It’s been a while since we’ve been in this position.
No, not the lofty heights of fighting for the title.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to see our club finally duking it out for the League after years in the wilderness. The last time we had a realistic chance of lifting the PL trophy, William Gallas was wearing the coveted number 10 jersey and Eduardo’s horrific injury derailed what was a fabulously talented side.
We’re enjoying it, our team is within reach of a historic season.
But it’s the future that is truly exciting.
Because we haven’t had a side that carries so much promise as this one, for a very long time.
We have been exceptionally proud of having the youngest side on average in the league. The average age of our team is 24.4 years old – well short of hitting their physical peak.
Not to mention the experience garnered that make players stronger, react better to incidents on the pitch…
That average age is also weighed down by our two most experienced members of the squad – Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Take those two out of the mix and the average drops significantly.
The next oldest after our midfield core are Zinchenko, Jesus and Kieran Tierney. It also means the core of our squad are in the midst of a title tilt and the pressures that come with it are immense.
We can forgive ourselves for putting so much responsibility on these young shoulders because they are resolute and have shown they are more than up to the challenge. After our 2-2 draw against West Ham which potentially gave the initiative to Man City – and after our Star Boy Bukayo Saka missed a penalty that would have likely grabbed the points for us – Saka posted on social media to inform fans he would act on his responsibility and ensure he made up for his error.
Something he didn’t need to do but his character is one of a leader and one who gives his all. Truly humble.
The same as our captain, Martin Odegaard. Gabriel and William Saliba at the back. Ben White. Aaron Ramsdale. Gabi Martinelli.
A spine of a side that are pushing moneybags City all the way – and next season will be even stronger.
We have many reasons for optimism this season and beyond – but our youthful team are primed to continue their presence at the sharp end of the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta has not only assembled a side that have a glittering array of talent – he has constructed a squad with warrior mentalities. A group that are completely bought into the process and are only going to get better.
Title or not this season – Arsenal are back in a big way.