Four wins on the trot have changed the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium but a lot of issues remain unresolved for Mikel Arteta.
Arsene Wenger’s stay at Arsenal lasted an eternity. The French manager ensured that the Gunners remained competitive during his reign. However, by the end of his time, obvious cracks had appeared.
Unai Emery was supposed to paper these cracks. That was the least expectation from the four-time UEFA Europa League winning manager. But his time in North London was full of inconsistencies.
Mikel Arteta is now in the hotseat. The former Gunners’ captain has done what many expected him to do. Make them solid at the back and ensure they score enough to take the points home.
The lockdown was a serious threat to existence of many clubs including Arsenal. The club’s hierarchy had to approach players twice, with cap in hand, to agree to wage cuts.
For Arteta, the lockdown allowed him time to incorporate his principles in the dressing room. Despite the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, Arsenal gave a good account of their abilities. It was their capitulation at Brighton & Hove Albion that raised eyebrows.
A lot has changed in the 18 days since. Playing a match every three to four days, the Gunners have responded in a magnificent manner. They are unbeaten in four games and have managed three Premier League clean sheets in the process.
In their next league outing, they welcome Brendan Rodgers’ high flying Leicester City. The Foxes have been in indifferent form of late and Arsenal would be fancying their chances.
The Gunners are truly on the ascendency but what is next for them? What should they prioritize in the off-season?
Their biggest and only priority, they need to sort out contract issues of attacking duo, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The experienced forwards are necessary for the next phase of their evolution and Arteta will need them.
It will not be an easy task as the negotiations have started and halted a couple of times now. Arteta has even agreed to this but believes the situation will be resolved soon enough.
If not, they need to start planning for the future. Jeremie Boga can be an excellent addition given his pace and tenacity on the left wing, and he will come on the cheap from Sassuolo. But there are other options available too.