Winning two trophies in August has undoubtedly boosted the confidence in north London going into a new season.
But can it continue? The Mikel Arteta revolution is delivering much faster than Unai Emery was able to; although to be fair, one can think of the Europa League final loss to Chelsea as a turning point for Arsenal post Arsène Wenger.
Had victory against Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea been secured, Emery would likely have had something similar to this momentum behind him; he would’ve also guided Arsenal back to the Champions League while delivering a European trophy to north London.
But this did not happen. When the team got off to consistently poor start last season, it was too great a burden to bear; Emery was fired and shortly after, the new boss was brought it. Arteta has felt absolutely no burden whatsoever, or so it appears.
He has in all honesty, just in the month of August alone, bought himself greater time with the club and greater belief from the players than Emery was ever to garner. He has also likely won himself more time with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a busy summer transfer window; can Arsenal take these victories and energize themselves ahead of a push for a place in the Premier League top four?
Mikel Arteta: Breathing Life Into Everyone and Everything at Arsenal
Emery and Arteta have virtually the same players; while Arteta will not revamp Arsenal, the success he has had is with players firmly from the late Wenger, entire Emery eras. This should be seen as even more impressive than if had he been able to acquire his own players first, and it has clearly given Arsenal confidence in him moving toward this new campaign.
Better still, players whom looked past their best now appear capable once more; the boss’ knowledge of position and nuance has, like his mentor at Manchester City, gifted players with prolonged effectiveness in their careers. This has surely been a key for Arsenal since the restart just months ago; the team has had a better total understanding of what they are trying to do together, as well as what the coach specifically needs from each and every one of the players on the pitch.
The results speak for themselves. Arsenal have beaten, since the restart, Liverpool twice, Manchester City once and Chelsea once. While they did experience disappointment since they returned, it has more recently been (gratefully) overshadowed with the success had in both the FA Cup and in the Community Shield.
With Arsenal still needing a heavy workload in the transfer market to sculpt the team to Arteta’s desire, even after the singing of Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian, it will be really interesting to see what the team looks like when the dust settles on the busy window in this congested off-season.
Who Else Will Arsenal Bring in?
There are more rumors than one can keep track of, although to be sure, we have the technology; all jokes aside, there are swap deals with a remarkable amount of clubs.
Arsenal have been linked with deals involving Roma, Lyon, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid; naming but a select few. PSG have been credited with interest in Hector Bellerin, although Ainsley Maitland-Niles links to Wolves seem to have cooled. With so much movement, and so many names linked, it is without question that the Arsenal that just won two trophies in August is not the Arsenal that leaves this summer window period.
Arsenal seem really determined to fix their midfield; to get it flowing and directing the game with the same vision as can be seen at Manchester City. What we’ve witnessed with Arsenal since the restart however, especially later into it, is that the rest of the team is starting to play with that idea and thus a visionary type of player could really unlock Arsenal, bringing them to the next level while maintaining much of the same core squad.
Due to this, it is not surprising now that the names we hear associated with Arsenal are along the lines of Philippe Coutinho, Thomas Partey, Amadou Diawara, Houssem Aouar among others. Getting the midfield engine working at the highest tier will really make the attacking talent a scary sight to behold. It will also do a better job of protecting the backline which, in all fairness, hasn’t looked as pedestrian since Arteta has had some time to drill tactics and positions.
There is so much talent internally, but I think Arsenal and Arteta are patient to let them develop, no heavy handed pressure when it isn’t necessary. In any event, the youth will have its time to contribute as ever.
Gunners Must Continue to Press, Continue to Persist
For Arsenal it is difficult to imagine how the restart could’ve gone much better for the club than it did; in the final analysis, the failure at the end of the Europa League final has very much set up the success of this past season’s FA Cup and now the Community Shield.
However, they will only be really special should they be the simply starting point of something much larger for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta. Success this great and smiles this wide definitely creates a greater appetite for continued success; the trick now is, of course, to simply keep succeeding.