Amid a run that has seen them seven wins in their last nine Premier League games, Arsenal are well positioned to secure a place in the top four and back Mikel Arteta’s bold statement
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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project has rarely been in better shape than it is at the moment.
But in terms of consistent results and real expectations, the Gunners have arguably been in their strongest position since then Arsène Wenger left the club.
For the first time under the Spaniard, voices of dissatisfaction are little more than murmurs and many of his critics are convinced.
That wasn’t always the case, however, and looking back over 12 months underscores just how much the tides have changed in north London.
In March 2021, Arteta was under a lot of pressure and Arsenal were set to end up outside the European places for the first time in 26 years.
But in the face of mounting criticism, the Premier League’s youngest manager felt that with time and the added stability without Covid-enforced lockdowns, his project would finally take off.
“It was really challenging to have the first job to do that[toleadthroughtimeCovid-19 Pandemic).
“And having only been on the job for three months under normal conditions to have a completely different context and framework to work with, it was really challenging.
“At the same time, it has made us much stronger as a club. We’ve created a really strong group, a really strong bond with our players, with our fans, with our staff. That will make a big difference.
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“I think in the future when everything returns to normal and we are able to work in the way that it takes for some stability, I think this project is going to be a blast.
“Here we are, but sometimes it’s difficult to see those moments now. I’m sure of what we’re doing.”
But even in the year since those comments, there have been testing periods, no more so than at the start of his season when his side lost three straight games without a goal.
Like his manager six months earlier, however, technical director Edu expressed confidence, claiming that the team would be on the right track once external variables were controlled.
On the owners’ view of their dismal opening trio of games, Edu told Sky Sports: “They already know the squad and want to see them play together. We want to see them play together.
“Mikel wants to see them play together. Mikel was happy the other day when he had two or three players starting training again.
“He wants everyone to be fit and I hope everyone is Covid free. Then it’s fair to judge us.
“I’m really happy because we executed the plan we started a year ago,” he continued. “It makes me really happy because all the plans, all the steps, all the processes that we put together, we carried out. ”
When asked if the results would improve if the players got fit, Edu answered in one word: “Exactly.”
And it seems their confidence wasn’t misguided, even if the wider footballing world felt that was explicitly the case.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-mikel-arteta-edu-predictions-26376039 Mikel Arteta and Edu's predictions prove they knew more than Arsenal's biggest critics