Be positive – Arsenal’s progress “has been massive” and “the team is building”

Arsenal defender adamant that progress has been made 

The Gunners let a place in the Champions League slip through their fingers in the past week. 

Disappointing performances first against arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur and then Newcastle United ended their hopes of playing in the illustrious competition after five years. 

However, a fifth-place finish guaranteed their spot in the Europa League, where they will certainly be one of the favorites to win the competition. 

On top of that, the 69 points that the Gunners accrued in the current campaign, is the best since Unai Emery’s first season in-charge, when they finished with 70 points in the 2018/19 campaign. 

And defender Rob Holding, who’s been at the club since 2016, highlighted that progress has certainly been made in the past few years under the helm of Mikel Arteta. 

“Yeah, I think the progress this year especially has been massive.” 

The Englishman continued, “We’ve really stepped up and the team is building. The connection with the fans has been amazing this year, with them being back in the stands from the two years of Covid.” 

“So yeah, I think we are heading in the right direction, and it’s a building block.” 

If Arsenal can significantly improve their squad in the close season, you can only wonder how better things can get. 

The target for next season should be simple: A top four finish topped by winning a first major European competition in the shape of Europa League. 

That would just be amazing! 

Yash Bisht 


Tags Rob Holding


  1. This is what everyone’s vision should be at Arsenal. From the board, couches, players. Winning EUL and making top four is not a great mountain. It can be achieved if we focus on doing it.

    1. There’s not much to be positive. Yes there are signs of progress overall. But it might be as good as Arsenal might get. In premier league making progress is not enough, we take one step forward our opponent takes 2 step forward then it’s not progress. Next year Newcastle will be much stronger who beat us comfortably, Tottenham are building their own and Manu will again invest heavily. So it going to be tougher and tougher each yr. This yr was the best chance of making top 4 but we just didn’t wanted to do that losing all the easier last few games. Now top 4 seems even distant achievement.

  2. Anyone watching the fluid attacking football played by Man City yesterday can only despair when they see our team playing sideways and backwards football. In simple terms any side must replace 5 players a year just to stand still, as players age and/or move on. Will Arsenal buy those players or will our owner concentrate on buying up more land in the U S?

    1. I have never agreed with an Arsenal fun like I do to you. Spot on, lets forget other nonsense. not until we find a coach with a greater tactical understand than pep and Jurgen we have no hope. Just like the Wenger and fergie era until Mourinho popped up.

  3. If Saka and Magalhaes are unwilling to extend their contracts, we’ll be back to square one

    1. If we received 50m offer for Gabriel, I would sell him. That would be good business and we wouldn’t need to wait for to lose him for free. I like Gabriel but he’s replaceable.

      1. His price tag should be at least 70 M, because:

        – Great left-footed CBs are rare, let alone the ones who can score several goals in a season

        – He is in his prime

        – He’d likely be an important CB for Brazil national team

        – He’s been playing in EPL for two years

      2. Sure *Dajuhi

        I mean we can go for Koulibaly ….who will be the leader of our defense.

        Paring him with Saliba and Ben

        For Saka he is irreplaceable and must be given a mouth watering deal like foden, I say 150,000 per week

    2. Liverpool sold Suarez and Coutinho on their way back to the top. Arguably their 2 best players at the time.
      We may have to do similar. That is just the way it is.

        1. Yea Gai they are replaceable if we can buy them at good price rather than let them go for free. It’s important Arteta keeps Saliba. There are good defenders that are not necessarily left footed. If Saka leaves Cody Gakpo can be considered. There are good players that can replace Saka but will not come cheap.

          1. Yea Gai they are replaceable if we can SELL THEM AT GOOD PRICE rather than let them go for free. It’s important Arteta keeps Saliba. There are good defenders that are not necessarily left footed. If Saka leaves Cody Gakpo can be considered. There are good players that can replace Saka but will not come cheap.

