Mikel Arteta’s tenure at Arsenal was supposed to bring them back to the top table of English and European football, but while the recently concluded season had some bright moments, it was ultimately a bit of a damp squib.
Arsenal finished in eighth place, six points off a top-four spot, 25 points off champions Manchester City, and a point behind eternal rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who took the final qualification spot for a European competition next season. This means that the Gunners will not be involved in some form of European competition next season for the first time since the 1995/96 campaign – a sobering reality in terms of where this modern incarnation of Arsenal are and just how much work is needed to get them back to the top of the game.
To his credit, Arteta does have some clear ideas about how he wants his team to play, and we have seen some excellent displays within matches from the Gunners when those ideas click, and the players are able to execute them. However, it has largely been about moments, rather than whole matches or a continuous run of form across many games – Arsenal have been extremely inconsistent this season, lurching from good displays to extremely poor ones within the space of a few days, and this has been one of their biggest issues this season. It has not helped sports betting fans either, with their instability making it impossible to predict which Arsenal would show up on a given day, and therefore betting on Arsenal at sportfogadas.net has been a little more exciting than punters would have hoped for.
The Spanish coach did have a lot of credit at the end of last season, when Arsenal won the FA Cup after defeating Chelsea in the final, which brought them qualification for the Europa League for this season. But it is also worth remembering that the team also finished in eighth place last season, although all of the blame for that is not Arteta’s given that he only took over the side in December. Nevertheless, this season has definitely been a regression, as Arsenal have frequently looked bereft of ideas and motivation, while their transfer business has also not been too successful. Gabriel has looked like a good purchase at center-back, but Martin Odegaard did not influence too many games following his loan arrival in January, and the free transfer of Willian has been a disaster. William Saliba, who was brought in for a significant fee, spent six months kicking his heels before being given a loan move for more game-time, and this side of things will definitely need to be improved in the upcoming window.
Arteta’s prospects for next season will depend on their summer recruitment, but also on whether he can figure out a clear way of thinking and playing that maximizes this squad’s abilities and puts the key players on the pitch in their best roles. The upcoming season is likely to define his Arsenal tenure, and he cannot afford another mediocre campaign.