2021/22 may be the season where everything finally clicks for Arsenal.

emilio garcia AWdCgDDedH0 unsplash scaledThe domestic cups may be run, but Mikel Arteta has got the Gunners in a commanding position to secure Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016/17; statistical analysts 538 give the North London side a 54% chance of securing 4th spot.

That’s 40% greater than the nearest competitor, Man United.

What’s more, it’s been a joyful season for Arsenal – events on and off the pitch have leaned into a greater atmosphere at the Emirates than has been experienced for years – and there’s more to come.

Beating Tottenham – again

Spurs had something of a renaissance in the late 2010s and 2020, featuring as also-rans in a handful of league title races and coming tantalisingly close to winning the Champions League (until Liverpool showed their class in a professional final).

Despite not winning a trophy, and becoming the source of many a long-running joke on the Premier League bingo card, Spurs have taken great joy in the relative disparity in success between themselves and the Gunners.

With two wins on the bounce at The Emirates, Arsenal have set the record straight, and with Spurs struggling the to-be-announced reverse fixture at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is one being met with excitement.

As The Guardian notes, beating Spurs in a season full of progress doesn’t get much better.

Ramsdale’s rise

Most Premier League fans, Gunners included, were astonished when Aaron Ramsdale was secured for £30 million. Bernd Leno seemed like the real deal already, albeit with some weaknesses, and Ramsdale had been relegated in consecutive seasons.

As iNews highlights, however, Arsenal fans have had the last laugh. With a rating of 7.0, Ramsdale is the current highest-rated goalie on WhoScored, beating the likes of Liverpool’s Alisson, Man City’s Ederson and Chelsea’s Mendy.

Leno kept Arsenal in the game single-handedly on so many occasions in previous campaigns, and Ramsdale is filling that role again – albeit with the help of a much more capable defensive setup.

Youth emerging

Arsenal has one of the most prolific youth setups in the country and it has always turned out excellent players. This has taken on an entirely new dimension in 21/22, however. Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka have been two standout performers for the Gunners this year, turning in consistent performances to take the team to the next level. Even Eddie Nketiah has had the chance to contribute minutes.

What’s especially heartening is how these players, and Saka specifically, have bounced back from cup heartbreak and a torrent of abuse resulting from that. No player should have gone through those experiences, but it’s a testament to the skill and determination of Bukayo that he’s now at a whole other level.

Whatever the end of the season, though you’d have to say top 6 is a must, 21/22 will go down as a pleasurable one for Arsenal. A sense of fun and quality has returned to The Emirates – and long may it remain.

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