Can you believe it’s been 16 years since Arsenal lifted the Premier League title, as they last won it back in 2004?
Those were the days when a prime Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, and Tony Adams were playing, a very fond but distant memory. Arsenal fans have longed to have those glory days back and are looking for the club to finally make strides back to the summit of English football.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom at the Emirates as the club has kept themselves in contention amongst Europe’s elites for several years. But as we enter into a new decade, fans can be hopeful and confident that this will be a more successful time for the North Londoners.
Here are 3 reasons why Arsenal can end their Premier League drought in this decade.
#3 Hale Academy generation
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a time where more Arsenal academy graduates are making a name for themselves in the first team set up. Despite having one of the richest owners in football, Arsenal has been pretty frugal in regard to spending leading to a plethora of opportunities for the youngsters coming through.
At a brief glance, the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Joe Willock have all made their presence known this season alone. For a team the size of Arsenal that’s unheard of and can only be compared to with what’s happening at Chelsea right now, which is not by choice might we add.
Most of the greatest teams in the Premier League era have had squads filled with academy prospects because they’re often the players that understand what it means to play for the club the most. This is no fluke too, there are still several Hale End graduates that will soon make their presence known in the first team set up like; Zech Medley, Tyreece John-Jules, Robbie Burton and Folarin Balogun.
#2 Raul Sanllehi time
For far too long Arsenal has been in cruise control, just going through the motions instead of looking to challenge the norm. When David Dein left, the balance of power all fell into the hands of Arsène Wenger.
And when such responsibility is all given to one man, some areas get neglected which inevitably affected the Frenchman’s ability to coach. Modern football teams are now hiring Directors of Football / Technical Directors to manage the workload and take care of operations behind the scenes.
Despite the initial resistance of Wenger, Raul Sanllehi was brought in to manage footballing operations, this pertains to overseeing scouting networks, negotiating transfer deals and renewing/releasing player contracts.
This is a man that oversaw one of Barcelona’s most successful eras ever and he was the man behind many of the club’s biggest transfers. At the Nou Camp, he oversaw the transfers of Alex Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Ousmane Dembele.
He was also not scared to make the big decisions as he proved by selling Ronaldinho in 2008 and even Neymar before he left. The Spaniard is ruthless in his decision making, especially in the transfer market, a trait that will help the Gunners end their title drought.
#1 Mikel Arteta era
It may be premature, but Mikel Arteta is saying all the right things to get Arsenal fans excited. The Spaniard has constantly emphasised the importance of passion, hard-work, covering each other and fluid passing. The Spaniard has summoned the spirit of Arsène Wenger and is looking to stamp his authority at the Emirates.
He also wants to modernise the way the Gunners analyse games and approach match preparation. The start of Arteta’s reign has been filled with much promise with many expecting the 37-year-old to lead the Gunners into a new era.
As a man that has directly learned from Pep Guardiola and Arsenal’s greatest ever manager, he has all the ingredients to wake up this sleeping giant. He understands the art behind playing attractive football but also has the ruthlessness of Guardiola to win through any means possible.
This may be Arteta’s first job as a manager, but it has all the makings of a potentially long and fruitful relationship. As long as the board back the Spaniard, things will work out well.Published 12 Feb 2020, 00:40 IST