Mikel Arteta must learn from shambolic Arsenal start as January option emerges

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side have been in excellent form, but they may need to enter the transfer window to ensure their shambolic start to the season does not happen again

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Mikel Arteta defends Arsenal players after Claudio Ranieri accusation

As Arsenal fans revel in the disappointment of Ben White absence from the latest England squad, Mikel Arteta may have been cracking party poppers.

Unfortunately, any relief would have been cut short by the news White’s defensive partner Gabriel Magalhaes was handed his first ever call up for Brazil.

Arteta would have constrained his anxieties behind a smile of intensely gritted teeth, if the 23-year-old expressed any joy to the Arsenal boss.

Arteta’s possible relief of White’s snubbing by Gareth Southgate and his nerves of Gabriel’s call up does not stem from his personal frustration of never receiving a senior call-up for Spain during his playing days.

Unlike many supporters, Premier League managers do not dread the international break because Match of the Day is not on, they simply detest its unpredictability.

Arteta’s side are currently enjoying the largest Premier League unbeaten streak


Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

There is a reason why Sir Alex Ferguson regularly bemoaned the international break during his time at Manchester United.

To club managers, it is disruptive, troublesome, and the lack of control they have over their star names is enough to jangle the nerves of managers as tough as Ferguson himself.

Liverpool ’s 3-2 defeat away to West Ham United means Arteta’s side now boast the longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League to date.

Can Arsenal be classed as outsiders for the Premier League title this season? Comment below

Since their spectacular pulverisation at the hands of Manchester City at the end of August, Arsenal have won six of their last eight matches, keeping five clean sheets along the way.

They have surged from 20th place to 5th position and with no European football focus on this season, they look set to mount a serious challenge for a place in the top four. Unfortunately, they are still an injury away from disaster, as their shambolic start to the season demonstrated.

Despite an outlay of £150m, their most significant arrival through the Emirates door was a returning star rather than a summer signing. It is no coincidence Arsenal’s season was rejuvenated by the return of Gabriel.

Gabriel has been a rock at the heart of Arsenal’s defence since his return from injury in September

A knee injury ruled out the classy central defender for the Gunners’ three horrific defeats to Brentford, Chelsea, and City.

In his absence, Ivan Toney ruined White’s debut for the North Londoners and Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku cruelly toyed with Rob Holding and Pablo Mari at the Emirates. Even the addition of an extra defender did not save help Arteta, as Guardiola’s City side swarmed the Gunners like a horde of sky-blue bees.

Arsenal have not lost a single match with Gabriel in the backline, such is his immense importance. So it would be easy to forgive Arteta if he watches Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina from behind his sofa.

But the international breaks will never go away, and Arsenal simply cannot afford to hope their stars are shunned by their respective nations.

White endured a debut to forget in Arsenal’s 2-0 away defeat to Brentford

Mari, Holding, and Callum Chambers are nowhere near as assured and strong as Gabriel. They are also very similar defenders to White, who operates best when partnered by a powerful, aerial defender.

Arteta and Arsenal technical director Edu did some excellent business in the summer, but they will need to ensure their backline does not collapse after an injury or two.

The Gunners were the highest spenders in the whole of Europe during the summer window, and they may need to be more astute and efficient if they want to strengthen in January.

Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule, Lazio defender, and fellow countryman to Gabriel, Luiz Felipe are two centre-backs who are in the final year of their contract.

But their most desirable option could be Burnley ’s James Tarkowski who recently revealed to The Telegraph his intention to leave Sean Dyche’s side at the end of his contract next summer.

January would be the Clarets’ last chance to cash in on his sale, and with the 28-year-old reluctant to extend his stay at Turf Moor, he could be the ideal target for Arsenal.

At 28-years-old he is a Premier League proven defender who could be the firm defensive partner to compliment White in Gabriel’s absence.

Tarkowski’s desire to play European football could be a potential speed bump to any deal, but if Arsenal are able to maintain their momentum, his wish would be granted.

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