Can Arsenal maintain their winning mentality?
Arsenal opinion: Arsenal’s recent performances have been encouraging, but they need to keep it up if they are to challenge for the title next season
During the first half of the season Arsenal struggled with consistency. The new additions to the team needed to find their feet and it understandably took time for them to adapt to the rigours of English football.
Since the Emirates outfit realised that they’ll have to pull up their socks if they want to play Champions League football next season, there seemed to have been a psychological shift in the Gunners’ ranks.
The Gunners have recovered some of that signature Arsenal fluency and dominance in possession thanks largely to improved communication on the pitch and the fact that the players have got to know one another’s style of play.
With the new first-choice backline of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker and constant communication with their fellow defenders, Arsenal have tightened up the defence and are much more effective at the back compared to earlier in the season. The Arsenal defenders also seem to be more committed to the cause and enhanced positional play has seen them repel attacks with efficiency.
The Gunners have to sustain their new-found confidence and, whether or not they qualify for the Champions League, will have to build on it going into 2013/14.
Wenger’s side seem to have a knack of playing at their absolute best when they have their backs against the wall, but they’ll have to learn to show that vigour and urgency from the start next season and not only when threatened. They have to learn to pursue success rather than avoid failure.
As Mikel Arteta rightly points out, Arsenal have some of the best talent in the League and they show hunger and desire to get back up after being knocked down, however, that hunger and desire needs to be there on a consistent basis.
He told the Arsenal website: "Every team has got the talent," he said.
"For me we have more than the rest of them in most of the areas.
"The others, that mentality, that ambition, that hunger inside to win and to get ahead when it's not going well or when you lose, it's very important to get off the floor and react quickly.
"I'm proud because we've shown that a few times already since I've been here, that people write us off and suddenly we've reacted when no one was expecting it. I'm proud of that and the group we have. But we can always improve."
There is certainly much room for improvement but the Gunners are on the right track. If Wenger can acquire three new additions at least, at right back, defensive midfield and in attack, to bolster the squad in those areas, there is no reason why Arsenal can’t challenge for top honours next season.
But the most important will be for them to maintain the winning mentality they’ve shown in recent times and believe that they are good enough to beat the best, because in reality, they are.
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