Arsenal may be beginning to regret taking a gamble on Mikel Arteta, with the warning of club legends now appearing to ring true.
The Gunners have made their worst start to a top-flight season since 1974-75 after a 1-0 defeat to Burnley on Sunday night, their fourth consecutive home loss.
Arteta managed to guide Arsenal to FA Cup glory last season, masking their awful Premier League campaign as they managed to qualify for the Europa League.
But the mask has been removed this term, as the struggles continue to pile up at the Emirates Stadium.
Gunners chiefs looked like they were trying to buck the trend by appointing Arteta – someone young who knows the club, unlike Unai Emery.
But that gamble isn’t paying off anymore, and fans are calling for him the Spaniard to be sacked before their season becomes unsalvageable.
Paul Merson was one of those to question Arteta’s appointment a year ago, admitting he was concerned about giving the job to a man who has never been in the hot seat before.
“To ask someone with no managerial experience to take charge in the current circumstances at Arsenal is a big ask,” Merson told Sky Sports. “But there are also massive question marks over his credentials, massive questions.
“One of the major factors with Arteta being linked with the job is that he’s worked closely under Guardiola, and he used to play at Arsenal. Other than the fact he won’t get lost on the way to training, I don’t know what else he brings to the table.
“We’ve seen how out of his depth Freddie Ljungberg [interim manager] has been in recent weeks. What’s the difference between Ljungberg and Arteta other than the fact Arteta has worked under Pep at Manchester City?
“It doesn’t mean Arteta has earned his stripes or he’s better qualified, and Arsenal won’t suddenly start playing like City if Arteta is appointed because it’s not as simple as that.”
Meanwhile, Ray Parlour gave Arteta his backing to improve things at the back, but also had real concerns about his lack of experience.
“Of course it’s a gamble,” Parlour told talkSPORT. “He was a great player, but he has no experience as a manager.
“But then any manager is gamble at this stage, they can’t get this wrong!
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“I’m sure he can [improve Arsenal’s defence] you want Manchester City’s structure when they lose the ball, they work hard off the ball and they have certain players in certain positions who do their job. Fernandinho is the one who dictates winning the ball back and Arsenal don’t have that at the moment.
“I’m sure Arteta will be looking at that straight away and say ‘the first thing we will do is defend better as a side, not just as a back-four, but as a unit, as a team’.
“That’s what he has to work on if Arsenal are going to get back to winning ways and try and close the gap on the top-four.”