Two years ago today, Arsenal were not in the top 10. Neither were Newcastle United.
Leicester City were 3rd, West Ham 4th, Everton 8th and Leeds United 9th. All 4 are now fighting relegation.
No one could have predicted that two years after our 8th place finish, we would be battling it out for the title.
Even we we were struggling last season, most sane fans could see that we were making progress, even if we were perhaps not quite getting the results.
We ended up disappointed with 5th last season, but for much of the year we had shown top 4 form. Let down by 4 periods of losing runs and players injured just at the wrong time.
Whilst there was perhaps not enough for us to dream of being title challengers, there was enough for many of us to say that we trust the process.
And 24 months after we were not in the top 10, the loyalty of the majority has been rewarded.
Regardless of whether we win the league or not this season, it should now be clear and obvious to everyone that we are on the right track. That the process is the correct one. And that our strategy is working.
I remember Gary Neville questioning our transfer policy in September 2021.
“I’m not sure what Arsenal’s transfer strategy is. It seems a bit over the place. Maybe there is one, but it’s not clear,” Neville said. “Sometimes you can see a left-field signing and think you can see where it comes from, but there’s quite a few of them at Arsenal.”
Neville could not work out the strategy of signing Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Taveras.
At the time, I scoffed at this opinion. It was clear that Arsenal were buying talented players under the age of 25.
And I guess Neville being unable to see the very obvious strategy is why he failed as a manager.
Mikel Arteta has transformed Arsenal during the last few years.
I do not think it can be understood how far we had fallen in those last years of Arsene Wenger. The club was failing, from senior team through to the academy. Leadership battles between Ivan Gazidis, Raul Sanlehi and Sven Mislintat were pulling the club apart post-Wenger.
In came Arteta, and alongside Edu, Per Mertesacker and others, the club was ripped up and started again. Transforming the club from top to bottom in the same way Wenger did in 1996.
The work behind the scenes that we do not see is now being seen on the pitch.
Top of the league, youth team into the FA Youth Cup final, the women’s team being a success again. The culture of the entire club has changed.
But still some moan.
I have seen some say “if Arsenal do not win the league, than Arteta is a failure. He would have failed to win any of the 4 tournaments we entered. He should be sacked”.
What. A. Take.
These same people said, in 2021, “I do not care he won the FA Cup. That means nothing. We should be challenging for the title”. Oh how the tune has changed.
So in 2021, they did not care about the FA Cup. It was all about challenging for the title. We were not challenging so they called for Arteta to be sacked. 2 years on we are challenging, and they are demanding he be sacked because we did not win the FA Cup.
It is almost like they change their narrative to fit an agenda.
If we win the league, they will probably say “won 1 trophy out of the last 12. That isn not good enough for Arsenal. We need to hold Arteta to a higher standard”.
The moving goal posts and false high standards must be tiring for them. You wonder what is going on in their real lives, away from social media. Do they hold themselves to this high standards? Do they see themselves as failures if they are not self-made billionaires?
These fellas should probably put the same effort into their own lives as they do slandattacking Arteta daily. That way the might begin climbing the ladder of life. Move out of their bedsits or mum’s houses. And make a success of themselves.
Most probably have a lifetime of failed jobs behind them. Probably ended up as door to door salesmen at 40 years old or something!
Luckily for us, these fans are in the minority. And they seem to keep themselves to their own little wierd eco-chamber of Twitter and YouTube. They are never seen at games.
What is clear to the majority is the progress we have made over the last two-years. And even if we do not win it this year, we will be back next.
A very good article fully agree with all your comments. Real fans see real progress
The signings that lead to our 5th place last season were the foundations, this season Jesus and Zinchenko especially have allowed Arteta to execute what he learned at City, with his own individual take. No one could have predicted the results this season, but this definitely is Arteta’s team, and he has to take a lot of credit for sticking to his guns. This summer regardless of what happens in the league, we must strengthen the squad with a couple of high profile signings together with a smattering of squad players. Unfortunately it looks like some big players might leave this summer, KT being the obvious one. Personally, I hope he stays. He understands what it means to play for the Arsenal.
Are you joking, if we don’t win the league from here it’s been a failure. We threw away 3 cup competitions for the league. If we don’t win the league that will be 1 trophy in 4 years, do you think that is good enough?? Because I certainly don’t. Ancelotti won the League ,the champions league and the world club championship and good possibly win the champions league again and he’s getting sacked at the end of the season, that’s the mentality difference between the 2 clubs. Our fans are a lot to blame, they will let arteta go on for years without winning anything just like they did with Wenger. I just hope we win it ,but if we don’t, which I don’t think we will, we should start looking elsewhere
More and more are buying into the process according to their level of IQ,at this juncture if we still have a person who still does not trust the process then such a person is as thick as a 4×4 plank not being “carefull” as they’ll claim.
So people with a high iq are happy with 1 trophy in 4 years, it’s a shame they haven’t got a high iq in football
@David Boyle – I presume you’re on a wind up
COYG – you’ve given us that feel great factor again, yeah it’s tense, yeah it’s nervy…and yeah there’s a chance we might not win it this year – keep building, trust the process and Arteta’s player decisions – we’re on an upward curve and at the start of the season we wanted top 4 – we might just surprise ourselves – but will probably need to win 7 out of 8 games with great goal difference to win it
I want us to win it and will be disappointed if we don’t, but we will have had an unbelievable season if we even win 5 out of 8 games…88 points!
I’m not on a wind up mate it’s my opinion,lf we don’t win the league how many more year are you going to give him
To be fair, you’re perfectly entitled to that opinion- I just think most Arsenal fans are really enjoying this season and we believe in that team and management.
Need another strong transfer window this summer and to compete next year to win the title and get to knock out stage of Champs League…still big progress.
When you know every single player is given their all for this team, you believe we can and will win big trophies
All I can say to you, David Boyle, is that every other week there are 60,000 packed into the ground who see the transformation and believe. And the lack of available tickets speaks for itself.
In terms of success, Arsenal are not Real Madrid. We want to set out in the route to becoming them. But we are not effectively a state sponsored club. We are a business owned by businessmen who are seeking to build a club which can compete at the highest level. Many of us believe we are getting there. We have won an average of 1 league title for every 10 years since our foundation. This is far more than most. And a large proportion of these came in 2 spells – 1930’s and then late 1990’s- early 2000’s. To think we are somehow entitled to more is to deny the reality.
I love Arteta for the work he has done at Arsenal so far, but Am also a realist.
If Arsenal don’t win the league (and its looking very likely that we won’t) would we say we have had a better season than Manchester United???
United already won the Carlin cup and almost through to the finals of the Europa league.
Let’s say they manage to win the Europa and qualify for the champions league plus the fact that they already won the carabao cup, would we ague to have had a better season than them???
I don’t think so…
If Arsenal manages to win the league, it would rank above the Europa and carabao cup.
But if we don’t, it wouldn’t necessarily be a horrible season, but it wouldn’t be a good one either…
I bet if we finished 4th in the league, 20 points behind the champions, but won the League Cup and Europe Leage, youd be moaning that we didnt challenge for the league