It’s success or bust for Arteta this coming season.
While the spectacularly-haired Spaniard has been making all the right noises at The Emirates, the results haven’t quite matched the eloquence of his words yet.
And last season was spent, for the majority, languishing in depths that a club like ours has no right in disgracing themselves in.
And yet, it highlighted how easy it is for a so-called bigger club, to be consigned quickly to the realms of a ‘sleeping giant.’ Arsenal haven’t challenged for the title in more than a decade and if this slump is allowed to continue, then attracting talent will be a tough ask.
But, if Arteta needs success this campaign – what exactly constitutes success? For the ambiguous owners, it simply means keep the ‘Good Ship Arsenal’ there or thereabouts in the top half.
Far from acceptable. The failure to qualify for Europe last season must be used as a watershed moment for our club, rather than the norm or remotely acceptable.
For a club of our clout, we should be achieving European qualification as a prerequisite, and aiming for Top4 every season.
But can we achieve that this season?
My bold answer is yes – but there are 4 things that my brave – and perhaps foolish prediction – hinges on:
- Set up the playmaker role: Either hire a marquee playmaker in the mould of Houssem Aouar or James Maddison, or give the Number 10 role to Emile Smith-Rowe and have another youth player – such as Miguel Azeez – as backup. We need to establish this and have these players forge bonds with our strikers. We were 12th last season in terms of chance creation – which blighted our entire campaign.
- Set down the foundations in pre-season: Despite being in charge for more than 18 months, Arteta has never been able to enjoy a pre-season with his squad. This time is formative and helps new ideas bed in with players. It also strengthens bonds and if Arteta wants to instill his workings on his players, this will be the time to do it.
- Acquire astutely – Sell smartly: We need a partner for Thomas Partey, to unleash the beast we signed from Atletico. We need a right-back. We need goalkeeping cover for Leno. And some cover for Kieran Tierney wouldn’t go amiss either. To raise funds? Despite his popularity, Bellerin seems surplus to requirements, and getting Willian off the wage bill would be good business.
- Keep Tierney, Saka, ESR and Auba fit: This comes down, in part, to luck. These players are vital to our hopes and if one is missing, then it is noticeable in our team. Tierney is fundamental to our hopes and a future captain no doubt. Saka and ESR are our creative sparks and despite a poor season last time out, Aubameyang will again shoulder the burden for goals. And give him the chances and he will do just that better than most.
There we have it. A recipe for success, hopefully. What else do you think we need to return to better days next season?
Achievable answers only though. Kroenke Out is what everyone wants but in terms of reality, he’ll be tougher to shift than a member of Boris Johnson’s cabinet.
Over to you! #UTA