Analysis – Arsenal’s project is working but we can’t win the title just yet….

Our plan is working, but we won’t win the title just yet

 Before the first round of the PL, I was reading somewhere, that according to a survey done by BT Sport 22% of Arsenal fans believed we will win the league this season.

If that was correct, a few extra percent have possibly been added after our win in the first round.

Honestly, I am a bit surprised, so many actually believe we will win it, and I admit, I am not one of them.

As written in an earlier article, I think, we might possibly have a team which can be contenders in 2-3 years.

It is very early in the season and one game is not anything to form or change an opinion on, I think.

But there are some conclusions we can make.

 1) Missing out on CL football doesn’t seem to have hampered our transfer business

This was a real risk, I think.

First of all, we are again one the biggest spenders, that is a fact. We are really showing ability and ambition by investing a lot of money in the team.

It is also my opinion that we seem to have been able to attract some of the very best players available for the positions, where we had the need.

I am sure that one or two more would make it even better, but a very successful window now very much hinges on our ability not to lose one or two as well, and just as much probably hinges on our ability to cut the size of the squad by only losing players we don’t seem to need.

 2) Our strategy is 100% intactA lot of players, have been named as transfer targets. But I think, it was very predictable that we would only go for players who have a profile to fit into our youth strategy. I will be very surprised, if we were to sign any player older than 25 in the current window. I can only see it happening if we suddenly find ourselves in a situation, where we desperately need to get cover for a position hit by long term injuries or something like that.The strategy remains 100% in place, and I can only assume it is agreed and backed by all decision makers in the organization.

 3) We have the youngest squad in the league

This is of course very much a natural consequence of no 2). In the first round the average age of the players, we used, is 23.9. That is the lowest age average. The highest was Liverpool with 27.6 years. 

A cynic will say; “what does it matter? What matters is, how we do.” That is of course correct.

It is also correct that we haven’t challenged for the title for xx years. Even the year Leicester won it with only 81 points (15/16), and all the normal contenders had a really bad season, we were hardly challenging, as we were too far behind already with 7-8 games to play.

As I see it, although we also in earlier years spent a lot of money, we couldn’t keep up with the spending power of City, Chelsea and Man U. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a strategy and plan, which potentially could make up for that gap in spending power.

Liverpool had a plan, and have executed it to near perfection, and they have been able to compete.

It is this context our youth strategy is important.

 Because that is our plan to close the gap, along with our very decent spending on new players.

It is said footballers reach their peak around 27 years of age. This is of course only statistics, and behind those numbers there is a difference in what position the players have and there are of course individual differences. But the fact of the matter is, there is an age where the combination of physical ability, experience, mental hunger/ambition etc. reaches it’s peak, and then generally goes down.

With an average age of 23.9, we have several years where our players can get a lot better. In theory this could work, and I am all for the try, as I don’t see any point in continuing the past 10-12 year’s way of doing things. We were not only being left behind by those already in front of us, we were also being overtaken by the likes of Liverpool and Spurs, who used to be behind us.If we want to compete for the title, we have to try. That is real ambition, I think.

 However, there are consequences. We are all-in on the strategy, the owner, the management and the manager/coach. There is risk and responsibility for everyone involved, as they all are behind it.

Arteta has his job as long as the club/owner thinks he is the right man to execute his part of the plan. And as the owner very much seem to be all for the plan, it will actually take a lot to throw it overboard. Because it is not just about getting another manager, it is about the whole plan and strategy. It would be very difficult to see a manager with a history of only short periods at the same club, like Mourinho or Conte, suddenly being in charge of long term development.

We have chosen our plan. It sets us apart from all other top clubs at the moment, and whether you are for or against, that is the reality, and it will continue unless it goes totally haywire anytime soon.

Some say, we must achieve top 4 this year otherwise Arteta must be sacked. I don’t know, if the owner sees it that way. After all, the owners opinion really is the one that matters.