          2. Cody Gakpo is an LW, unless Arteta can make him play the CF role

            Raphinha would’ve been a great option to replace Saka, unfortunately his price tag won’t be reduced

            We’ve got Hutchinson and Marquinhos to replace Saka, but we might still need one more RW to push them and maybe we can loan Trincao/ Traore

      1. Exactly the example I always use….sometimes it seems crazy but in the long term it’s the right thing.

        The difference is they buy really well and strengthen the correct positions. They bought Allisson and VVD.

        I think MA would do much better if we changed Edu for someone much better and expereinced.

        1. True. Liverpool have been excellent in planning and execution.
          That is the main difference.

      2. But AndersS, Liverpool spent the money they received well. Can you depend on Arsenal to emulate that or waste it like Spurs did when they sold Bale?

  4. When a coach is building a top team to succeed he must get a great solid foundation and then grow the team from there. This foundation is based on players. When Klopp came in he got Salah, Mane and Firminho as the base. He then started to tweak the whole setup to fit these players and thus signed or brought in other players based on how he wanted to play around the trio. If any coach in building a top team doesnt get the foundation right he will keep signing and signing to replace players and push the success he wamts to achiebe further into the future. We need to be wary of the players we sign and if they are even very young they should be world class talents. This will key for next season and the future.

  5. He has managed to achieve impressive wins with a weak sqaud that he weakened himself. It shows he is capable. What he lacks is consistency.

    I think one more season with clever additions can show if he can fulfill the potential.

    It’s no use crying for his dismissal when he has just been handed a new lucrative contract. The pay rise doesn’t make any sense to me but it does to the one who pays him.

    He is paid more than Tuchel now, what a joke!

    1. And that’s why my friend I’m done watching this club.. Sometimes you have to end the relationship for your own health and benefit no matter how long it lasted.

  6. The table does not lie.
    13 points better than 2020.
    8 points better than 2021.
    69 points would have achieved 3rd place last season.
    Finished 11 points clear of fellow top 4 rival Manchester United.
    Finished 13 points clear of fellow top 4 rival Westham.
    Finished 21 points clear of Crystal Palace who’s manager Patrick Vieira many Just Arsenal fans swear is far superior to Arteta.

    1. Oh Fairfan you are listing the positive. We should look at the overall picture, both positive and what is going wrong to better know how to take the club forward. Yes Veira finished 21 points behind but did not spend 150 million on players last season. Yes we finished a few points higher than last season, but we scored less and conceded more goals than the season before. Man u was awful all season, especially after Ole left, and Emery finished with more points than Arteta dis with less time at the helm. Arteta haven’t broken the 70 points barrier with arteta in charge. Team is miles off competing with Arteta in charge and that table doesn’t lie and is a fact. I can back it up with opinion and I can back it up with facts with statistics. The media is fooling us, letting us think we are in an upward trajectory. It is a blatant lie.

      1. Kori, we were not miles off competing for CL football. IMO all teams are miles off competing with Pool and City. Our best 11 would have gotten top 3. Our squad is too thin, no doubt. We could not handle the absence of Tierney and Partey. That is our current weakness in addition to lacking a top striker.

        But you can’t deny that our win rate with our top 11 was good enough to get CL football. Look at our results with and without Thierney and Partey. Fact!

        I am not saying I am 100% sure Arteta is the man but we have to be fair and can not claim that no progress was made.

        The key will be to improve on our depth. Neves or Tielemans, top striker, better backup for our LB and RB would go a long way.

        1. @John63, well the coming season will without doubt show us where majority of the fan base is with arteta. Although season is just over the season ahead will be a mammoth one for arteta,the kroenkes, edu et al. When are we going to stop building, and start live in what we have built, so to speak. Honestly I say it time and time again, and if I put my foot in my mouth so be it, but I can’t see arsenal competing for major trophies with Arteta as manager and the kroenkes as owners who have no interest in winning trophies.

    2. fairfan, you were predicting that we would finish in the top four and those of us who raised questions with you, were dismissed as being non supportive.
      Now we know that we have NOT qualified for the CL, despite twice having it in our hands, would you concede that caution is the better part of valour?

