Good day Positivistas.
With 11 games into the season, eight of them in the Premier League, I think it’s fair to say that the Unai Emery era is now well and truly under way. It hasn’t been without pause for concern though, especially in defence but with the slickness of our attack it has moved from the front of our minds. Thankfully not Unai’s as he said he is working with the players on tightening things up, so best to leave him to it then.
Now the main story surrounding Arsenal going into the international break hasn’t been the barnburner of an attacking display vs Fulham, nor Aaron Ramsey’s goal of the decade but rather a section of the away support at Craven Cottage singing “we got our Arsenal back”. I’m not going into their reasons for singing it and the stupidity of it all, however I do acknowledge that there’s a real positive buzz around the club and match going crowd at present.
After the disappointments of the last two PL campaigns, finishing 5th and 6th respectively with an FA Cup win the highlight, it do feel like we are turning the right corners at the moment. Maybe it’s the new manager bounce, having new voices and faces amongst the coaching staff… whatever it is, it is something new, refreshing and reminiscent of the great Wenger years combining well with some Spanish flair.
Last season wasn’t complete trauma though as only Mancity had a better record than us in home PL fixtures, but it was our results on the road that has been the cause of frustration. So for Unai to have us collect three out of four wins on our travels, after winning only four in nineteen last campaign, it is already an indicator that this team is on the ups.
The mentality of the players were also questioned many a times, not so thus far. In the six game winning PL run the boys shown great resilience to come out at halftime with great desire to get us over line. Who can forget even in defeat to Chelsea how we fought very hard till the final whistle?
Following a slow start to the season Lacazette and Aubameyang look like they’re developing quite the lethal partnership that can be a handful for any defense, even the younger players have grabbed some of the headlines. Lucas Torreira has just been a source of inspiration with his ability to guard the midfield bulldog-esque and Holding, coming in for the injured Sokratis, has been amongst the top three performers on each matchday he played. Alex Iwobi has earned the praise of some of his harshest critics, Mattéo Guendouzi are just a bundle of youthful excitement and Hector Bellerín is now a seasoned professional.
There’s no doubt that Unai got a great head on his shoulders and that the players are responding to his managerial philosophy.
Some are asking if Arsenal can be seen as PL title contenders being a mere two points behind the early log leaders after a quarter of the fixtures gone. Well I think it is too early to make such pronouncements, however qualifying for next years Champions League may now be a genuine expectation… if José continue to self-destruct at Manutd and we only have Totnum to battle it out with for 4th spot.
With the current form of this group of players, the mood in and around the club and our uncanny ability to slip under the radar… I don’t think we have reason to feel inferior to anybody.