Mikel Arteta has three games to keep his neck off the chopping block at Arsenal, claims Perry Groves, with there a chance that he could be out of work early in 2021 if results do not improve quickly.
Unsurprisingly, with the north London giants now looking anxiously over their shoulder at a relegation zone that sits just four points below them, pressure has started to build on all concerned at Emirates Stadium.
Arteta is facing uncomfortable questions regarding his future, with FA Cup and Community Shield successes starting to feel like a distant memory for the Spaniard.
The general consensus is that he will be given time to get things right, but Groves believes patience is starting to wear thin.
For him, more disappointing displays through to the end of the calendar year will force Arsenal into making a tough decision, with a sack threat looming large over Arteta during the festive period.
The Gunners cult hero told talkSPORT of an under-fire coach: “If these lacklustre performances continue over the next three games, are Arsenal fans telling me they’d stick with Arteta?
“I think he’s got three games – we play Man City [in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday], Chelsea on Boxing Day and then Brighton away.
“I’ve always said a manager should have three transfer windows to get the players in and get the players out, and one full season – that’s when you judge him
“But if things are that dire, that bad, you can’t go a full season.
“I hope he turns it around; I’m a Gooner so I want him to turn it around, I don’t want to keep sacking managers over and over.
“But if he doesn’t get better performances… Southampton played us off the park, we didn’t get anywhere near them, and that’s them coming to the Emirates!
“Arteta has lost his clear thought process and the players aren’t closing down and they’re not tracking back.
“This is the same group of players that won the FA Cup!”
Arsenal have gone seven games without a Premier League win, stretching back to November 1, and need their top-flight fortunes to start mirroring those that have carried them into the last eight of the Carabao Cup and last-32 of the Europa League.