(Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Arsenal 2022: The Gunners Are Back And Here To Stay

Safe to say that this is the first January in years that Arsenal fans have felt this optimistic about the coming year. The club and the entire fanbase seems to be rejuvenated with a fresh sense of passion and confidence. It’s all coming back. The belief. The swagger. The results. And I would bet it is here to stay for a long time.

The two biggest reasons for the turn-around this season are quite obviously the development of the club’s young players and this past summer’s transfer window. The two coupled together have formed a hard-working yet very skilled lineup that, although lacking depth, has high hopes for the second half of the season.

To start with the younger players who have flourished this season, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli all have been tremendous. At age 20 Saka has been taking on and defeating double teams from the right side almost every game. At age 21 Smith Rowe is having an otherworldly goal-scoring season for a mid-fielder already netting 8 halfway through the season. 20 year old Martinelli was held out of the squad for the first few months has come on extremely strong stringing impressive games one after another. It’s also easy to forget that Gabriel Magalhães and Kieran Tierney are both just 24 as well too, but are already elite level defenders and take Arsenal to a new level.

Switching over to this summer’s transfer market, Aaron Ramsdale’s performance is hard to ignore especially after all the disdain from the fanbase when he was originally signed. Here we are halfway through the season, and Ramsdale has a legitimate case for best goalkeeper in the EPL with his meticulous distribution and tremendous saving ability. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White have both been very solid as well, helping strengthen our back line to the elite level it needs to be in order to compete for a top 4 spot in the EPL. Tomiyasu especially, is looking a complete bargain at his 16 million euro transfer price.

Not to mention, signing 23 year old Martin Ødegaard to a permanent deal has been massive with Ødegaard being at the heart of countless Arsenal goals this season. Even the signings that were made more for depth reasons are turning out to look very promising for Mikel Arteta as Nuno Tavares, who was bought cheaply, has looked like an absolute menace to deal with on the left side using his freakish athleticism, and Albert Sambi-Lokonga has showed promise as well when given the chance in the middle of the park.

These transfers and developing youth are most definitely the largest reason for the improvement this season, however, the contribution of the veterans cannot be ignored. Alexandre Lacazette’s work rate and creativity as a forward has been top class, Granit Xhaka has often been the glue for the team in the middle of the field, and Thomas Partey, although inconsistent this season, does some things that no one else on the team really can best seen in his performance recently against Manchester City.

The team is built to win now and anything outside the top 4 should be considered disappointing. However, the youngness of the group is the reason why the fanbase is so excited. In this regard, Mikel Arteta has done a fantastic job with his eye for talent in the transfer market and his development of the younger players. With almost all of our key players under the age of 25, it seems like the age of Arsenal’s dominance has just started and I wouldn’t be surprised if they started seriously for the title as soon as next season. Come on you Gunners.

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