It didn’t take long for cracks to start appearing in Arsenal. Before the match with Manchester City, there was talk that the team could hardly wait for the match and, judging by the mood at the camp in London Colney, the players of Mikel Arteta had to chase the field. But after 90 disastrous minutes at the Etihad Stadium, Arsenal was returned to the crisis that marked the first part of the season, while the coach was Unai Emery, Goal.com writes.
There were injuries, defensive disasters and controversy surrounding the absent Mesut Özil, and the night ended with suggestions of significant differences in the opinions of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s hierarchy around the future of David Luiz. For Louise herself, it was a night to forget. The Brazilian did not start the game, but instead of the injured Pablo Maria, he entered in the middle of the first half and managed to give Raheem Sterling his first goal, hide a penalty kick and be sent off, all in just 25 terrible minutes.
For Arteta, it was an evening that perfectly highlights the difficulties they will face this summer as they try to rearrange a team that desperately needs an overhaul. The Arsenal coach was visibly angry after the game.
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“Everything went wrong from the first minutes after Granit Xhake’s injury, because of which we had to change the plan. Every accident that could have happened tonight has happened and I hope it will then bypass us in the next 10 games ahead of us,” he said. Arteta.
Things got really interesting when the conversation turned to Louise. The midfielder’s contract expires on June 30 and if no agreement is reached by June 23, he will become a free agent. Arteta wants Louise to stay, despite the horrific performance at the Etihad, but it seems that his position contradicts the views of Arsenal’s powerful, although sources from the club told Goal.com that everyone respects the defender and what he brings to the team, both on the field and and beyond.
“I don’t know what will happen to his contract. I know what happened today. There’s a reason he didn’t play from the start. He had to play because Pablo got injured. He tried, but it didn’t help the team,” said the obviously frustrated Arteta. added:
“My opinion of him hasn’t changed since I came to the club and he won’t change because of his performance tonight.”
Was Louise really that catastrophic because of the burden of the contract expiration?
Arteta’s statement suggests that Louise was not mentally ready to play because he is unsure of his future, and it seems that Louise himself admitted this to the press after the defeat.
“It’s not the team’s fault, it’s my fault. I think the team played well, especially with 10 players, the coach is amazing, the players are amazing. It was just my mistake. I decided to play, I should have decided differently in the last two months, but I’m not It’s about my contract, whether I’m staying or not I’m staying here for 14 days and that’s it I like it here, that’s why I still train hard, that’s why I came here I want to stay, the coach knows it, he he wants me to stay and we’re just waiting for decisions, ”Louise told Sky Sports.
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However, the problem for Arteta and Louise is that these decisions are made by a hierarchy that sees club revenues fall due to the frightening financial effect of the coronavirus pandemic and the three-year period without the Champions League. There is not much money and this makes planning the future extremely difficult. So it may come as no surprise that the club is reluctant to offer the error-prone 33-year-old another lucrative contract. And a show like the one Louise had at the Etihad will not improve his chances of staying.
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“If the top people have decided that David Luiz will not stay another season, then it’s over. The club obviously doesn’t want him to stay and doesn’t want to offer him a contract,” Jamie Carragher said after the defeat at the Etihad.
Arteta, however, wants Louise to stay. He still believes the Brazilian has a key role to play in rebuilding the team and sees his experience as key to a new step forward. But the Spanish coach has already learned that it will not be easy for him to push his desires when it comes to team formation. The fact that Arsenal are reluctant to meet his demands around Louise is an early warning of what awaits him this summer.
Where was Özil on Wednesday?
Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Arteta warned that Arsenal could not afford passivity in the coming months as its rivals stepped up.
“The difference will be bigger. I didn’t come here to accept it. The challenge for all of us is to improve the players we already have and find a way to strengthen the team in the right positions to have the best possible chance to compete at this level. Every year that level is getting higher. In my plans for the summer, of course, there were no coronaviruses and all the side effects, but we know what we need to do to improve the team, “Arteta said.
However, that step forward will not be easy and Arteta has already realized that. So far the club has not supported him around Luiz, and now he has a big cloud above him when it comes to Mesut Özil. By Wednesday, the German playmaker had started 10 games in Arteta’s tenure, and at the Etihad he was not in the squad at all, in which there were nine substitutions.
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“The reasons were tactical. I needed players in other positions and that’s why I decided to leave him out,” Arteta explained when asked about it after the game. That answer seemed to come directly from Unai Emery’s notebook.
Arteta is aware that selling Özil this summer would be good for the club and its ability to achieve more in the market. For starters, it would save £ 18m on salaries, which could be spent elsewhere, and would conclude the soap opera that Arsenal has been struggling with for more than a year.
Getting rid of the 31-year-old player, however, will be extremely difficult. He has 12 months left on his contract guaranteeing him £ 350,000 a week and he has kept saying he has no intention of leaving the club until his contract expires. Whether Wednesday night was the start of his longer absence from the team remains to be seen. But as Emery has discovered to his own detriment, Özil inevitably becomes a bigger problem when he’s not playing than when he’s playing.
Arteta must weigh well. He knows the benefits of ousting Özil, but he will also be aware of the problems posed by bypassing Arsenal’s highest paid footballer. Emery lost that battle, and Arteta will certainly try to avoid a similar outcome. It could depend on what he manages to achieve this summer, Goal.com concludes.