Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Five positives Mikel Arteta can take from this disastrous Arsenal season

Photo by Andy Rain – Pool/Getty Images

Arsenal have had a shocking campaign in the Premier League, there’s no two ways about it. The Gunners ended the season in eighth – our worst finish in 26 years, which really is a terrible record.

Mikel Arteta has admitted that the position we are in at the moment is unacceptable for a club of Arsenal’s stature. However, he has claimed that there has been progress behind the scenes, and that, in our opinion, is a fair assessment.

My Revenge On Ben Foster

Here are five positives Arsenal can take from this season:

Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka

The two Hale End graduates have arguably been the only shining light in an otherwise dull campaign.

Saka made a name for himself last season, but he has taken his game to a whole new level this term. Smith Rowe, on the other hand, arrived with a bang on Boxing Day and he hasn’t looked back since.

Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images

The two wonderkids finished the season with a combined 11 goals and 17 assists in all competitions – a truly stunning record considering that their average age is less than 20.

January clear-out

Arsenal had a lot to consider midway through the season and the situation we were in demanded multiple bold decisions. It is safe to say, Arteta and Edu stepped up and got the job done in the January transfer window.

Mesut Ozil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi were all released from their contracts. Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, William Saliba and Joe Willock were shipped out on loan as well, which cleared a lot of space.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal’s decisions to release those three players was arguably a bad one as it cost us a fair bit of money. However, it is something that had to be done, and the fact that we managed to do it is a huge positive looking ahead to the future.

Improved defence

Arsenal conceded just 39 goals in the Premier League this season – the third-best record in the division. We also let in just 24 at home, which is the fewest since the 1973-74 season, which shows just how much we’ve improved.

Arteta deserves a ton of credit for getting that part of the team right. If our defence hadn’t improved from our previous seasons, there’s a good chance that we would’ve finished in the bottom half of the league table, which would’ve made this an even more disastrous campaign.

Nicolas Pepe

A lot has been said about the Ivorian over the last two years because of his price-tag. The media, pundits and some fans completely disregarded the fact that it isn’t Pepe’s fault that Arsenal paid as much as we did for him.

That mammoth fee put a ton of pressure on him in his debut season and that was evident on the pitch. Pepe clearly improved in his second year at the club, finishing the campaign with 21 direct goal involvements – more than any other Arsenal player.

Photo by David Price./Arsenal FC via Getty Images

That becomes even more impressive when you consider that Arteta never really gave him a consistent run in the side. Pepe is certainly a success story from this season, and he will only get better next term.

Loan watch

William Saliba, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Joe Willock became real stars of their respective loan clubs over the course of their time there.

The Frenchman was arguably Nice’s best player over the last five months, Mavropanos’ value has gone up considerably thanks to his brilliant performances at Stuttgart and Willock has been the talk of the town at Newcastle.

Mavropanos’ future is up in the air at the moment, but Willock and Saliba are surely ready to feature at the top level for Arsenal now. That is a massive positive for Arteta, who could potentially save millions in the transfer market this summer thanks to the duo.

Read more: Where Arsenal would’ve finished in the 2020/21 Premier League table if there was no VAR

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane./Arsenal FC via Getty Images
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment