I've been critical of Arteta in the past, but the last few weeks have shown that Arsenal is finally getting it right. The performance in the defeat to City and the draw against Liverpool show that the method is bearing fruit.
Being smashed by top teams has been the norm in recent years, so going toe-to-toe with the big boys is a clear indication of progress. Arsenal's core is young, and with a few quality summer signings, I believe they will be a difficult proposition for any team next season.
Arsenal has frequently taken the long view, even at the risk of being mocked in the short term, whether in transfer strategy, squad selection, or the choice to exclude experienced players like as Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal has backed not just its manager, but also his vision. Despite their expensive fees, the summer transfers of Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale were both completed, owing largely to Arteta's persistence. Willian, Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, and Sead Kolasinac were previously important players but were eventually pushed out.
In the summer, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are expected to join.
For the first time since his arrival, this seems like Arteta's team, despite the fact that injuries and sickness have reduced it to a skeleton.
This is the most crucial factor. Arsenal is one of the few teams in the world that has the ability to will itself into a crisis.
Indeed, an entire business has developed up around the idea of Arsenal being continuously in crisis, with an insatiable urge to constantly disassemble and rebuild.
The FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest; the temporary absences of Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pépé at the Africa Cup of Nations; the contract issue over Nketiah and Lacazette: if given a fair wind, all of these may be the ingredients for a seismic January flip-flop.
If Arsenal continues to lose games and fall behind in the league standings, which is a safe assumption given their limited resources, the desire for reinvention, revolution, and fresh faces will intensify.
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