Thomas Frank talks up title credentials of Mikel Arteta’s ‘remarkable’ Arsenal

·3-min read

Thomas Frank believes Mikel Arteta has turned Arsenal into genuine Premier League title contenders this season.

Brentford boss Frank insists Arteta’s Arsenal have already overtaken the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham in the Premier League stakes.

The Bees’ Danish manager rates the Gunners as the English top-flight’s second-best outfit behind Manchester City – but still gives the Emirates Stadium side a chance of league glory this term.

Crystal Palace v Brentford – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Brentford boss Thomas Frank, pictured, has applauded the job Mikel Arteta has done at Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Brentford opened their maiden Premier League campaign with a 2-0 home win against Arsenal last season, and the Bees host the Gunners in west London again this Sunday.

But Frank admitted he considers this second-season match-up a far tougher prospect, and mainly because of Arsenal’s rapid progress under Arteta.

“In spells they’ve been the best performing team over the first six games,” said Frank.

“I think they’ve been remarkable, especially the intensity.

“I’ve watched a lot of their games, but their first game, the Friday night opening game against Crystal Palace, I was thinking ‘what? This is another level’.

“For the first 20 minutes Crystal Palace didn’t touch the ball, and I thought ‘they can win the Premier League’.

“Now, after City, they are the best performing team in the league.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Arteta left his assistant role at Manchester City to take the Gunners’ managerial helm in December 2019.

Arsenal finished fifth last term amid a turbulent campaign punctuated by off-field change, as the north London side revamped their administrative structure in big support for Arteta.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy before the Gabon striker departed for Barcelona in February.

Arteta’s left-field ideas highlighted in the fly-on-the-wall Amazon series have generated at times quizzical reactions, but the Gunners have conjured five wins and just one loss in their opening six league encounters this term.

And Frank insisted Arteta deserves nothing but praise for a wide-ranging Gunners transformation.

Brentford v Arsenal
Brentford got the better of Arsenal at home last season (Nick Potts/PA)

“Their players are growing, they’ve got the right players in,” said Frank.

“Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff have proved they have done well.

“And the board behind him, they are consistent in the way that they work.

“They are building a team that’s young, very exciting, and that has key players in good positions. So he’s done a top job.

“He’s completed a transition from the former manager, he’s created his own culture, and he’s got rid of some players and brought in his own.

“I look at a team, are they good or bad, are they structured, are they playing with the intensity and personality – and I 100 per cent see that.

“I can see Arteta in that team, from my view of him as a person, I see him in the team.

“And that’s how I judge him, instead of a few clips from an Amazon episode, and I think that’s the biggest praise from a coach to another coach, when you look and say ‘you know what? They look good’.

“There’s a thousand ways to communicate, and that’s an art.

“And that’s an art that I constantly try to study, and to try to be improving. But in general I think he’s done very well.”