This is a tough time of the year having lost my son but Arsenal under ‘Gooner’ Arteta has been a source of strength for me
CHRISTMAS and New Years is a particularly difficult time for me as I lost my son on January 1st, 2019.
The Boxing Day game against West Ham will indeed be the first visit to the Emirates during the busy Christmas and New Year schedule since.
My last match with my boy was just before Christmas 2018 and the incredible 4-2 loss to old rivals Spurs.
Of course, I had no idea of the significance of that memorable afternoon.
Arsenal and the club’s community have been a constant pillar of strength and support for me and Mikel Arteta has (unknowingly) been a big part of that.
I admired him as a player and I wrote an article predicting his move from attacking midfielder to defensive midfielder as soon as I knew Alex Song was leaving the club.
Arteta has been a intellectual player throughout his career and his interpretation of the game and passing range made the transition to the holding role seamless.
The headlines of the 2013/14 season, which culminated in Arsenal’s first trophy in nine years, will forever belong to Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey, but for me Arteta was the glue and engine room in the team.
Our greatest manager of all time knew the likeable, determined Spaniard would make a formidable manager and said so as he began his enforced layoffs the following year and launched his coaching career.
Perhaps it was easy to predict Arteta would be successful as a coach or manager, having learned first from Wenger and then obviously from Pep Guardiola, but it doesn’t always go as we expect.
However, Arteta had my support from day one and that first fabulous win on the first anniversary of my son’s death against Man United seemed fateful.
I remember sitting at home with tears in my eyes after the final whistle, partly because I missed my son, and just as feeling that Arteta and the team had played for us.
There have been times since that incredible FA Cup win in 2020, certainly in the 20/21 season, when I thought Arteta was stubborn and unyielding, but at no point did I doubt he was the right man to get Arsenal there Bringing it back to where we are as supporters is what our association wanted to be.
Yes, there were mistakes in the transfer market, but as the team became more and more his own and was able to play the way he envisioned, the pattern and progression became so evident.
The parallels to George Graham’s early tenure in which senior fan favorites were coerced are evident and now, on the third anniversary, the team topping the Premier League is his team.
A squad composed primarily of the players he wanted, with the age profile he chose, capable of playing football in the style, with and without the ball he determined.
Of course, the loss of his most important man, Gabriel Jesus, is a corner ball, but I’m confident Arteta will find a way to maintain the momentum his team built ahead of the enforced World Cup break.
Not just because I would say he has evolved and is much more flexible as a manager, but because everyone in the first-team squad believes in him, and KSE in particular and the Arsenal board do too.
If the Spaniard feels he needs reinforcements, the hierarchy will find the means.
In short, I love the fact that Mikel is at my club and I have faith in him continuing to guide Arsenal in the right direction.
He’s turned promising players into top players and he’s turned fickle performers into constant.
He’s done Arsenal just as well off the ball as on the ball, building a defense that works as a collective unit, and he’s turned Arsenal’s famous soft underside into a solid six-pack!
After all, I consider our manager an Arsenal man. No matter what happened before in his playing career, he took a pay cut to become one and despite a stint in Manchester, Arteta has always been a gooner at heart.
Happy third anniversary Mikel. I love the journey you are taking me on and you have made the support of my team a source of ease in an often dark existence. Thank you very much!
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6988064/arsenal-fan-view-arteta-festive-period/ This is a tough time of the year having lost my son but Arsenal under ‘Gooner’ Arteta has been a source of strength for me