      1. To be fair to fair fan… after our 0.3 start he said we would still get top six, and even when we were in fourth he said that it would be a bonus but he expected top six.
        That’s what I remember anyway….

  7. Massive progress?after 2.5 years and hundreds of want to see real progress just look at Conté and Howe and what they have done in just few months.the spuds are back in the CL and Newcastle bottom of the league and a solitary win when he came in,finished 11th with 15 losses just 3 more than us and they outplayed us.since the turn of the year it’s CL form.

    1. Get over it. Arteta is our manager, because the management of the club believes, that is the best for now.

      1. AndersS please don’t tell him to get over it. You see what you see and he sees what he sees.

        1. Just getting tired of the constant negativity and the constant discussion about whether Arteta should be our manager. The fact is, he is our manager. At least for now.

          1. You know what you can do from now on?just pass my comments and do not reply to them and i’ll do likewise with yours.

          2. Let’s just accept the status quo and not discuss Arsenal at all. We’re all wasting valuable oxygen and time, which could be more usefully spent elsewhere.

          3. Tired or not AndersS old boy people can state their opinion and if their opinion is that they don’t rate MA then they should on an Arsenal forum be able to do that.

            Unless the thought police have come to town?

            Just because Stan the soccerphobe who has no real ambition (in sporting achievement anyhow) chooses to reward MA for finishing 5th;) it doesn’t mean that he is the second coming..and for balance it also doesn’t mean he is the devil incarnate (that is Satan Kroenke after all;)

        2. Thanks Adiva just don’t mind him,I’m all good,he is the one who seems to struggle and in need of getting over a few things.

      2. AndersS, I think it will take a while to “get over it” – especially as MA had it in his hands twice, yet blew it.
        Your article detailing Arteta’s progress, seems to be irrelevant, considering how he blew it, wouldn’t you say?

    2. For sure we were not the most improved team in the PL but we did make progress. We also had a decent transfer window this past summer IMO. With the exception of Tavares, all our signings had positive contributions IMO. Our undoing, as has been the case for a long time, was injuries. We simply could not deal with the prolonged absence of Tierney and Partey and to a lesser extend Tomiyasu. Our squad has no depth in midfield and defense.

      In fact, I would sell Partey as good as he is. We can not plan on him being available most of the season. Same for Theirney. But we can not put that on Arteta.

    3. How long did it take Arteta to win a trophy?

      Maybe you rate the FA cup more than top 4.

  8. We missed the boat on the top 4 this season and it’s only going to get harder. The Europa League is a slog and will certainly hamper our EPL ambitions of top 4 unless there are big changes in personnel, by that I mean quality seasoned players and no more young ‘potential’. Two and a half years is long enough to develop a team to compete for, at least, the EPL top 4.

    Winning the EL is secondary to me and doesn’t carry much weight – Sevilla has 4 if them but still not regarded as a top La Liga team. It’s all a question of ambition imo!

    1. Or lack thereof!

      We couldn’t manage one game a week with the sole focus on getting into a CL spot so based on this I will refrain from booking my ticket for the Europa final at The Puksas Arena just yet!;)

  9. It will be very interesting to see what Arteta can do in the EL next season. Last 32 in his first ever try at European football. Learnt from that, then the semi-final the season after, losing to the eventual champions that year.

    Arsenal have such a pathetic history in European football, that any European trophy would be huge!

  10. There are signs of progress with young players establishing themselves and of regress with inconsistency weak attacking threats and lack of leadership the most obvious … but arteta has failed to establish a style of football beyond passing out from the back .. and which is not done confidently given our weak midfield … giving him an extension before end of season was a clear sign of lack of ambition … so I confidently predict that without a clearout and 3 top quality signings plus back ups I simply can’t see us getting in to top 4 next year … will see what summer brings .. but time for a welcome break from a frustrating season

  11. Not buying in January positive???? Spurs bought Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancu and they finished 4th. Capiste?

