Do you feel it too? Arsenal have now gone 7 games unbeaten in all competitions this season. 5 of those games were in the Premier League, but why am I hesitant to get carried away in excitement, let alone get hopeful of what can be expected, come May?
Arsenal's #passmap from their home win over Watford shows Xhaka as the impressive ball progressor that he is.
Torreira covered midfield a bit deeper.
Özil, Aubameyang & Ramsey operated on average in the same zone, but with lots of mobility and switching.#AFC pic.twitter.com/uEhNFkIxRA
— Between The Posts (@BetweenThePosts) September 30, 2018
The Gunners currently sit 4 points off the top of the table at 5th position, despite being riddled with injury concerns and adjustment to the new boss Unai Emery and his tactical approach issues.
More so, the Londoners have already accumulated more points and goals away from home this season, compared to the entire haul from the last season.
Yet the question remains, “why am I afraid to be excited, let alone hopeful of success this season?”
If you are someone who plays the game FIFA , whenever Arsenal are selected for the match up, there is a quote from Alan Smith which goes;
“…they(Arsenal) tend to tease but fall away when it matters.”
This is an opinion generally held about the club by fans and pundits alike.
However for the first time since 2006, I think it is safe to say the story isn’t going to be the same this time around. For starters, the Emirates outfit had forgotten how to compete courtesy of over-the-top focus on the ‘Arsenal way’, rather than winning ugly whenever necessary.
However, this season, games at Cardiff, Newcastle away and Watford would have ended differently. Either in a loss or a draw, which would have resulted in points dropped.
If you watched the game, you will know I speak the truth despite the statement being a probability. For the longest time, getting in face of the Arsenal players was all that required to disrupt their flow and increase the opponent’s chances of picking points off them, but no more.
Secondly, there is a collective effort on display every time the North Londoners take the field this season, irrespective of the competition. The shift put in by players outside the first XI and even some members of that 11, in the Europa League and Carabao Cup is proof of what I mean.
That lackadaisical attitude players used to have to competitions outside the Premier League games or Champions League is no more. Instead what is evident at the moment, is players using these competitions to prove their mettle and fight to break into the first 11, in place of someone already in there.
Bottom line, there is no “sacred cow” in the team anymore. It is a competition for slots in there. You just take a look at |Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck’s performances this season and you will understand what I mean.
There are already calls for either to replace Aaron Ramsey on the right side of the attack for better effectiveness on the flanks. It is important to state that Ramsey’s current contract status, adds a bit of salt to this reality too.
“He hates draws. If we returned to the dressing room with a draw, we knew he would not be satisfied. On the other hand, he also wanted be able to keep a 1-0 or beat a team 5-0 if possible. No matter how, Mourinho wants the result.
“The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win in a certain way. This approach is beginning to change.”
Not a fan of Jose Mourinho nor his tactical approach but something has to be said about the winning mentality, which has been missing for almost a decade and a half now at the Emirates.
Same winning mentality can be found in modern managers like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and our very own Unai Emery.
So the answer to the original question is very simple – we have been too loyal to mediocrity for the longest time and gotten burnt for reaching that far based on past glory days.
Arsenal winning 7 consecutive games? pic.twitter.com/eNrRiBwj21
— N (@NigaM10_) September 30, 2018
Finally we are in a place where we planned for the season, so failure isn’t assured anymore but only a probability. The statement “he who fails to plan, plans to fail” doesn’t apply to us anymore.
Hence I say, believe!
Support the boys with even a fraction of the loyalty and enthusiasm, that we have collectively offered in the past and watch them have a magical season.