Since the latter stages of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, expectations and standards have been falling.
With Mikel Arteta taking the step from head coach to manager, fans are beginning to see those standards rise once more. One occurrence that has become far too regular at Arsenal has been the sight of the team’s best players leaving the club.
It has happened time and time again with the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez moving on in hopes of winning the highest honors. Although Arsenal is still a massive club in world football, fans can not deny that the standards and outside perception have lowered in recent times. However, now we are seeing a revitalization of the club’s lofty aspirations on and off the pitch.
With club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new three-year deal fans can begin to hope that Arsenal are beginning to turn a corner. Aubameyang is a world-class player at the height of his powers, and regardless of his age, tying down the Gabonese striker to a long-term deal is a sign of renewed intent. Furthermore, the fact the Aubemyang has reportedly turned down other offers to leave north London indicates the fact that there is a clear sense of progress permeating throughout the squad.
This shift in mindset has come predominantly from one man: Arteta. After Arsenal defeated Chelsea in the FA Cup final, Aubameyang took to social to retweet a picture of himself and Arteta holding the cup with the caption “My manager !!!!!”
It is worth noting that at the time, Arteta still had the title of head coach, yet Aubamyang knew that this was the man who would helm a new look Arsenal with renewed standards and aims. Since then, the Spaniard has had his job title bumped up to first-team manager, and with this new title comes greater responsibility and influence over Arsenal’s transfer strategy and overall vision.
Couple these off-the-pitch developments with an impressive vein of form on the pitch, which has seen the club defeat Manchester City and Liverpool (twice) since football resumed, it is clear that the club is trending in the right direction. However, there is still much to be done in order for Arsenal to break back into the realm of European elite.
The club will need to prove that this new leadership structure is efficient and organized enough to improve the squad further in this transfer window, and Arteta’s very own success will be used against him as a benchmark for future fixtures.
It is time that Arsenal began rectifying their away record especially against the traditional top six sides. The club finds itself in the Europa league for the fourth year in a row. This can no longer be Arsenal’s standard and a player like Aubameyang will not have signed his extension to play in this competition any longer. The club should set its sights on finally winning the Europa League, simultaneously attaining entry into the Champions League and adding a much needed European cup to the cabinet.
Arteta has done a phenomenal job lifting our chins and setting our standards back to where we expect Arsenal to be, now it is time to press on and achieve these goals.