  12. This building BS has to stop this summer, the board and coaches should have a proper plan to take us back to the top, we have averaged and young players that could become top players, let’s add top players and complete the team building process this summer then next season we know we have a complete team. These are my expectations this summer, this is the reason I thought we decided not to make January signing. I hope am right.
    A CM and a striker £100m. Saliba and Torreira (if he wants to stay) should be retained. We now have more competition to play

  13. Steven Pinker wrote an excellent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, arguing that the world is not getting worse, it is our (moral) expectations that are increasing. We no longer tolerate racism, sexism, human subjugation etc (for the most part).

    Most fans would’ve been delighted if told we’d finish fifth, 2 points off 4th and 11 points off 6th. But the fact that we came so close raised our expectations. We feel entitled to 4th because it was in the palm of our hands. For me, this is a symbol of progress. We will never be happy as a fanbase because we are human beings who always want better.

    As long as the progress continues (8th to 5th), I will personally be content with the direction the club are taking but it is all of our responsibilities to keep raising our standards.

    1. Remember Wenger’s words? We were 4th.. 3rd and 2nd consecutively then what happened? 6th.. Getting 5th because other teams are out of form does not equal progress.. We had our chance this year to get back to CL and we bottled it.. Exactly the same way we bottled our chances to win the league when liecester did.. It won’t happen again

      1. But it has happened Rashid80 and what makes you so sure it won’t happen again?
        Finishing 8th two years in a row has shown it does happen and with Newcastle now ready to flex their buying muscles, Mikel and Edu need to show they can use the money kronkie gives them to buy the top players, not ones for the future.

    2. Next year when we will come 8th you will say this is 8th place team, Arteta overachieved last year. No matter which side of coin shows up you guys always have a way to give credit to Arteta for something. Why don’t you guys mention 8th place finish last season as down ward trend for a team who was consistently finishing in top 5 for a decade?

  14. What progress? I’m not seeing any And next season will prove that! The moment they extended Arteta’s contract before end of the seaoson I felt thatI am done with this club after 22 years of supporting it.. Clueless ownership.. Rookie technical director and a rookie manager.. The rot is from top to bottom.. Im giving myself a break from arsenal as my hypertension is getting worse. I’ll be going into this forum to read updates but I’m never watching a game again until I see edu’s and Arteta’s backs!

  15. That is precisely why we will never be a bug club again. Our players, manager, board and majority of fans think this season is a massive progress and we are rebuilding. With less games to play then direct top 4 rivals and them having a bad season if best we can finish is 5th, I don’t know what there is to be positive about. May be its the record number of losses, getting beaten by struggling team like Southampton or all the wrong historical records made by Arsenal this season. Nothing the season indicates we will win Europa league and finish in top 4. Realistically if anything we will be back to mid table and I am sure Arteta lovers will again have same excuses and same team of future lollipop to give away.

  16. it’s a real Spin Doctor’s wet dream on here today…I would have expected nothing less considering the organizational shift towards trying to control the narrative at all times…once again, that’s why the “eye test” is the most pertinent measuring stick in the evaluation process

  17. Well too bad just few people are blessed with intelligence to understand what you just posted, sean M,i’ve given up on them…..all i just do and urge all bright thinkers do is watch them moan.

  18. Well, if holding says we are heading in the right direction then who am I to argue with him!;)))

    I mean it’s not as though he single handily sabotaged our plans of CL football or anything by acting like a complete crackhead who had stumbled onto the pitch in the midst of a professional football match and then proceeded to hack at the Asian looking man who kept running near and around him!

    Our defence hasn’t progressed that’s for sure. We use to have Adams, Keown, Winterburn , Dixon and Bould. We now have holding and Tavares!

    In all seriousness is he even a defender!?;)

  19. Well, if holding says we are heading in the right direction then who am I to argue with him!;)))

    I mean it’s not as though he single handily sabotaged our plans of CL football or anything by acting like a complete crackhead who had stumbled onto the pitch in the midst of a professional football match and then proceeded to hack at the Asian looking man who kept running near and around him!

    Our defence hasn’t progressed that’s for sure. We use to have Adams, Keown, Winterburn , Dixon and Bould. We now have holding and Tavares!

