10 Arsenal greats on Mikel Arteta: ‘He changed the whole thing’

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have been nothing short of brilliant in the 2022-23 season so far.

The “trust the process” mantra has been well and truly vindicated. Arteta has built a superb team that are deservedly top of the Premier League table and look capable of going the full distance.

We’ve collected 10 quotes from former Arsenal greats on the sensational job the Spanish coach is doing.

Arsene Wenger

“I would say you need to identify the values of the club and I personally think that Mikel Arteta was very conscious of the values of the club because he’s been educated as well at Arsenal, he was captain of my teams and he wanted to restore values of the club,” the legendary former Gunners boss told Sky Sports in September.

“Overall, I think he has done that well. After that you need to create a belief and a sense of belonging, that you belong to something special, something that is bigger than you, that you want to serve. On that front, he’s done well.

“I’m still in touch with them and overall I believe they are going the right way. Arsenal is a special club and has special values; a good balance between tradition and forward-thinking. They do that well again now.”

Cesc Fabregas

“He has done a fantastic job,” Fabregas told Sky Sports following the 3-2 victory over Manchester United.

“We saw it in the documentary (All or Nothing) how he pushes players, how he understands players.

“I was lucky enough to be at the training ground recently. Everything has changed so much, it feels like the manager of the training ground is 95 per cent Mikel who has changed the whole thing.

“The perception of the club has changed. There are positive messages around the training ground, much bigger facilities, better equipment, the pitches, you name it.

“At the entrance, they have a symbol of an empty Premier League. He wants to show the message, we need to put it in there. Every day the players see the Premier League, but just the symbol, like an inspiration every day. He has changed the mentality of the club.”

Thierry Henry

“Yes, we are here to stay. It is important to say we have a team. Arsenal fans have been waiting for a team to compete. Not one or two players, we have a squad,” Arsenal’s all-time top scorer told Amazon Prime Video Sport following the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Ham in December.

“You win a title with a squad. That is very important and what Eddie Nketiah showed tonight, he showed that he can be the answer for the time being.

“We don’t know how long exactly the time being is. However long they want him to be the answer. For the time being we’ll have to wait for Gabriel to come back, but that’s exactly what Eddie did.”

Patrick Vieira

“I’m not surprised by the way they have played and have been progressing,” the Arsenal legend told reporters ahead of Crystal Palace’s clash with Arteta’s Arsenal last March.

“I believe they have a good squad. A good manager.

“And now I believe they have a really clear idea of understanding how they want to play the game. They are playing better football. They are playing with a lot of confidence. I think this is a massive difference.

“He went through a difficult period. He managed to keep his calm and his cool. And managed to return the situation, I would say. All the credit to him and the work he has been doing. The results he has had lately have been really positive.”

Lee Dixon

“We’ve seen the development of this team, the youngsters coming through, the ability to go out there and play the way Arteta wants them to. But the bigger tests are coming,” said Dixon following Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth back in August.

“Forget the documentary. That’s good to look at, but it’s the stuff of nonsense. It’s not reality, it’s edited… that’s reality out there, what we’re seeing is reality. A great performance, but the bigger tests are coming. Then we’ll be able to see the process is working.”

Five months later, it’s safe to say Arsenal are passing those bigger tests. We’ve definitely seen that the process is working.

David Seaman

“He played for the club, he captained the club, so he knows how it works,” Seaman told the Chronicles Of A Gooner podcast.

“The way he dealt with Aubameyang– it was the George Graham way. It was the Arsenal way. Arsene Wenger would have done exactly the same.”

Ray Parlour

“The intensity he shows in training, he’s really onto the players,” Parlour told talkSPORT.

“I saw it in America that he’s really pushing everybody so hard, and if you’re not part of his plans, he’s more or less saying to you that you might as well leave the club.

“I’m sure he’s learned from all the managers he’s played under and worked with as a coach. He played under Arsene Wenger, and I can see he’s got a little bit of that, he’s been in the dressing room and dugout with Pep Guardiola who demands so much out of his players.

“If you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to do that.

“If you’re not and you don’t put the effort in, you’re not disciplined, then you know what’s going to happen – you’re going to be out of the door.

“That’s what happened with Aubameyang and a few of the other lads.”

Martin Keown

“Pep Guardiola told us in the week that there was fire in this Arsenal team and he wanted to see that more in Manchester City. Well, it was abundantly clear that Pep was right. Arsenal were absolutely relentless in their desire to win this game,” wrote the former centre-back in the Daily Mail following the 3-2 win over Manchester United.

“What has impressed me most this season is that the team has built on their personality. They are ready to win.

“I was listening to the crowd singing for their team and there is a real belief in the stadium right now. Every goal was celebrated as if it was a 94th-minute winner. They want it so much. There are a lot more fences to negotiate, but Arsenal are the real deal.”

He also has Arteta’s back when it comes to criticism from Richard Keys…

Bacary Sagna

“I’m impressed by his mental strength,” Sagna told Bet365 back in May.

“He came under a lot of scrutiny earlier in the season and that can’t have been easy. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his position.

“But I’ve known Mikel a long time now and I know for a fact he’s always been a coach, whenever we were watching games together, he would talk to me about formations, what I was thinking and tactics.

“For me I just wanted to go to the game and enjoy it. I didn’t want to talk tactics, but the point is I’m not surprised he’s the Arsenal manager at all, management is in his DNA.”

In the same interview, the former right-back also predicted back then that Arteta’s Arsenal will “be topping the league as champions” within two seasons. Fair play.

Robert Pires

“Of course I still follow Arsenal, I watch all the games and I am in contact with the sporting director Edu and Mikel and many other former players,” Pires told GOAL.

“I think he is doing a great job. Arsenal have found their DNA based on a fast and attacking game. He asks a lot of his players and is very demanding starting from the training sessions.”

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