Who remembers just a few short years ago, there was uproar at the fact that Arsenal were reporting full houses for every single game, when it was obvious that there were swathes of empty seats visible all over the Emirates.
The numbers were actually correct if they were based on paying fans, as most of the empty seats were left by season ticket holders that had mostly lost enthusiasm to watch the football on display. It got so bad that in a home game against Stoke in April 2018 it was estimated that a third of the seats were unoccupied, that means around 20,000 missing fans.
There was much debate in the media, and ESPN interviewed some fans, and one told them: “The simple fact is, the football is boring,” he said. “It’s not penetrating, there are no quick breaks. It’s frustrating, it’s monotonous, it’s boring.
“I’ve got two season tickets on my own. And we’ve been to six games this season. One of those was the last Europa League game (against AC Milan). And it was monotonous to the point that I’m not sure I’ll bother going this week, because it’s mundane. All I can think of is, ‘What a waste of a night.’ That’s the shame of it, there are so many other things I prefer to do now. I no longer look forward to football. When I go, I go out of duty, not because I want to. And that’s a shame, because it’s never been that way before.”
but here we are a few years later, and now it appears that the fans are returning in droves, and cheering Arteta’s team and helping to turn the Emirates into a fortress. Mikel Arteta explained this was one of his biggest aims when he arrived as coach.”If you had asked me what I wanted to do here, I would have said that I would like to make the Emirates the toughest stadium to play at in England, to create a really unique atmosphere that you feel on your skin when you go there,” he told Sky Sports.
“An atmosphere where our fans feel, ‘I can’t wait until Saturday to go and support the team’, where people are walking to the Emirates thinking, ‘I’m ready, I want to support these guys, they are really worth it, and I feel really engaged with them’.
“If we can do that, it’s going to be a big, big win.”
The players themselves have been talking about the lift the fans give them, especially last week against Wolves, and it certainly looks like there is a great atmosphere at the Emirates again.
Can the fans help push the team into a Top Four place by the end of the season?