Personally, I expect us to close the gap to the eventual title winners to 15 points or less, and not because all the other “normal” title contenders blow up like in 15/16. Rather by our own improvement getting us more points and taking more points off the top teams.

Last season we lost both games to both no. 1 and 2 in the league, City and Liverpool. If we were to win 3 points from our games against them, it would alone mean a six point improvement, if indeed they finish 1 and 2 again.

I think it is a realistic goal to get closer to the top step by step. The plan can work, and it is very exciting to see, if it will.


 Best regards


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  1. Great article and solid points.
    I’m expecting a solid too four finish and winning the Europa league.
    Winning the EPL this season is a delusional target.
    Anything less than top four and the Europa league trophy would be considered as a failure IMHO

  2. We’re still not as consistent as Man City and Liverpool, so I don’t think we’ll win EPL this season. But winning EL is a big possibility, if Jesus is always fit

  3. Thank you. A well balanced piece. I would also suggest that the 22% who voted that we might win this year spoke with their hearts mostly.
    I concur with @Eddie. Top Four and one Cup – Europa or FA, would be a good season for us (an added bonus if we are higher than the noisy North London??? Rivals)

  4. Nice article! Top 4 is achievable if we are consistent baring injuries to key players. Winning the title is not feasible now. We need to get at least 2 solid players in each position in case of injuries.

    1. Injury is part of football, injury should not be an excuse. Top 4 or nothing. Ucl next season is a must, that’s the standard

  5. Yep. I am of the opinion that MA did not draw up a 1-2 year plan. We’ll win the league come 23-24 followed by being in the final of the CL in twupencce worth

  6. Even at that we have to compete with big boys on the pitch and get top 4. Conte or not, we should be able to reach uel final and qualify for ucl this season, with a good cup run. Anything else is failure.
    Arteta and the squad have set a standard last season and with what we all are seeing, it’s a more settled and balanced team we have had in over 10yrs.
    It’s the 3rd year of the process, no excuses, no leeway, it’s time to deliver

    I like MA efforts shown through All or nothing documentary, I guess that has answered lots of speculation about the manager passion and dedication

  7. A very good piece. To GAI I think after Liverpools exploits last season,playing 63 games, their consistency will drop. Several players 29 yo + & now Thiago out for several games. We can improve against City & Pool & this year am confident we will. League possibly,WC year in the middle of the season you never know which way that impact will go. Europa very confident. Also high expectations in Carabao & FA.

  8. I so much agree with all that was stated.
    But not let forget, winning trophy is part of a club pride.
    Many people won’t remember all these transformation and transition unless it deliver trophy.
    This is Arsenal where standard are to be high and there will be expectations. Especially when heavy money have been spent to rebuild.
    Most people are mainly interested in your success and not how you arrive at them.

    If am not mistaken, this management are the one that set 3 years of Ucl trophy themselves without any pressure to do so, now it has been adjusted to 5 years. If no trophy is delivered in any of those years, many will go out of patience.

    1. I agree.
      The youth project is the “tool” if you like. The goal must be to contend for the title, and eventually win it.

  9. We fortified the front line, as well as the back line. We need to fortify midfield. We have a solid starting 11, but our second string is not on the same level. We’re an injury or 2 away from repeating last season.
    We address these points and we’re good to go.IMHO…

  10. I imagine there’s a % of people who think we’ll win the league every year. There’s also a % who think we won’t win it.

    I’m expecting a solid 3rd. Had we been allowed to postpone our first 3 games when COVID-19 ravaged our squad, we’d have been there last season.

  11. Excellent and wise article! Lots of fine points and not a single word to differ about.

    I am not trying to be cheeky but what a JOY it would be to read an Anders article several times a week That would be a real highlight on this generally boring and rehashed articled site.

    The whole reason I remain on JA is to find gems like Anders and other rare but sparkling brains on very occasional writers.

  12. Very good article Anders.
    I think that the club set themselves a target that they believed was achievable…. winning the CL in three years.

    Unfortunately, covid, player’s contracts and the inexperience of both Mikel and Edu made that promise unachievable.

