Manager of the Month: Can Mikel Arteta Break the Curse?

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Five wins in five to start the season–Mikel Arteta leads his Arsenal charges to their best start to a Premier League campaign since the 2003/2004 Premier League season. But winning Manager of the Month has come with the often-implied “Manager of the Month Curse”. Will that happen to the Spaniard?

“Scintillating Football” to Start the Season

A hard-fought two-nil win in the season opener at Selhurst park was followed by a 4-2 win at the Emirates against Leicester City. A 3-nil thrashing at Bournemouth and a Martin Odegaard masterclass in the 2-1 comeback win against Fulham rounded up by a 2-1 win against Aston villa. It was a dream start for the club after a difficult end to last season.

The 3-1 loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford ended Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to the season. Still, results elsewhere have ensured Mikel Arteta’s side remained at the top of the Premier League summit. Arsenal has been the best team in England this season, and I dare say Europe.

They have been playing scintillating football and have backed their performances with the United game results. The team is in sync and is led by a manager who understands what he wants and how he wants his team to play.

A fantastic August has been rewarded with the Manager of the month award, and Mikel Arteta would be buzzing.

This time last season, nobody expected the man to keep his job. Critics and fans were calling for his head after three straight losses to Brentford, City and Chelsea.

This time, it is a complete 360 turnaround from last season. But this is the time when the hard work begins. Arsenal is in the race for Champions League football, and the pain of narrowly missing out on the grand stage would still be fresh in their memories.

This is also the third year of Mikel Arteta’s process, so there is an obvious expectation for him to back it up with success. This season would be Top four, a trophy or at least a good cup run.

However, Mikel has to make it work this season. Five wins in six games is a sign of good things to come. But it’s time for Mikel Arteta to build on this to prove to Arsenal fans that he is the one to take the club back to the glory days.

The Manager of the Month Curse

Now, this is a funny situation. The Manager of the Month Award tends to bring bad luck to the manager and the clubs, and a run of poor results follows.

Last season, Nuno Espirito Santo won the award after guiding his then Tottenham side to the top of the premier league summit securing an impressive win against eventual title winners Manchester City. However, he was sacked 52 days later after a disastrous run of form.

Thomas Tuchel won the award for October after guiding his Chelsea side to four straight wins conceding just once and scoring fourteen goals in the process. What followed was a shocking four wins in the next thirteen games.

Eddie Howe took over Newcastle in January and led them out of the relegation zone with three wins and a draw. A run of three straight losses followed.

Even Mikel Arteta has been a victim of this curse. After a disastrous start to the season, Mikel steadied the ship and led the team to a run of three wins on the bounce and was rewarded the award for his excellent work. Disappointing draws to Brighton, and Crystal Palace followed.

Five straight in March saw Mikel Arteta win the prize for the second time last season. A shocking slump in form followed, losing his next three games against Palace, Brighton and Southampton. Losing critical players like Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey for the rest of the season and eventually missing out on a place in the top four at the end of the season.

The Manager of the Month Curse is real–especially if you are not Pep Guardiola. Pep won the award in November and December and went on to win his next eight games. He’s an exception.

So it is up to Mikel Arteta to prove he can be an outlier like his mentor Pep and guide his Arsenal side to another fine run. It would not be easy, though. His team face Brentford before the international break and then return to face Tottenham and Liverpool in what would be mouth-watering encounters.

So can Mikel Arteta break the Manager of the Month Curse?

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Philemon is a writer for overtime Heroics. An under graduate student, who has worked in music and sports. He is a huge Real Madrid fan and loves the club to a fault.