    In all seriousness is he even a defender!?;)

    1. AOT
      I would have to totally disagree with you on this point
      Our defence has made great stride in defending and playing out from the back

      What we didn’t legislate for is key players getting injured and decimating the rhythm and understanding they had built up
      Whilst we all pondered about how we are going to score goals we didn’t once worry about the defence
      KT TT ,TP all missing and up untill then we had the 3rd best defence in the league
      What we do need going forward is better stand ins. We need an upgrade.
      Easier said then done I say but saying that, we do need a striker – a 20 goal a season person . The spuds had 2 prolific scorers this season and especially the 2nd half of the season
      A decent player to play along side party a good back up and not ME or xhaka
      The wish list goes on and on

      1. @AB

        Let’s agree to disagree then!;)
        Yea the defence for a while was looking pretty solid but again as soon as a someone gets Injured (all too frequently at AFC) we are I’m a lanced and vulnerable all of a sudden. Lack of depth and quality.

          1. AB my friend… just check the GA this season and you will find that it’s the worst since AW’s last season.
            As I remember, we were told it was the top priority and then…. that it had been fixed!!
            Goals Against prove that to be a false assumption – despite signing five (?) new defenders to “improve” UE’s defence.

            I do agree that we play out from the back better than UE ‘s attempt at it, but what’s the point when we still can’t defend?

  20. In life and in all human activity there have been and aways will be those who do nothing but criticise and vent their frustrations in hopeless and anguished social media rants. And, on the other hand, there are others who have always been and always will be – despite being just as aware of lifes problems – determined to tackle them head on with a positive and optimistic attitude.
    In reality, most of those who are regulars on here will have too much spare time on their hands and wish to fill it with, essentially, irrelevant comments on this site.Most are incapable and/or unwilling to write a proper thought through article or post with real thought. MANY LIMIT THEMSELVES TO A SOUND BITE, AS ANYTHING MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN THAT IS BEYOND THEM.

    MANY ARE INCAPABLE OF DEEP THOUGHT AT ALL AND ONLY REACT in headstrong manner like wild animals do ! HARDLY GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD THOUGH ,IS IT! Or Arsenals fortunes for that matter.

    And does this dismal pessimism accomplish anything? Does it make our team better? Does it make the pessimists more content with their lives? NO, NO AND NO AGAIN!
    I praise the Lord that I am not, either in life generally or in Arsenal matters, a confirmed and unchangeable pessimist.


    In short, I have something extremely valuable . TRUE PERSPECTIVE! I truly pity those without it!

  21. Jon you sound exactly like one of those pessimistic ranter. Who told you you have true perspective, the little Jon inside your head, I guess. You always praising yourself. Such an egotistical person you are. I will rant,I will post sound bites,I will believe in arsenal, I will call out whatever part of this club that I think needs calling out, even when I know 100 percent it will not make a difference. I say what I want because arsenal is the club I chose to support. Most of us Can(but won’t) let go and chose to jump on the band wagon of the latest success. In short stop being egotistical and just post about arsenal and try not demean people. That’s not the arsenal way.

    1. Kori, you are wasting your time replying jon. He is an hypocritical and egotistical man. I have never seen anyone in my life criticized and vent his frustration than him in JA. Somebody needs to play him his record when Arsene and Emery were the coach and point him to how he criticized articles and writers here. The man is plain delusional.

      1. Adiva, you beat me to it!!
        I laugh at those who criticise others for doing something that they did, on a consistent basis, for season after season.
        What Jon doesn’t realise is, supporters have long memories regarding the caustic remarks made, not only about AW and UE, but players as well.

        Take my advice and take what he says with a pinch of salt.
        Despite proclaiming he is a realist, reading his previous posts and comparing them with his current ones, proves otherwise…. in my opinion.

        1. Says the man who still maintains AW resigned and was not sacked. To think we used to be online friends; those days are long gone.

  22. Who would be disappointed if Bellerin, Saliba, Ballard, Torreira, maitland-niles, Balogun and Nelson re joined the squad next season?