    What I do see now, though, is a manager who has learnt on the job, with the most important learning curve being his transfer in policy.

    We have bought some excellent players in during the summer and I would go as far as saying, the best transfer window for a very long time.

    He has also decided on the players he wanted to stay and those he didn’t – again, in my opinion, making mistakes along the way… many costly ones to the owners bank balance!!!!

    Anders, I don’t look at the age of players, but your point regarding this is a good one.
    If this group of players can stay together, we will be a force for years to come.

    Tomorrow is a really important test, both for the first eleven MA goes with and, more importantly, consistency.

    If we area are to have any chance of getting closer to the big two, we have to perform in every game as they do.
    No drop in the way we play and IF we can do that, then I see no reason why a return to the CL and cup success wouldn’t follow.

    So, as one of those fans still not 100% convinced, show me that you can fit the final piece of the jigsaw Mikel of course, but not my 100% commitment just yet.

    1. Sorry, that should have read as:
      Of course you have my 100% support, but not my 100% commitment to your ability to produce it.

    2. Thank you Ken. Seems to me our differences are small. and mostly are about belief. Beliefs can’t really be discussed, but time will tell 🙂

      1. Healthy scepticism is obviously acceptable maybe even necessary. The issue of some of us have is about balance in criticisms and expectations.
        For example, some people continue to say that unless we make the top four there has been no improvement and therefore Arteta must go.
        It is this kind of perspective that others find far too parochial.

  13. Why not just compliment the article and writer .
    Why then dig further and slag off the site .
    For someone who finds it boring you are on here quite a lot ,strange that .

    1. Because that’s what he always does Dk – unless you agree with him and then, of course, your a real supporter, a realist, a visionary and everything in between.
      He should set up his own site like Trump did and leave JA to the uneducated and unwashed dullards as he calls us!! 😂😂

        1. Call me what you like Jon, like water off a duck’s back, but remember you don’t know me Jon…. I am the essence of those supporters who’s opinions you try to crush.

          Perhaps we could meet up for a drink at the game tomorrow?… after all, Palace are playing away and you will want to give your unwavering support to our manager.

          I’ll be wearing sackcloth and sandals, will you be wearing your Palace shirt?



    2. A short while ago there was an article about Carragher’s opinion on Tavares and some readers overeacted very bad questioning why it has been posted.

      They went on to insult the site and promoting another blog. Such a disrespectful conduct from those who are not satisfied by trying to dictate what readers posts but now they want to dictate what articles should be published.

      jon fox is one of them but from what I saw that day he is not the worst of them.

      1. It’s happened a few times over the last week ,fans trying to dictate what is posted and like you said telling Pat that fans will move on in some kind of blackmail if he does not toe the line with their childish behaviour .
        The article yesterday is a classic example of this if you haven’t read it HH because the writer said he would never have faith in Arteta.

        1. They should have just emailed their grievences and suggestions but that would have denied them an opportunity to stamp their imaginary authority on everyone else.

          The worst thing is them thinking they are the cultured one when in reality they are the thing tney always fight against.

          Raising concerns about one negative article (is it really negative that is another issue) while ignoring 29 positive articles before it.

          If one or two readers are negative simply dont engage with them. There are other 50 positive ones to engage with. But instead of engaging with each other they all gang up on those two. How does that even make sense?

          If an article is negative dont read it. Read the other 29 positive ones. They dont engage on positive articles but come out like a swarm of bees when they see negative one.

  14. You seem to have omitted that his first 12 months this youth plan was non existent ,only after he failed miserably getting in experienced players did we then go down this youth road ,in theory this is his second bite at the Apple after showing he didn’t command the respect from more experienced players nor could he get the best out of them .
    It’s great that we have now changed tact but let’s not forget how much money these younger players cost ,350 million so far to assemble this squad ,top 4 is definitely a must IMO especially with this outlay and now having his 4 th season with us .
    Anything less and he should be shown the door .

