Arteta’s young stallions are building something exhilarating
With the first North London derby of 2022-23 fast approaching, in less than six hours time, I haven’t been this excited to be an Arsenal supporter since the peaks of Arsene Wenger’s career 2001-2005. That iconic era of electric, incendiary, champagne football, most famously remembered as ‘the invincibles’ era when Wenger designed and cultivated an unprecedented culture of team brilliance and success.
I have a growing confidence that Mikel Arteta’s current squad is capable of something special. Whether that is to be manifested by establishing a dynasty of success that becomes worthy of comparison to Wenger’s heyday, remains to be seen. That is a massive challenge. But I am certain this is a team that can win trophies and start to really shake off that malaise that has seen over a decade of Arsenal teams struggling to beat the top five powerhouse EPL clubs.
A former co-worker once suggested that I bet against a New Zealand club that I loved. His logic was something along the lines of, “you know they nearly always lose to this team .. so often, but I agree that tonight is a hard one to pick. We’ve been playing well .. it looks close on paper, you can hope they win but you should definitely place a bet against them. That way you can’t be disappointed. That’s what I always do ..”
I almost spat in his direction. That guy was such a dickhead. Never could stand him.
A real fan never bets against their club. What a gargantuan douchebag.
Arsene Wenger once said that to win the Premier League, “you need to have a squad with two world class players competing in every position.”
This current Arsenal side isn’t quite there, but it’s close. Time is on their side. Fans always want instant success. But for those prepared to take a long term view, there is so much to be encouraged by and excited about. There is such an abundance of outstanding, hardened, confident, youthful talent in this Arsenal squad.
The average age of this squad is comfortably under twenty five years old. No less than nineteen players with international experience. There is outstanding depth in this squad, not quite perfect depth as per the Arsene Wenger quote, but close.
It says something that a player like Granit Xhaka, who has represented his national side Switzerland 106 times, often as Captain, is only just starting to gain widespread acceptance this season, after 256 EPL games for Arsenal across seven seasons.
Players such as Jesus, Martinelli, Ødegaard, Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel, White, Saliba, Tierney, Tomiyaso, Ramsdale and possibly the likes of Lokonga and Zinchenko, ooze so much quality and substantial potential for further development. While comparatively ‘wise old heads’ like Partey and Xhaka are in vintage form. There is an abundance of potential and prodigious talent in this current Arsenal squad, combined with youthful energy.
It looks likely that Arteta should be able to keep his squad playing this high tempo, hard pressing, fluid moving and passing, highly aggressive, highly technical style of football on an upward trend for another 2-3 seasons. It’s definitely not implausible that he’ll further strengthen his depth in midfield and centre-forward and with the team consistently pushing for trophies, top four end of season finishes, and very likely regaining consistent participation in the Champions League once again (where the club belongs) fans can plan some big evenings at their favourite local.
He should also be able to keep this extremely talented, youthful and exciting squad together for another three seasons and fine-tune it. That should be the mentality for Arsenal fans. What can the club do, with this squad over the course of not just this season, but the next three EPL seasons.
I am so hopeful that these players stay together. I am certain that Arteta now has the makings of a very successful squad. A squad that belongs in the Champions League. A squad that can not just qualify but be confident of progression beyond the group stage and a squad that will win trophies in England.
I am more excited to be an Arsenal supporter than I have been in over a decade. It’s going to be one hell of an exciting journey with these young swashbucklers.
Style, pace, resilience, mongrel, guile, flair, street smarts, unity, charisma and passion. This is an Arsenal brand I can froth over. A brand of football that will get me out of bed at any time during the wee hours, any day of the week. Work day or weekend.
I’ll never bet against them. I’ll never slag them off. I’ll never stop believing in the potential and ability of this Arsenal team. It’s no coincidence the fans are really out in force this season, they’re in fine voice.
Victoria Concordia Cresict – Victory Through Harmony.
Arsenal for life.