Arsene Wenger has expressed his hope that Mikel Arteta can bring back Arsenal’s unique “culture”, which he hints has been missing since his departure.
Wenger’s 22-year reign at Emirates Stadium came to an end in the summer of 2018, with Unai Emery drafted in to succeed the Frenchman after a successful spell at Paris Saint-Germain.
Unfortunately, Emery was unable to restore the glory days for the Gunners, who limped to a fifth-place Premier League finish last season while also suffering a painful Europa League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea.
Arsenal’s inconsistency continued in the first half of the 2019-20 campaign, and the board ultimately decided a change in the dugout was needed heading into a busy festive period. Emery was sacked at the end of November, with his assistant Freddie Ljungberg asked to fill in on an interim basis while the club searched for their next permanent manager.
The Gunners appointed Arteta on December 20, bringing back the man who served as captain for a time under Wenger at the height of his playing career.
The Spaniard earned his coaching stripes as Pep Guardiola’s number two at Manchester City, but questions were asked over his lack of experience after being handed the managerial reins at one of the top club’s in English football.
Arteta has since silenced his doubters by gradually turning Arsenal’s fortunes around, overseeing an unbeaten start to 2020 domestically before the season was called to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wenger is optimistic that the 38-year-old can restore the time-honoured style of play which served him so well in north London, having remained an avid fan of the club since walking through the exit doors two years ago.
“I worry about the club still a lot and I watch all of the games,” the ex-Gunners boss told Talksport.
“I believe there is a culture in the way to play football at Arsenal that I want to be respected, and I hope Mikel can get that back.”
The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all had to watch Liverpool storm clear at the top of the Premier League standings this term, with Manchester City set to be dethroned when it is safe for football to resume.
The Reds currently hold a 25 point lead at the summit, and only need two more victories to pick up a first domestic crown in 30 years.
It has been suggested that the campaign should be voided entirely if the season cannot continue over the summer, but Wenger believes Liverpool have already earned the right to be called champions.
“Jurgen has done extremely well because that club has waited 30 years for this title,” he said. “And when you think they have such a massive difference [points gap] to the second team, Manchester City, as well – 25 points, it’s absolutely massive.
“No matter what England will decide, Liverpool are champions in everyone’s head, I think.”