It’s fair to say that Arsenal have suffered an element of upheaval so far this season. The Gunners have had to navigate through some rather choppy waters but with Mikel Arteta now steering the ship, the future could be smooth sailing.
With Unai Emery’s tenure at the Emirates lasting under two years, it was as though the North London outfit had entered some post-Wenger wasteland. Indeed, they were a team going backwards at breakneck speed.
It’s fair to say Emery’s successor, Mikel Arteta, did not find the immediate antidote to Arsenal’s early season woes. However, it does look like his coaching methods are now starting to click. Suddenly Arsenal find themselves entering the conversation about European places.
That’s due to Arsenal embarking on an eight-game unbeaten streak, the longest such current run in the Premier League. Although it pales into comparison to Liverpool’s earlier effort, it remains an impressive sample of results.
Of course, things did not get off to an ideal start under Mikel Arteta. The former Everton midfielders’ stewardship earnt just a point from the first two games, before a rather uninspiring run of four consecutive league draws.
However, interpreting that quartet of average performances from a glass half full perspective, at least Arsenal were becoming hard to beat. It is those four draws that has seemingly set the club in good stead.
Despite having to make do with a share of the points against Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, there was at least a sense of Arsenal cultivating a new form of DNA. It would only need a small ignition to then spark the club back into life.
Something that was apparent during their impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle last month, was that the shackles had been lifted from Mikel Arteta’s charges. They followed that performance with two further Premier League wins.
The jubilation of domestic progress in both league and cup, has been tempered slightly by the fact that they were knocked out of the Europa League and, although failing to get the better of Olympiakos was a bitter pill to swallow, their continental hiatus may not be as long as expected.
That’s because although Arsenal find themselves lying ninth in the table, the task of moving further up the league ladder should not prove all that difficult. Especially when you consider the freefall that arch-rivals Tottenham are currently in.
With a cluster of teams above them only holding a narrow points advantage, there will be a belief that a return to European competition is very much on the cards. With Manchester City’s status still to be decided, entry into next season’s Champions League isn’t outside the realms of possibility.
Even if Arsenal fail to return to Europe’s elite by virtue of a top five finish, there is still an ever-increasing chance that they could deliver a first trophy for Mikel Arteta and in double quick time.
That’s because those league wins have also bookended progress in this season’s FA Cup and with Sheffield United lying in wait in this year’s quarter-finals, there’s no reason not to be planning at least one trip to Wembley in the next few months.
It is evident that Arsenal are playing with a swagger again and, what is arguably more important, is that they are doing so with a perfect blend of youth and experience, a combination that points to a bright future ahead.
That said, Mikel Arteta may have to earn his money away from the pitch this summer, as talk of talisman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang departing is a noise that continues to get louder.
However, this is a footballing institution that has shown in the past that no one man is bigger than the club. If the Gabonese forward was to move on, they would be confident in sourcing a suitable replacement for next season.
If Arsenal can deliver a third FA Cup success in six years, it would prove to be a statement of intent to any players weighing up their futures, as it highlights that this is a club beginning a new upward trajectory.
Also, it would vindicate the decision to get rid of Unai Emery and install Mikel Arteta. Although this new chapter in club’s history has only just begun, it could end up being a more enjoyable read than the previous one.
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