The Gunners have started the season brightly under Mikel Arteta.
Mikel Arteta is looking to embark a new era at Arsenal in the Premier League, a time in which they hold on to their identity, promote the youth and manage to collect silverware simultaneously. It isn’t a convenient process, but the Spaniard has been hired for a specific purpose. Since taking over the reins of the club in December 2019, Arteta has won the FA Cup and the Community Shield. Both silverware has worked as morale boosters for the squad that was down in doldrums not too long ago.
By the looks of it, Arsenal can perhaps manage to make their way into the top four of the Premier League to compete in the UEFA Champions League next season, which they have not done in the last four seasons. Let us take a look at why Arsenal can break that trend and make it to the Premier League top four this time around.
5. Revamped Backline
Arsenal had conceded 48 goals in the Premier League during the 2019-20 season, second highest among the big six, following Chelsea who conceded 54. However, the Blues’ forward line was more efficient and recorded a much better goal difference (15) than Arsenal (8).
The likes of Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulous and Calum Chambers were not upto the task at hand. Arteta is gradually restricting his defensive line, by inducting the likes of Gabriel, William Saliba and Kieran Tiernay into the starting XI. This combination projects an ideal blend of a modern-day defensive setup. If they manage to instill some consistency throughout the campaign, Arsenal will improve on its defensive record and strengthen their chances of finishing higher up in the Premier League standings.
4. Favourable January schedule
Several Premier League clubs tend to lose steam and momentum after the packed Christmas fixtures due to injuries to key players and a cluster of games against competitive opponents. Arsenal have been culpable of losing their way from the beginning of a new calendar year on quite a few occasions as well.
However, during the 2020-21 season, the club will thank its stars for not having to deal with a formidable opposition in this specific time period. Arsenal are scheduled to face the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Southampton and Manchester United in January. While they will square off against Manchester United on January 30, they will have probably recuperated from the fatigue and weariness caused in December. These fixtures allow Arsenal to build a positive momentum towards the second half of the season and thus finish the Premier League campaign on a strong note.
3. Experienced players at their peak
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed a new contract to extend his successful stint at the club by another three years. Alexandra Lacazette is aged 29 years, whereas Granit Xhaka continues to be the midfield general for the club at 27. The club has secured Dani Ceballos for another year, and the Spanish midfielder is only 24-year-old currently.
Some of the most crucial, vital players at key positions for Arsenal are at the most productive, efficient stage of their respective careers. This ensures consistency, the lack of which has been detrimental to the club’s fate in recent years. If Arteta succeeds in harnessing their potential altogether at the appropriate phases throughout the season, the team will fancy their prospects of bettering the final position in the league table.
2. Influx of young players
Winning the FA Cup enabled Arsenal to compete in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League this season. Whilst featuring in a continental championship is always advantageous, the long travels to obscure places for this competition always hampers the positive probabilities for a club in their domestic league.
To compensate for that, Arteta has ensured the influx of young players such as Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock into the first-team squad. These individuals will possibly have opportunities to feature for Arsenal in some of the Europa League encounters, providing adequate rest to the other prolific stars so that they can be rested for the Premier League games.
1. Acumen of Mikel Arteta
For years, Arsenal were entangled in striving to maintain a specific identity under Arsene Wenger irrespective of the mediocre results on the field. Unai Emery’s spell started off brightly, but various issues propelled that tenure to falter within a very short period of time. However, Mikel Arteta has displayed the tendency to undertake a different approach from his predecessors. He emphasizes on adopting a progressive style of football and handing opportunities to budding youngsters. However, Arteta doesn’t restrain from holding back, taking a pragmatic route and alter his plans according to the demands of the situation either.
He abides to a specific set of plans, but does not conform to a fixated, outdated theory and outlook towards the game. His team defeated Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and the finals of the FA Cup respectively with a slender margin, despite the opposition matching or even outclassing Arsenal during a few phases of the game. The art of tactically maneuvering matches and securing three points is integral for success in the Premier League and the Spaniard seems to possess this trait in abundance.