What we can learn from Arsenal.
Yeah, you read that correctly.
That's something I never thought I would say or write. Arsenal was always my designated 'dislike' club. It's a long story why, but I can get into that another time.
Thanks to Fantasy Football and an (obvious) general interest in football, a few Arsenal players started to stand out and I became more aware of their struggles as a team. Thus, my interest intensified. Football for me is observing player and manager struggles and journeys, the lives of players outside of the game and the general hysteria around the teams. My background in media makes me more aware of sponsorships and how players are portrayed in the media, I suppose I find it more interesting than the average person. My current fascination is Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.
Last night against Chelsea, Arsenal came back twice to tie 2-2 with their London city rivals. The score itself wasn't impressive, it was the bounce-back and willingness to continue fighting that was. Arsenal have had a particularly turbulent 12 months (some would argue more but I would like to focus on the last 12). Managers out, managers in, injuries (A LOT) to some of their best players and a public discourse that was less than favourable.
The new year saw Spaniard ex-Gunner Mikel Arteta take over the Arsenal squad. Arteta has been a coach at Manchester City up until his Arsenal stint, and the positive impact he has had on the team has been almost instant. Mikel Arteta couldn’t have had a better start to life at Arsenal and has all the makings of an elite manager. The manner in which he conducts himself is world-class - he's human (he laughs, he shows discomfort and disappointment) yet he presses on. Something that is expected from managers, but not always delivered. Arteta’s ability to coach a team in terms of spacing and team shape, whilst adapting to the high profile players at his disposal, all the while remaining composed in his first few weeks as manager is a testament to his impressive start at the club.
Arteta and Arsenal are a lesson on resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce-back from adversity. Yes - we're talking about one of the top teams in England, if not the world, bouncing back from 'adversity' - don't roll your eyes, think about it like this: To be ranked 10th, as Arsenal Football Club, and still show a willingness to fight against those at the top is quite simply what resilience means. It means, no matter how good we are, how successful we have become, things can and will change. We fall. And when we do, we can find our Arteta (the thing we were missing) and we can pick ourselves back up.
Mark my words: Arsenal FC have turned a page and are writing a new chapter in their football club's history under Arteta. If you disagree, that's okay. Let's just see what happens.
So what's your Mikel Arteta*? Go find it ;)
*Mikel Arteta Noun: The thing one is missing to achieve one's potential