Mikel Arteta: Fox or hedgehog?

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Happy Christmas one and all.

Even if you don’t do the pagan thing, I hope you’re taking the best bits of the festivities and making them work for you this Friday. Beers at 9. Too much food. MASSIVE fight with your partner.

How about presents? How greedy were you with your ask this year?

I asked for a way out of the mess Arsenal have leveled on themselves. Santa is going to have to work hard to satisfy this tall order.

If Mikel is staying, let’s see what he’s got. He’s been taught all the worst lessons over the past 5 months, his big challenge is whether he is capable of actively learning… or whether he’s going to dig his heels in and get sacked.

There’s an old parable Isiah Berlin used in one of his essays.

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

Leaders are split into these two camps. Lincoln would be a fox. He knew where he was going, but he was prepared to zigzag to get there.

Steve Jobs was a hedgehog. A hedgehog has a singular vision and nothing will shake them from that path. When the world went opensource, he decided to close off his products. When the world offered variety, he went for a narrower focus. When Microsoft let others build hardware for them, he shut off contractors, and created an entire production arm, building out an unstoppable vertically integrated behemoth.

Who does Mikel think he is right now? He looks like a hedgehog. His plan is failing, he’s stuck in a rut, and he can’t see that his singular vision is failing. His one way of operating is tanking and he can’t adapt. It’s unclear whether his vision is even worth being a hedgehog for.

He needs to become a fox. Lincoln knew he wanted to end slavery, but he was painfully aware there were things that needed to happen before he could drive at that goal. He said things he didn’t agree with privately. He wouldn’t commit to anything that would rankle half the country he needed to vote for him. He was extremely cunning in how drove towards power so he could make the changes he felt were necessary for his higher calling.

If you’re going to shoot at the end goal early, boy, you’d better not miss. My oh my, has our boy missed. His lack of patience has cost him a season and most of his political capital with the fans. A grand vision means nothing in politics if you aren’t in power… he’s in serious jeopardy of losing power after only a year.

Arteta needs learn to be a fox. He needs to work out how to get back to winning ways. He needs to start crafting a narrative the fans can get behind. He might have to do some painful things, like give up on players he put faith in. Like admitting he made his very own Ozil mistake. Like winding back the ‘let’s do pretty football’ part of the process and get back to basics again.

Is he capable of being a fox? So far, it doesn’t look that way. He continues to make the same mistakes, trot out bland tired excuses, and flap around like a one-dimensional hedgehog.

This Sunday is huge. The coaching staff has had a week to plot out a way to get at Chelsea. If they fail, it’s going to be really, really hard to picture a way Arteta escapes with his job.

Our season starts at home to Chelsea. Win, and the next group of games feels more comfortable. We rack up some points. We move to midtable safety. Lose? Well, I don’t know where it goes.

It’s time to shut up and support the lads. Let’s see if we’re dealing with a hedgehog powering towards a main road at night, or a fox, that’s raiding a chicken coup before shitting in a farmers wellington boot.

Happy Christmas, have a great day, thank you for reading. I love you all very dearly. x

520 Responses to “Mikel Arteta: Fox or hedgehog?”

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  1. Batistuta

    How was it on par with Wenger’s last season though?

    He finished 5th a point behind 3rd and got to a European cup final in his first season in a new country and league?

  2. Batistuta

    A bit dishonest to suggest Wenger was sacked for qualifying for the Europa league though, the team seemed to be going nowhere under him and logic dictated it was time for a change.

    Same with Emery, not the best start to his second season and was rightly sacked for it but can’t compare a new manager in a new country in a new league coming 1 point behind his ultimate target and getting to the club’s first European final in how many years to Wenger’s final season which was his 2nd consecutive season outside the top 4

  3. Pierre

    Mings grabs Zaha around the neck, zaha physically tries to pull Mings arm put of his socket …2 yellows …guaranteed red card for an Arsenal player 100%

  4. Batistuta

    There’s no agenda against Arsenal football club, if there was the last FA Cup final would maybe have gone into extratime

  5. raptora

    If only Emery wasn’t overruled and got Zaha instead of Pepe. Even if Zaha isn’t the best player around, he’s a warrior compared to Pepe. He should score and assist more but his influence is second to none in that CP team. He’s been carrying them for years.

