Arsenal fans are starting to believe that Mikel Arteta is building something special in north London.
The Spaniard’s first season in charge of the Gunners ended in silverware with the club beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Sunday.
Arsenal turned around a 1-0 deficit thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace on another successful trip to Wembley Stadium.
It’s now 14 FA Cup wins for the club, who have managed to salvage a disappointing league campaign.
They finished eighth in the table which, for Arsenal, is unacceptable.
But an FA Cup triumph means Europa League football next year and renewed ambitions in 2020/21.
There’s now no reason for Arteta not to target a top four finish next season. They’ve beaten Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of a few weeks, so why shouldn’t they be optimistic?
Leading the way is a charismatic manager with bright ideas. Arteta is combining what he’s learned from Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola and sprinkling in his own beliefs, and the result is a team capable of beating the best.
We’ve come up with six reasons why Arsenal fans should be very, very excited about the future under Arteta.
The players have improved
Granit Xhaka’s improvement as a footballer since Arteta arrived isn’t hard to spot.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Swiss midfielder’s Arsenal career looked over after he was booed off by his own fans.
But he’s bounced back in style to become an important fixture in Arsenal’s line-up, with his playmaking skills coming to the fore.
Shkodran Mustafi also looks much more solid in defence, which says an awful lot.
Arteta wasted no time in trying to better his players, though. In one of his first training sessions in charge, he explained to Alexandre Lacazette why he wasn’t allowed to do flicks.
Wins against tough opposition
Arteta has beaten Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Lampard.
Arsenal have been pushovers for a very long time, seen as incapable of beating the traditional big clubs.
Slowly but surely, Arteta is changing the belief in the squad whereby the players realise they can beat anyone.
Arteta can handle difficult situations
Arteta’s handling of the Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil situations, whether right or wrong, shows that he’s not afraid to upset individual players for the benefit of the group.
Guendouzi has been banished from the first team as a result of his problematic attitude, while Arteta clearly doesn’t think Ozil can improve his team.
The result? He’s managed to maintain the harmony in the squad, and Arsenal are thriving because of it.
Arsenal are establishing an identity
Check out the full build-up to the Gunners’ first goal in their 2-0 win against Man City last month.
Arteta out-Guardiola’d Guardiola. Impressive stuff.
All successful teams have an identity and, after some lost years, Arsenal are regaining theirs as a confident, passing-style team.
The players love Arteta
The reaction when Arteta brought the FA Cup trophy back to the dressing room shows how much they admire the Spaniard.
He speaks to them in various languages and encourages every player. He gets the importance of man-management.
He’s already won his first trophy
Bear in mind that it’s been 12 years since Tottenham won their last trophy.