system that worked for him as the introduction of Emile Smith Rowe allowed for more fluid attacking football. It coincided in an up-turn in form from Alexandre Lacazette, who slammed in six goals and assisted a further three in what was a sensational turn around for the Frenchman
Martin Odegaard was then acquired from Real Madrid and everything seemed rosy as the Spaniard’s attacking options were further bolstered ahead of what was going to be a tough end to the season.
And to add the cherry on top, Nicolas Pepe turned his fortunes around, scoring twice in three games for the Gunners in what was arguably his best run of form for the club.
Fast-forward to the end of February, Pepe and Lacazette have been dropped (for whatever reason) and Smith Rowe has been shifted out to the left-wing to accomodate for the Norwegian ace in a partnership that’s causing more problems than it’s solving.
You had a successful formula, why change it? It’s one of the main questions that come out of the win over Benfica. Yes, the Emirates Stadium giants have successfully qualified for the next round, but they made hard work of it, and it’s left some of the blame at the door step of their manager.