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Has Arsenal improved this season?

Emirates Stadium, Arsenal FC
Image Credit: Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Arsenal exceeded everyone’s expectations by challenging Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title last season. Was it part of the process or a bottle job? Whatever opinion you have of the final outcome, it’s fair to say no one expected it.

A successful summer

It was a summer transfer window like no other. Arsenal were proactive and aggressive, sealing deals for Timber, Havertz, Raya and a club record £105M fee for Declan Rice. They also secured the futures of their most sought-after young talents which included contract extensions for Saliba and Saka. A title challenge and an unprecedented transfer window Arsenal approached the new season undoubtedly stronger and fans optimism grew.

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Arsenal have started the season well but have they improved? The brand and style of football that we became accustomed to witnessing last season hasn’t returned consistently. However they are just 2 points off the top of the Premier League and top of their respective Champions League group.

arsenal beat city

The Gunners are getting results but face criticism for their performances. Is it deliberate or have Arsenal just not hit their stride yet this season? Arsenal are now more difficult to play against which could prove to be a better platform to get results. Arsenal are more resilient and harder to break down, the game against Manchester City showed this. They restricted City to 4 shots on target, and Haaland didn’t register a single shot on target throughout the entire game.

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Sections of the Arsenal fanbase are not happy. They expect Arsenal to play teams off the park but they don’t seem to be that team right now. The only convincing win was the 4-0 thrashing of PSV on the opening night of this season’s Champions League. We are seeing more 1-0 or 2-1 results than convincing wins. The fans want a striker in January and a player to compete with Saka for the RW position. Arsenal aim to strengthen their squad in January with Toney and Neto linked with a move to the club. Arsenal do not look their potent self in attack, they might not be playing free-flowing football or scoring at will, but they are scoring goals and winning games.

Has Arsenal sacrificed the liquid football from last season in exchange for more control in games? Giving as little away as possible is more difficult to achieve when you are playing out and out attacking football. Last season Arsenal conceded too many goals which meant they missed out on the title. This season we are seeing inspired defensive performances from the likes of Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu and Rice. Has Arteta adopted the concept of goal-winning games but defences with titles?

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results are good

We all seem to be waiting for this Arsenal side to improve in terms of their style of play. Expectations are performances may improve against weaker opposition. Arsenal have played some very good sides at the start of this new season including Manchester City, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea. Arsenal remain unbeaten which is quite impressive considering the level of criticism they have received around their performances this campaign. Whatever your opinion is with regard to the way Arsenal are playing, football is a results game and results are good.


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