        1. Exactly Ken
          Good for Alan that he only sees the best in him but a more cautioned approach is where I’m at as I’m seen little improvement in his tenure here ,only difference from his predecessors is that he’s been given massive transfer funds and backed to the hilt so in theory we should be seeing massive improvements.

          1. Mr Dk
            Looks like we will mostly agree to disagree
            You say over funded, I say we have been underfunded for 10 years
            You say plan b, I say same plan as started out
            Bottom line is he will fall on his own sword if he fails but why would we want that. He fails we fail.
            The current hierarchy appointed an inexperienced manager who is still learning his trade. These are the people who we should vent our anger at.
            These are the people who have set us back 10 years on a catch up programme and no amount of money regardless who they give it too which so happens to be MA can undo the damage they have done to our club
            The money has spent has just papered over the cracks of mismanagement
            Just be happy we stand more chance of winning more games then losing and see where it takes us

        2. Thank you Ken. Seems to me our differences are small. and mostly are about belief. Beliefs can’t really be discussed, but time will tell 🙂

    1. Perhaps his plan wasn’t non-existent so much as his handa were tied. He became manager halfway through a rotten season, and then managed us through the entirety of the pandemic.

      In any venture, it takes time to surround yourself with the right people and to convince them of your vision. Just because we saw it happening late doesn’t mean Mikel Arteta didn’t always plan to do exactly what he’s now doing.
      He needed to steer the club out of the pandemic, get rid of Mustafi, Ozil, Kolasinac, and the rest … and get the board to approve the budgets he required … AND have the right players available. For all his vision, ManC would not have sold Jesus and/or Zinchenko last summer.

      1. Good points.
        The plan for the near future was clearly laid out last summer and it is gradually taking shape. From what I can see there has always been a plan however the circumstances will always influence what you can do.
        Some fans have however clearly decided that they don’t want the manager for whatever reason.
        There are few critics that have come up with alternative viable strategies. The “strategies” suggested are usually based on the simplistic idea that getting an “elite” manager will transform Arsenal’s fortunes.

    2. @Dan Kit
      I actually agree to a large degree with your comment.
      My guess is Arteta and all others involved ( don’t forget others are part of it too), started out with a strategy based on youth backed up by a few experienced players, like Willian. And I agree it failed, and I would not have complained, if Arteta had been sacked a year ago. But looking at it now, I don’t see any reason not to back the project. You can argue it is unfair, he wasn’t sacked, but that is the reality.

        1. We can all back the project OFC but what happens if it doesn’t work out which as been my argument for the last 2 seasons as I’ve seen nothing but excuses from Arteta and very little improvement then we are back to square one .
          Loads of money spent then looking for more excuses .
          Time will tell but 5 years out of the CL is starting to show where we are as a club and not qualifying this season will be a disaster and quite frankly unforgivable in my eyes .

          Some fans think supporters like me have an Agenda (childish bullsh1t ) but in fact it’s just I see things completely different and want to see us up and playing for honours again and if I don’t believe that’s with Arteta in charge I’ll say so ,let’s be honest I haven’t been far wrong for the last 2 years as results have shown.
          I backed him when he first started something a few fans on here seem to forget when they themselves were calling for his head .
          Let’s just hope we see some good football this season and get back where we belong ,then maybe I’ll change my opinion once again .

          1. I don’t think you have an agenda Dk.
            Like a lot of posters on here, you are holding the manager to account, just as AW and UE were .
            That’s why I value your posts / opinions, simply because they are yours and yours alone.

            1. The thing is Ken as you know being a long time poster on here what my views were with Wenger and Emery and now Arteta I’ve not treated them any different if I feel they aren’t good enough they need to go no agenda just my personal view .

      1. VERY IMMATURE FOR A MAN APPROACHING 80 ! You can go on behaving like a nine year old in language instead of a man who is 78 this year, but you will never persuade me to see Arsenal matters as you do. And I am glad and relieved that is the case too.

