Arsenal: Young Gunners on track with Mikel Arteta despite missing out on Champions League spot

London – As the crowd chanted the last song of forever in north London, you have to take a moment to remind yourself that this is a season in which Arsenal have not achieved anything they didn’t expect.

In fact, it is not unreasonable to see fifth place as a failure, given the Premier League standings 10 days ago. Mikel Arteta’s side have a firm grip on the Champions League trophy. They let it slip, and none of their goals against Everton’s reserves could change that fact.

However, their season didn’t end with a whimper. There has been no sign of toxicity on social media following Monday’s loss to Newcastle, and it’s certainly a kind of floodgate for the worst of any subject. That was the race where the top four really slipped away. Instead, it is widely believed that the end of the season could have been a better start.

For the first time since Wenger’s departure, Arsenal have not ended a season with a huge existential problem looming. Their teams aren’t bloated by players’ contributions that don’t reflect their salaries. While they want to keep Bukayo Saka tethered to longer and better conditions, his future doesn’t have the loud ticking of the clock like the previous Amulet. As for the head coach, he has just signed a new contract that the club know may not end up being a top-four reward.

Instead, it was clear what cost them the Champions League, which was sealed when Eddie Nketiah scored the second of five goals from close range. With this goal, he surpassed Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, spending more than £100 million in transfer fees and six-figure weekly wages for many years, Be the top scorer in the Premier League this season. Although centre-back Gabriel has scored as many goals as any of them, five to be exact.

Tottenham are fourth by a point and have two of the league’s four highest-scoring players, Harry Kane (17) and Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min (23). They need players who can score goals. They plan to get them.

Arteta remains disheartened after the fiasco that started the week, insisting he is “trying to squeeze a lemon to every drop”. Failure to bolster the starting lineup in January while hampering their depth could ultimately leave the rookie head coach with a task beyond those with more experience.

“I know, I think we all know – you can see how the fans react to the team – you can see how we did on the pitch and what the club did 10 or 20 years ago on the pitch before. ,” Arteta said. “We know where we have to go.

“Today I was very disappointed because we had the expectations I wanted from this football club because it deserved it, but we didn’t do well enough. The guilt and not getting to that level is painful.”

Their fans won’t let them indulge in that guilt. Led by a dynamic Ashburton Army, a group of young fans at the end of the clock dedicated to creating an atmosphere that brings life to the ground, the Emirates Stadium said goodbye to the 2021/22 season in style. “We have Super Mick Arteta” was the pre-kick cry, a chorus of “Alez, Alez, Alez” rang out on the ground and Tottenham’s job at Norwich has long since changed be obvious.

The bonds built between Arsenal fans and their players are more than just results. In Sarkar, Emile Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsdale and a dozen others, supporters saw young people they could identify with. They continued to roar Saka into a hard-earned summer break long after the final whistle.

“When we know [Tottenham] The result, too, deserved everything they did for us and how they helped us go further as a club and as a team,” said the manager.

“They’ve given me a lot of reasons throughout the season and they’ve proven [their support] With the way they’ve been around, the home and away atmosphere they’ve created for these players. They can see what we are doing, what the players want to do, how they represent the club, the values ​​on and off the field, who we are as a team.

“Then we have the level we have, but it’s not enough. We have to make a clear assessment of that and how we can take the club to the next level. If we want to do it, we know what we have to do. “

Of course, they actually have to. The right striker, a top midfielder paired with a fully fit Thomas Partey, could be like a silver bullet, giving them the ability to stay in the top four. The extensive and largely successful overhaul of Arteta’s squad last summer shows that the manager, technical director Edu and their scouting department can make the right decisions. But you have to actually do it.

Still, Arsenal at least know what they need to do to improve a team that finished the season with 69 points, enough to finish fourth in the previous two seasons and just one point shy of Spurs. It’s been no small improvement over the past few years.

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