Arteta reflects on managerial debut at Bournemouth

Mikel Arteta takes charge of his first Arsenal game at Bournemouth

This weekend sees Mikel Arteta go back to where it all began for him as a manager, as we travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth.

The south coast venue was the spot where Arteta took charge of his first Gunners game back in Boxing Day in 2019, as we played out a 1-1 draw against the Cherries, and ahead of his return this time around, he was asked about his recollections of that day. 

"It was raining, and I got very wet!" he laughed.

"I was excited and nervous, and very much looking forward to what was coming. It seems like a long time ago."

Those two-and-a-half years has seen plenty change, with only four players from those named by Arteta in his starting XI still at the club - Bukayo Saka (who played at left-back), Granit Xhaka, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. 

Putting his own stamp on the team was something that Arteta wanted to achieve from day one, even if he had inherited the squad at his disposal, and he believes that the recruitment during his time in charge is a big factor in the upturn in our fortunes since. 

"I always felt that they were our players, and we always tried to get the best out of them, and try to improve them," he reflected on his team at the time. "Obviously, when we start to recruit, we want to recruit alongside the club, with players that we believe together can make the difference, and this is what we have been doing."

The full-time whistle of Arteta's first game in our dugout marked the halfway point of the season, as we languished in the bottom half of the table having won just one of the previous 11 league games. Now, we head south looking to claim a third-straight win at the start of the season for the first time since 2004/05.

Reflecting on his own development as a manager during that period, Arteta said: "I think the team and the club needs a certain person in each phase and in each moment. I think that the coach or the manager that the team needed, or the club needed a year ago is different to what it needs today. You have to constantly be evolving because now we have to drive this club into a different speed.

"Before there were moments where we probably had to give a lot of protection, and keep the players in the right place to not fall apart. So this is evolving and we as individuals - especially the people who have a lot of decision making - have to inspire others, have to evolve and change as well."

Read or watch all of Mikel's pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Bournemouth

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