  15. This strategy seems very similar to Pochettino at Spurs. I wouldn’t call that a failure, the club was in a much better state at the end of his time in charge than when he took over. But it did seem to reach a point where it stalled. Not every young player is going to be a superstar, not every one who makes the grade is going to stay. It’s very difficult to win the big trophies without buying in the right experience. People tend to forget that even Ferguson at United had not just an amazing group of young players but also a leader in Cantona.

    1. That is a good point you made about Poch and youth
      I think a lot is dependent then on the ability of both Arteta and him to deliver trophies, something that has largely eluded Poch

  16. If we don’t get another midfield player and striker, because suddenly the money dries up, we will be in a position where if Partey or Gabriel Jesus gets injured we will be in a weakened position. We WILL get injuries, and then we would regret not finishing signing and covering every position. We are nearly where we need to be….but it’s ‘honey on a razor’s edge’ at the moment. Finish the job Edu.

    1. Agree completely but of which a quality midfielder is the one addition if budget is the issue … We don’t have a midfield which is top 4 quality and haven’t for years … When partey is on peak performance we can hold the midfield ev n with the lightweights to support him but I only remember that happening a couple of times last season … Without that addition the window will again have been a partial success which is quite a thing to conclude after the money that has been spent …

  17. All we need this season is a trophy. EPL, EL, Carling or FA cup.. It doesn’t matter…. We just must win a trophy this season! Else it’s a failed season.

    1. Really?
      So if Mikel finishes 1st 2nd 3rd or 4th it’s a failed season?
      Try telling that to spud supporters when they start playing CL football again this season.

      1. But Ken finishing 4th must only be seen as a stepping stone, we could finish 4th this season and have less points than last season, and to me that would be stagnation or regression. Thats why points total maybe the best way to see progress 🤔 apart from the big trophies…(in our case Europa league)

        When we last finished 2nd, to me that was the most depressing top4 finish we had, simply because we should of been in a position to have won the league based on the experience of the manager the club was settled compared to others (new managers mostly) and to top it off, the real massive slap in the face was Leicester winning without a budget……..

        My point is we need at least 4th this season with an “higher points total”, so it can be seen mathematically progression. And if that continues to happen we will be champions 🤞…….

  18. I succumb to the opinions of the 22% of the Gooners who have expressed their opinions to say that Arsenal will win the EPL title this season.
    I think the plan of the next 2 – 3 seasons being planned before Arsenal can win the title will go haywire this season to leave the club as the 2022-2023 EPL season Champions. And probably becomes unbeaten again for the second time in the history of the 30 year old English Premier League. And possibly also have a record breaking 103 points EPL title win.
    This is my EPL campaign prediction for Arsenal this season. And my prediction for our dear own Arsenal Football Club to win the EPL title this season, and be unbeaten in it with record breaking 103 points title win is realizable and will be realized. But if the club chiefs concerned with the Arsenal team upgrade continue on the trajectory path of the upgrade process which they’ve been embarking upon this summer window when they do an upgrade of the first team squad with 5 new top quality additions in certain key positions in the team which needed an upgrades. But further upgrade in certain positions in the team still needs to be done this summer. So that the team will be perfectly balanced to be winning games consistently in the EPL before and even after the World Cup break.

  19. Someone said ARSENAL IS LIKE DRY HAY, QUICK TO BURN AND WHEN YOU NEED THE RADIANCE OF ITS LIGHT, IT QUENCHES……..never realiable, should we be around top 5 by January then top 4 is certain, I don’t reckon our table position first half of the season but second half …cos that’s when fatigue, injuries and internal crisis tend to rock us to the marrow.

    Sure the gaffer knows he must deliver this season….I only hope he rotates his players and instill grit in them, for now I love what am seeing in my club.

    Lastly , it’s a bit strange an article is yet to be written on the kronkes, cos so far fans have stopped grumbling, I mean we are topping the spending chart on england two seasons in a roll, NO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MONEY!!!!

    respect and gratitude need to be acknowledged

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