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Is Arsenal thriving under Arteta?

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta took over the Arsenal team on a dreadful run of form, short of confidence and seemingly spiraling further away from the success of the Arsene Wenger reign. In a brief period, Arsenal is looking impressive and organized under Coach Mikel Arteta. Arsenal beat reigning EPL Champions Liverpool on penalties to win the community shield last Saturday. The Community Shield triumph was Arsenal’s second trophy in their last two competitive games after beating Chelsea to win the FA Cup a few weeks ago.

Mikel Arteta has now won two trophies at the Emirates ahead of his first full season with Arsenal. Arsenal’s mentality under Arteta has changed. In the game against the reigning league champions, Liverpool in the Community Shield, Arsenal kept their composure very well after Liverpool’s equalizer till the 90 minutes. Under former head coach, Unai Emery, Arsenal would have crumbled, but this is not the same Arsenal anymore. Just this year under Arteta, Arsenal have beaten Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. These improvements point to the fact that Arsenal has become a different team, and they need to build on their winning mentality to help achieve even more success at the end of the 2020/21 season.

 

Can Arsenal challenge for the top four next season?

The 2020-21 season will start on the 12th of September as teams round up preparations for the new season. Arsenal, who just defeated Premier League champions Liverpool on penalties to win the community shield, is now a top contender for the top four next season. Arsenal got their new campaign off to a flyer, and a top-four finish will be a more realistic target for them. It would easily be delusional to claim that Arsenal can be title contenders next season. Winning the Community Shield has always played some role in terms of performances and results in the subsequent season.

Since 2000, only Man United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are the teams that have failed to make the top four after winning the season’s traditional curtain-raiser. Chelsea beat Man United 2-0 in the 2000 Community Shield final and finished sixth the following season. Man United defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 in 2013 only to finish seventh the next season. Man United, once again in 2016 under Jose Mourinho, won the community shield after beating Leicester City 2-1 and ended up sixth the following season. 2017 saw Arsenal beat Chelsea before finishing sixth the subsequent season. Those were the four moments a team failed to finish in the top four after winning the Community Shield title. That number becomes thin because the remaining 16 winners made the top four the following season. If history in the last two decades is anything to go by, Arsenal will finish higher than last season since no winner has finished below seventh.

One positive thing under the Arteta regime is that the Arsenal defense, which has been the team’s weakness for over a decade now, has shown significant signs of improvement. This summer, Arteta has added Gabriel Magalhaes, a promising center-back who will add something to the defense of Arsenal. With Pablo Mari and William Saliba signing for the club permanently coupled with David Luiz’s fine form in recent games, Arteta’s defense looks strong ahead of next season. The signing of Willian is a good one, with his experience and winning mentality. If Arsenal re-signs Dani Ceballos on loan and adds one or two midfielders, who would give them crucial tenacity, physicality in midfield, they will have a strong squad to challenge for a UEFA Champions League place next season.

 

What’s next?

The club’s captain, Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang, is out of contract next summer, but he is still in talks to renew it. If Aubameyang stays, Arteta could achieve a lot of success next season with his project. One problem Arteta needs to look at is the team’s goalkeeping department. Bernd Leno is Arteta’s first-choice goalkeeper, but Emiliano Martinez has been in an excellent form since Leno got injured. Martinez’s presence in the goal post instills a lot of confidence in the Arsenal defense. However,  the issue is who will be his number one when the season starts?

Keeping both Leno and Martinez will be a good idea, but Arteta will have a difficult task of keeping both men happy.

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