5 reasons why Diego Simeone can win the league title for Arsenal

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 18:  Diego Simeone, Manager of Atletico Madrid gives his team instructions during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Leicester City and Club Atletico de Madrid at The King Power Stadium on April 18, 2017 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Smeone has worked wonders at Atletico Madrid
Manukrishnan S R

As Luka Milivojevic stroked a firm low penalty past Emiliano Martinez to make it 3-0 on the night for Crystal Palace against Arsenal, Arsene Wenger cut a forlorn figure. Arsenal had fallen 7 points behind Manchester City in 4th (albeit with a game in hand). His team has done it for years despite mounting odds – but for once, Wenger might fall short of making the great escape yet again.

Where did it all go wrong for Arsenal? For the past few years, every season has started with boundless optimism. The summer signings inspire hope for the coming season and analysts explain to us why this latest signing had been the missing piece for Arsenal all along. Yet in the past five years, Arsenal has never really sustained a title challenge till the end of the season – 19, 16, 7, 12 and 10 are the point gaps that have separated the Gunners from the champions since 2011.

The results have simply not been good enough. Wenger needs to depart while his name will still be fondly remembered. It is a bit ambitious – but appointing a manager of the ilk of Diego Simeone may work wonders for a team like Arsenal.

Here are five reasons why a manager like Diego Simeone can win Arsenal the league title:

#1 They have potential

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his sides fourth goal with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Arsenal have quality players who have bottled it time and again

Let's hear it from the big guns themselves, shall we?

“Arsenal are technically and tactically the best team in the league. Nevertheless, they have not won that much, so you have to look for that improvement with that team,” Louis Van Gaal, October 2015.

“I think Arsenal has the squad to be champions. And every season I feel that. I tell you if one of their players is a free agent and they don't want him there, I get everyone. I like all of their players,” Jose Mourinho, September 2015.

It is widely acknowledged that Arsenal have one of the strongest and deepest squads in the Premier League in recent years. Perhaps a manager like Diego Simeone can galvanise all that potential and transform it into results – and deliver the elusive title after more than a decade.

#2 They have money

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21:  Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal prepare to kick off during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on April 21, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Arsenal have the financial power to buy the best

Having spent over £90 million in the 2016 summer transfer window, Arsenal have proven they are big players in the transfer market. Previously too, with the signings of Ozil and Sanchez, the hierarchy has clearly shown willingness to spend money to land suitable talent.

Having managed Atletico on a shoestring budget, Simeone would be spoilt for choice at Arsenal. Given all the resources he needs, it is indeed a fearsome prospect how good a team the Argentine can build.

Here is a manager who signed Griezmann for around £24 million and is on course to selling him for more than four times the amount; he has got quite an eye for talent.

#3 Simeone can sort out their defence

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion (L) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Nacer Chadli of West Bromwich Albion (R) during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on March 18, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s defence has faltered time and again this season

Arsenal have conceded 40 goals to date this season. To put that into perspective, Liverpool with all their widely acknowledged defensive frailties have conceded only two more goals having played two extra matches. Arsenal's defensive issues are particularly exposed against teams that press aggressively and intimidate them physically; not to mention set piece woes.

Diego Simeone took charge of Atletico in December 2011; in 2010-11, Atletico had conceded 53 goals in the league, and in the 2011-12 season, Atletico conceded 46 goals in the league. Over his first four full seasons in charge, Atletico Madrid then went on to concede just 31, 26 (title winning season), 29 and 18 goals.

Just 18 goals conceded over 38 matches – and four of them in two matches against the imperial MSN! Attack wins you matches, defences win titles – and a manager like Simeone moulds defences that win titles.

#4 Simeone can sort out their mentality

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Aaron Ramsey (8) and Granit Xhaka of Arsenal (29) look dejected during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on March 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Arsenal lack leaders on the pitch

The last three designated captains of Arsenal FC have been Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker (current).

Arsenal seem to be obsessed that their captains should be players that rarely make it to the first 11. This compounds the clear lack of leadership Arsenal already suffers from – and they wilt when put under the spotlight or imposed physically.

The worst moment in Bayern Munich’s 5-1 drubbing of Arsenal at Emirates wasn’t when Vidal sidefooted the fifth past Ospina – it was the sight of Arsenal players hanging their heads down in resignation when Lewandowski scored the first. What transpired afterwards seemed inevitable the moment Koscielny walked off.

There was no leader on the pitch to demand more from the rest; to tell them to roll their sleeves up and get on with the job. Replace Bayern Munchen with Watford, Crystal Palace, Everton, or West Brom and the pattern has been painfully evident and the result the same.

Once asked to describe his style as a player, Simeone quipped, “like a man holding a knife between his teeth.” A tenacious, combative midfielder in his formative years, Simeone’s teams are crafted in the same image. At Atletico, he has refused to surrender meekly to the financial might of Real Madrid and Barca, the same is what Arsenal need to stand up to the Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

Simeone can also teach some of those 'nice' Arsenal boys a thing or two about graft – imagine what a sight it would be to see Arsenal players throwing themselves into 50-50 challenges against the likes of Shawcross and McAuley.

To be a champion, you need to have the mentality of one; and Simeone sure can help some of these players get there.

#5 Style of play

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid tries to go through the Atletico defense during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Simeone has moulded the Atletico side into a cohesive, defensive unit

2014 -15 Premier League Table: 1. Chelsea (W26, D9, L3) 2. Manchester City (W24, D7, L7)

2015-16 Premier League Table: 1. Leicester (W23, D12, L3) 2. Arsenal (W20, D11, L7)

The last two Premier League title races have been stories of how a defensive, counter-attacking team outlasted an offensive ball playing team. Admittedly, Arsenal were never really involved in the title race; but replace them with Tottenham and the script remains the same.

These are not likely to be one-offs. Over the next few years, we may see this pattern developing further. With every single Premier League team getting stronger due to the inflow of money, it is increasingly important to have a solid defence. The idea is simple – even if you don't win on a bad day, don't lose. It wasn't that Arsenal and Manchester City won too few games – they lost too many.

Step forward, Diego Simeone. His style of play is perfect for the Premier League, especially for the big matches on reputed away grounds like Anfield and Old Trafford. Having managed Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann, perhaps Simeone can sort out Arsenal's long-standing striker issues as well.

Arsenal have been often accused of passing for passing's sake; of trying to pass the ball into the net; under Simeone, they certainly won't be.

Edited by Staff Editor
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