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Football: How Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League


It’s a tradition: every opponent they meet in the Champions League is presented by Arsenal’s leaders with a miniature golden cannon, a reference to their Gunners nickname. The trinket is displayed at the entrance to the club’s museum, like a relic. Except their last appearance in Europe’s biggest competition dates back to the 2016-2017 season. “ The decline has been slow since the departure of Arsene Wenger “Peste Andrew Mangan, voice-over artist during the week, disillusioned fan at the weekend, who would almost have regretted the dark hours of the second part of the Alsatian manager’s tenure, twenty-two seasons at the helm until 2018

The succession was painful. Unai Emery gritted his teeth, despite a Europa League final in 2019. Mikel Arteta benefited from a rare indulgence at this level; and a victory in the FA Cup, a specialty of the house, after only 28 days as manager (2020). If they have to play in the 8th final of C3 in March, the players of the former PSG midfielder (2000-2002) are on their way to find the gratin of C1: at mid-season, they have a 14-point advantage over the first. not qualified, Tottenham. Which they defeated last Sunday in the north London derby (2-0), culmination of a brilliant half. When they host Manchester United (5:30 p.m., Canal+), Arsenal dominate the Premier League with a 5-point lead over Manchester City.

The general spirit of Arsenal? The fight

An abnormality? ” Aborted resurrections, there have been many since the last league title in 2004“, Matt Kandela, producer of the podcast, proceeds cautiously”Arsenal’s opinion “. Despite this, ” it’s hard not to feel the emotion“. The viewer rediscovers the virtues of speed and offensive initiative, considered essential by the purists. Throw Matt Kandela to the players he likes most this season and the whole squad passes.”Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard compete for our favors“It sums up the fans, who also cite defender Ben White as”embodiment of our general mood“. To know ? “The fight.»

We like our past, but we are very happy to have a future

Since Arteta was a player and captain under Wenger, we are tempted to bring the two technicians closer together. Matt Kandela, rather compares the young quarterback to George Graham, who had regained the title of champion in 1989 after eighteen years of frustration. If his long term (1986-1995) was known with the unflattering name of “Boring Arsenal”, the Scottish Grigou also had “he fired overpaid senior players and restored discipline“. “make no mistake,prepare the podcaster about Spanish,players love him but also fear his non-negotiable work ethic.»all or nothing, the Amazon Prime documentary series, proves it: midway through last season, Pep Guardiola’s former assistant had unhesitatingly sacked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a captain deemed disobedient. A coup that brought together the rest of the staff but also the supporters, who disagreed. of “toxic“according to the same interlocutor, the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium has since become”the best» never known

On Thursday afternoon, we caught up with Mikel Arteta at Hornsey Road, near the Emirates. Or rather, his life-size cardboard silhouette, installed in front of The Match Day shop. She is “very popularlaughs Dan Landau, owner of the place for ten years. “He doesn’t have the best players but he gets the best out of the players he has“, emphasizes the memorabilia seller, between two brushes at his premises in the glory of Arsenal. Before Arteta, it was with a Wenger in the role that fans heading to the stadium took selfies. “We love our past, but we are happy to have a future“, also formulates Dan Landau, in a hurry to see the game of the day.

Nothing has been done yet

Madness is “quite impressiveAccording to Vincent Arfeux, president of the Arsenal Supporter Club France association, created at the time of the famous Invincibles (2003-2004). Six French players then played under Wenger, including idols Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pirès. The attraction was natural. This season, only William Saliba connects North London with France. “We do not require players with a French passport to identify themselves“, he assures. This observation, the star journalist of theDailyMirrorJohn Cross shares and expands on it:Many neutral fans appreciate seeing a new name at the top of the leaderboard.»

Sustainably? John Cross cites one factorunderrated“: the participation is no longer divided but is assumed entirely by the American Stan Kroenke. So much so that the club now has”a unique vision“. Without the stubborn support of manager Josh Kroenke – the son – Arteta would not have survived a run of seven games without a win in La Liga at the end of 2020. Also, sporting director Edu Gaspar would not have had 150 million euros to spend to freshen up. the workforce next summer (Ben White, Aron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard). Transfers”ridiculously high“, some grimace, but paying. The Brazilian, whose link with Arteta is fluid, was, however, Kroenke’s plan B, who preferred Monchi (Sevilla FC). The transfer of Gabriel Jesús in the summer past established his credibility. In November, Edu was promoted to sporting director. The first in the club’s history.

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard compete for our favors

Nothing is certain, however: in recent days, Chelsea have stolen two goals from him (Mykhaïlo Mudryk, João Felix) and the alternative Leandro Trossard, exfiltrated from Brighton for around twenty million, has no reference at the highest level. The coming days will provide clues as to the durability of the flashback: after United, it is City who await the Gunners in the Cup on Friday. Nice to have”swallowed [ses] comments“But cautious, Matt Kandela believes it will still be some time before this return to the fore stops looking like it”unreal“.

Source : Le JDD



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