A former Gunners midfielder thinks the Spanish head coach and his star centre-forward should be cut some slack after a tough start to the season
Mikel Arteta must be given time at Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs more help from his team-mates, says Gilberto Silva.
Arsenal have failed to kick on to new heights since their stunning run to FA Cup glory post-lockdown last season.
Consistency has proved elusive for Arteta’s men in the Premier League, with only four wins recorded from their first 10 outings of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Gunners have slipped to 14th as a result, and already have a five-point gap to make up on fourth-placed Leicester in the race for Champions League qualification.
Arteta’s tactical approach has been called into question amid a lack of cutting edge in the final third, with it now being suggested that the Spaniard’s job could come under threat if the north London outfit lose against arch-rivals Tottenham on Sunday.
However, Silva has called for patience as the 38-year-old seeks to complete a long-term project, having been impressed with his overall philosophy since his appointment at Emirates Stadium in December 2019.
“His approach has been good. When I see him speak, I really like the way he talks about the club, the team and his ideas,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Ladbrokes.
“He’s very clear and very honest, and that’s important, because you’re in one of the toughest jobs in the world. You must be very confident and have a strong mentality to be in that position.
“I think you have to trust his project. You made the decision to appoint the guy. I believe they interviewed other managers and decided to go for Arteta – so if you change your mind now just because results haven’t been the best so far this season and he hasn’t had instant success in the league, then you run the risk of being back at square one and having to start all over again.
“I believe Arsenal need to give Arteta time. This is his first full season in charge of the football club.”
Gilberto added on the need for the players to take responsibility for the Gunners’ recent slump: “Results haven’t been the best, we know that. But that’s not only because of him. It’s time for the players to stand up.
“Stand up and realise which club they are playing for, who they’re representing. It’s time for them to pull together motivate each other.
“Sometimes it’s not about if you play bad, it’s about what you leave on the field, and the desire you must have. Run for your teammates. Fight for your team.
“It’s that fighting spirit which Arsenal needs now from everybody at the club in order to turn results around.
“I’m not saying there’s no fighting spirit there already, but what they’ve been doing has not been enough in order for them to get results. They need to put more in.”
Aubameyang’s loss of form in front of goal has been identified as a key factor in Arsenal’s decline, with the Gabon international having only managed to score four goals in 12 outings across all competitions this term.
Silva admits that the 31-year-old hasn’t been at his best, but wants to see the team start playing to the experienced forward’s strengths again so that he can rebuild his confidence.
“There’s no doubt for me that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a fantastic player,” said the Brazilian. “He has been so great for Arsenal since he joined the club.
“In the last few games he hasn’t performed in the way everyone has expected in comparison to last season.
“But it’s time for everyone to stick together and support the guy. Make his life easier. Pass him the ball.