Manager of the Month Arteta not out of trouble yet

Robin Bairner
Arteta: I don’t know if or when I’ll leave Arsenal

Mikel Arteta is the Premier League Manager of the Month for September, casting the award in an awkward light given the relative struggles his Arsenal side have endured so far this season.

Given that Nuno Espirito Santo was on the verge of being sacked barely a fortnight after winning the same prize in August, it shows that the gong is often given out on a default basis, often to the manager who has best dodged embarrassment.

Certainly, there is nothing spectacular or extraordinary about Arsenal’s results under Arteta during September.

Victories over Norwich and Burnley were effectively required if he were to remain in a job after the Gunners dropped to the foot of the Premier League table. While the 1-0 wins were a creditable show of character from Arsenal, they were nothing less than expected.

OK, the 3-1 derby success over Spurs was a good deal better – especially as their North London rivals’ consolation goal did not arrive until the win was already secured – but this was not a season-defining month and certainly not one worthy of silverware.

Nuno under pressure

If Arteta has any doubts over how flimsy his position remains at Arsenal, he need only glace across London to the position of Nuno at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Portuguese has only been in the post for a matter of weeks and yet is already under serious scrutiny – and that is despite picking up the award for being the ‘best’ Premier League manager in August.

Nuno was effectively given the award for a 1-0 win over Manchester City on the opening day of the season. It was followed by unspectacular successes against Wolves and Watford, the type of which Arsenal replicated as Arteta won the prize.

Spurs’ season briefly descended into chaos thereafter, though Nuno’s position has since stabilised thanks to a Europa Conference League win over Mura and a 2-1 success over Aston Villa.

Arteta and Arsenal may be on the road to redemption, but this award should not be treated as concrete proof they are out of trouble.