  6. TheLegendaryDB10


    I agree that Vinai is the least of our problems. But it would help if he had a better grasp of football: ie in making sure that MA was not appointed immediately as manager or in making sure that MA is surrounded by experienced people to help MA.

    In fact it is a bit mad that this was agreed and that Edu let it happen. (I am assuming that it was Vinai who made the decision to promote MA to manager).

    Arteta is definitively a huge problem as we speak. His inexperience is really hurting the team and the club (financially if we end up as low as we are in the table now).

    The sale of Martinez (which I was furious about) really should have set the alarm bells ringing. It highlights MA’s inability in seeing the confidence that Emi was instilling in our defence compared to Leno.

  7. London gunner

    selling emi was a you never go full retard moment.

    he is the only keeper that suits are playing style aka playing out from the back not even going to talk about his huge list of other great qualities

  8. Dissenter

    Elneny should have been sent off a giant Burnley . Referee let us slide
    Did you miss Xhaka’s diving theaterics against Kovacic in the FA cup final?
    There’s no officiating conspiracy against Arsenal.

  9. Batistuta

    Don’t think it’s a debate considering how long Wenger was here and what he won really.

    The Arteta hire was the wrong one considering the state of the squad when Emery was fired. See how much Pirlo is struggling even with a far superior squad here in Italy. The general consensus being he should have been allowed to actually coach their under 23s for at a season before being drafted in. Football is already so hard for the experienced managers, PsG just sacked a manger who’s a point off first. Appointing a rookie is just so so wrong

  10. raptora

    From “I expect any arsenal manger to attain top 4 status and if they don’t then they should go.”
    To “He (Wenger) may or may not have deserved to be sacked. That’s open to debate.”

    Top comment.

  11. Sly

    We don’t have any evidence arteta is a decent coach so far
    No pre hire evidence either
    He’s not up to the standard required for Arsenal
    Wenger was an actual ‘generational’ coach proving difficult to replace

  12. Mr Serge

    My mate a villa fan put 100 on them making top 4 at 120 – 1 laughed at him for wasting his money
    Reckon they may do it now

  13. Mr Serge

    Starting XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Saka, Lacazette.

    Subs: Runarsson, Cedric, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang.

  14. G8

    Villa don’t have better players than arsenal, they have a better manager, put those same villa players under Arteta and they would be fighting relegation!
    People just trying to ignore the obvious! The elephant in the room!

  15. Danny+S


    It’s a 3 at the back.

    Holding Mari and Tierney.

    Xhaka and Elneny Cm

    ESR in the 10.

    Can’t believe Xhaka has walked straight back in…. oh wait I can. It was obvious.

  16. Danny+S

    Martinez with another clean sheet.

    What a fairytale keeper he could have been fir us.

    Lifetime at the club, takes his big chance goes on to be a great.

    But no. Total fuck up selling him.

  17. Valentin

    How come Gabriel’s be told to isolate after being in close contact when Mustafi was as close to Jesus than him?
    Looks like Mustafi is made of teflon, even viruses bounce off him.
    With Holding/Mari combo in defense and and the axis of backward passes Xhaka and Elneny I don’t see us scoring a lot of goal and not conceding at least once…

  18. BacaryisGod

    Captain Bellerin moving forward?

    Fantastic performance from the team. It all started from high energy performances from Martinelli, Saks, ESr and yes, Lacazette.

    Full backs were excellent and Holding might have had his best performance this season.

  19. Goobergooner

    Xhaka is still a cunt. If we are to properly move forward him and elneny will be bench warmers as soon as possible.