    I mean 7 players joining the squad for free, seeing as we will need more players how about 4 homegrown players, 1 under 21 and 1 non-homegrown.

  23. I would agree with Holding, the previous season we played a player of his quality 39 times, this season it was only 21. That is obvious progress and probably a reason we have improved.

  24. Well we have a ‘light squad’, so we need players. How many? Being in Europe and playing Thursday, Sunday, we need an absolute minimum of four top class players. To challenge for the top three in the EPL we need quality players. Lets pray our business is done sharply and we are not funking on transfer deadline day. Experience tells us that there is a chance that the transfer window could be screwed up timing wise. Lets hope this summer we get our business done properly.

  25. If the progress has been massive, why do we need to significantly improve our squad. Fortunately it’s only Rob Holding probably being taken out of context here. In the end it’s a fine margin between those who see progress as fifth place and those who look at 13 defeats which can’t all be put down to injuries, bad luck and an anti Arsenal agenda. I am all for positivity but I see the likes of Xhaka, Elneny and Cedric hanging around, no real striker, Smith Rowe going backwards and three of our better players, Partey, Tierney and Tomyasu being unproductive crocks, as well as the not so great signings from last summer. Still keep the faith people, it’s all we have as fans or supporters.

  26. The simple fact is that there has been progress at Arsenal from the last two seasons both in terms of position and points. However a lot more still needs to be done as is always the case in any team.
    The issue of contention has been whether Arteta is the right man for the job. My assessment is those who oppose Arteta do so basing on his lack of experience but not his inability to deliver. They don’t believe that he can compete with more senior managers like Klopp, Guardiola, Tuchel and Conte. For the moment this is a fact but I believe it will change soon. There are a few issues which should be considered. Every year that passes Arteta gains a little more experience. He is learning how to stand up to big teams. This season it is only Liverpool and Man City which he has failed to beat. This will soon change if he gets better players and instills more confidence in them. Once they overcome the fear factor they will take on anybody. We wait to see but the future looks bright,

  27. You all go on about , points , win , goals and the rest but the proof is in the football we play and it hasnt been that good this year so ill say no we havent gone forward as ive seen some of the worst shows on the pitch in the last few months.
    We are young but its not anyones fault but our own and until i see some good football with a flow to it i wont be happy , win lose or draw.
    Give us some decent football.

    1. How I miss the good football we’re known for!
      We only had strings of good performances this just concluded season imo, with many of our outings being pragmatic and poor. Brighton play better football than us, forget their position.
      If we are to be playing good, I’d have so little complaints, but the football is mostly dire to me.
      I hope next season is far better.

  28. What progress are talking about over here?

    We lost 60 million without qualifying to CL, no tiltes and nothing except young players and our coach still doesn’t have a clear plan!

    How did he spend so far?
    5th is not enough for Arsenal .. not when we had it in our hands! we didn’t ask for much .. not the PL not now when Liverpool and Man C are in their best .. we only asked for the 3rd of 4th .. which he could’ve won easily without making the same mistakes!

    We lost easy 9 points .. and before we know they extended his contract .. YES am talking about MA over here!

    There is no progress when we aren’t winning anything and spending this amout of money for the 5th!

  29. What a load of rubbish. This season is a failure.

    Last season many fans were saying finishing 8th was a blessing in disguise as we could focus on finishing in the top 4 with no extra games to drain the squad. Then at the end of this season despite £150m worth of investment, they’re now saying they would have taken 6th at the start of the season and we’ve overachieved.

    The Chelsea squad that won the league in 2004/2005 had an average age of 24.9 years, ours this season was 25.2 years. Both teams had the highest net spend in Europe those seasons. So there goes the pathetic argument of us having the youngest squad in the league so this season is a success argument as well. What was the difference between our squad and that squad? Answer: Chelsea had a world-class manager who knew how to manage a squad of young players and play to their full potential and didn’t turn them into bottlers.

    We really are a deluded lot aren’t we?

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