Coaching Is Very Difficult

Teboho Molapo
4 min readSep 5, 2022
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal did everything right against Manchester United…

You can do everything right and still lose, and that was the big feeling I got when I watched Manchester United beat Arsenal yesterday in the English Premier League.

It was a brilliant, pulsating game in which Mikel Arteta and Arsenal did so many things right, but the only problem is that they lost the game.

Once again, that is football and sport being a microcosm of life.

It is difficult to win because there is opposition against you that is equally determined to win and get its way.

In life this plays out in many forms. Sometimes there are obstacles and problems that life just throws at all of us.

A lot of other times it is our own selves, our bad part, or Part X as Barry Michels and Phil Stutz describe it.

So, we need to have that awareness really. Things won’t come easy, and sometimes you will lose or not get your way, even if — more or less — you have done everything right.

Arsenal were incredible yesterday. Last week a die-hard supporter told me Arsenal are winning the league this season after their great start which saw them win five games in a row.

I laughed it off, but as I watched Arsenal dominate United at Old Trafford, I started to believe it. I became intoxicated by the idea. I wanted Arsenal to win at OId Trafford because I felt that it would be a statement win that, yes, it would perhaps signal a team that can challenge for the league title.

As it is, I would say to Arsenal now: aim high. Go for the league title. Leicester City did it in 2016. It’s possible. The league is still open.

Manchester City and Liverpool haven’t found their feet yet, so while that is still the case, take advantage, collect as many points as possible. Who knows? Maybe that puts pressure on City and Liverpool. Maybe it makes them make mistakes. Maybe they get worried a bit.

No doubt, City and Liverpool will find form, they will go on a run and they will go into juggernaut mode. That is what they do. They are championship clubs and that is what they are built for.

Two years ago, Man United were top of the league in December, by the end of the season City had wiped the floor with them.

So, City and Liverpool are still favourites, to me; but as Arsenal, you can collect points now while you’re still hot, eat from the bowl while the big dogs are still sleeping.

Yesterday’s United vs Arsenal was a reminder of the days the two used to battle it out for the English Premiership…

Plus, this is another unique season with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in December.

Who knows what effect that will have on players and teams in terms of injuries and fatigue. It sounds like a good plan to relentlessly collect points before that uncertainty moment arrives.

That is something, by the way, that I feel Tottenham are doing. Antonio Conte is well-versed when it comes to winning leagues and he pulled a similar trick with Chelsea back in 2016–17. That season Conte basically won the league during a two-month period (between October and December 2016) when Chelsea won 13 games in a row. That form and that the gap it created was simply too much for opponents to overcome the rest of the way. Conte is probably quietly thinking the same right now. He is a wily schemer and proven winner, which makes Spurs a darkhorse.

Anyway, back to Arteta and the theme of this post. Coaching is difficult. You can do everything right. You can prepare your team well, and you can still lose.

That is life. The key is to bounce back. Keep building and keep going.

Arsenal lost yesterday but if they beat Everton in their next league game on Saturday they are back on track and maybe we can start dreaming about the league again — we being Arsenal fans, not me…

So, even though it is difficult and things don’t always go your way, stick to your guns. Keep pushing through, daily and consistently.

Maybe in the end you can win the league title, or just have happy results in your life.



Teboho Molapo

Part-time athlete, part-time coach, part-time writer; fulltime believer in life. | #MolapoKTM