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Despite a proven track record, this Spaniard is not the man to replace Arteta at Arsenal

Dalian Yifang's new head coach Rafael Benitez looks on during the Chinese Super League (CSL) football match between Dalian Yifang and Henan Jianye in Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning province on July 7, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Rafa Benitez in not the man to replace Arteta at Arsenal

According to Express, Arsenal are keen on hiring Rafa Benitez as their next manager in the event Mikel Arteta is sacked. With Arsenal enduring a dismal run of form prior to their wins against Chelsea and Brighton, the club heads are rightly worried.

It is being said that Benitez has a lot of admirers at the club and could be the preferred choice if and when Mikel Arteta is shown the door.

Managerial Profile

Rafa Benitez cut his teeth at Real Madrid’s youth team in 1993 and since then, he has had a rollercoaster of a ride. The Spaniard spent the next few years in Spain, managing the likes of Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremedura, Tenerife and Valencia. It was at Valencia that he got recognition, winning two La Liga titles in 3 years.

His next destination was England, where he took charge of Liverpool. It was under his stewardship that Liverpool won their most iconic Champions League final in 2005. After Liverpool, he had stints at Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli. He enjoyed a good amount of success in all those teams.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – MAY 26: Rafael Benitez, manager of Liverpool, poses with the cup one day after winning the European Champions League final against AC Milan on May 26, 2005 in Istanbul, Turkey. Liverpool defeated AC Milan 3-2 on penalties after the match finished 3-3 at the end of extra time. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

A huge blot in his career would be the Real Madrid stint which lasted less than a year. Post that, he enjoyed a good time at Newcastle and following that, he made the move to China. Currently, he is the manager of Dalian Pro in the Chinese Super League.

Rafa Benitez may not be the best choice for Arsenal

Arsenal have been in a rut. Not just under Arteta but under Emery as well as Wenger’s final years. The club have hardly looked like winning anything in the last decade. They have regressed so badly that their last league title was way back in 2004. Since then, they have had to find little joys in the FA Cups they have won.

However, the club was pretty much on a downward spiral even before Wenger left. Unai Emery did a decent job and even Arteta started on a fine note. But that’s it. There is only so long this squad can sustain good results before imploding. Fingers will be pointed at Arteta but this mess is years in the making.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – MAY 04: Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on May 04, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It may seem rather absurd saying that a serial winner may not be a good fit for a club like Arsenal. But there’s a good reason behind it. Rafa Benitez has a unique style of play that goes in an entirely opposite direction to Arsenal’s playing styles.

The Gunners are used to playing slick, possession based football given how Wenger modelled the side. The problem is that Benitez is used to deploying a safety first approach. His teams are often hard to break down because they deploy low blocks and make the midfield sit close to the defensive line to provide added cover.

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That sort of approach could very well backfire at a club like Arsenal. Benitez does bring with him the essence of trophies but it is hard to see him doing much with the mess that Arsenal are. Whether Arteta is the right man for the job is a different story but Benitez is certainly not the man.

Written by Sourav Ghosh

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