It was not long ago that Mikel Arteta’s future at Arsenal looked very uncertain. The Gunners could only finish eighth in the Premier League last season for the second straight year. Some reports were suggesting the Spaniard was just one loss away from the sack. He survived and he is now taking the club in the right direction.
After a slow start to the 2021/22 campaign, Arsenal have been able to put a run of results together in the Premier League which has seen them go seven matches unbeaten through September and October.
The pick of their results includes a 2-0 victory away to Leicester, they had an excellent 3-1 success at home to rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby, while they were also impressive in their 3-1 home win against Aston Villa.
Arsenal are now 7-2 in the betting to finish in the top four this season. They have not ended a campaign in one of those positions since 2016, so it would be some achievement from Arteta and his players if they were to manage it.
Arteta Will Be Better For The Experience
The tough patch that Arteta went through will have been a good learning experience for him and may actually have made him stronger. This is the first managerial job of his career. He spent several years working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but as the chief decision-maker now, there is much more pressure on his shoulders.
Managers tend to learn a lot more about their players and their role through defeats. He has made adjustments to personnel and tactics this season and the early signs suggest that has worked. Arteta has also fielded strong teams in the Carabao Cup. He has been rewarded for that as his side have advanced to the quarter-final following their 2-0 victory over Leeds United.
Although there have been times where he has been under pressure, only George Graham has a better record as Arsenal through their opening 100 matches. When you consider he has done better than the likes of Arsene Wenger and Bertie Mee, perhaps his start has not been as bad as some critics have made out.
Players Seem To Be Improving All The Time
The encouraging thing for Arteta is that a number of key players in his squad look set to continue improving. Arguably the stand-out player in his team this season in Emile Smith Rowe. He has played just over 30 games for the Gunners now and he has a very bright future. He has scored three goals in the Premier League in the 2021/22 campaign through his opening nine games.
Bukayo Saka is another player who should continue to get better for Arsenal. It was clear how important the versatile winger was to England manager Gareth Southgate at Euro 2020. He started the final of that tournament against Italy.
Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is impressing with every game he has in goal. He was excellent in his side 2-0’s victory over Leicester. He could be the best ‘keeper the Gunners have had since David Seaman.
Arteta deserves lots of plaudits for hanging in there when the going was tough. The challenge now for the Spanish manager will be to take Arsenal to the next level by qualifying into the Champions League.