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Opinion: 'Fantastic' Arsenal figure is a reason for optimism despite dismal season for Gunners

With everything that has gone on throughout Arsenal’s season, there’s reason to be optimistic about the road ahead.

It may well be a bumpy road, what with no European football increasingly likely, but, the paved surface leads to glory nonetheless.

And here’s why.

Amid all the criticsm facing Mikel Arteta and his squad for what has been a dismal campaign, and rightly so, there’s quite a few aspects that have improved as the season draws to a close.

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The defensive improvement from what we watched under the stewardship of Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery is far greater.

Wenger’s tactics were always ‘focus on ourself’ which proved complete and utter failure if his record against the respective big six clubs is anything to go by.

Emery was different in that every team the Gunners faced felt like they had a chance in beating the north London giants.

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Sides like Watford were creating 30-odd shots on goal in what was the worst bit of defensive tactics witnessed from a manager apparently known for his pragmatism

However, there proves no such problems under Arteta, who in a way surrendered attacking nous for defensive superiority. The Gunners have the third-best defence in the division, a show of their vast improvement under the Spaniard.

Then there’s Arteta’s influence on the players, who have grown fond of the manager’s coaching style despite the iffy results.

Martin Odegaard, who labelled the 38-year-old ‘fantastic’, and Bukayo Saka are two prominent figures who have lavished the former Manchester City man with praise over his impact in N5.

Meanwhile, his ability to get an FA Cup win over the likes of Manchester City, who had only a few weeks earlier battered the side 3-0 is a display of his man management style.

Arteta may have failed to achieve his targets this season, however, there is enough from his 18 months at the club to suggest that the Emirates Stadium giants are headed in the right direction under the coach.

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