Season season Premier League is only a quarter of the way, but in North London, Arsenal has a reason to celebrate. This is because fans are aware that there is already something special in this campaign, something that was far from guaranteed:
This season, Arsenal is not a disaster.
Looking more firmly than it was in the years, Gunners ran a 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Saturday to extend the nine-stage unstoppable series in the league to August. Six points from the first place and firmly in the hunt for the top four ends. All this passes with the "no accident" test with flying colors.
"I think progress is coming with time, a long time," said Arsenal manager Unai Emery, 11 games in his Premier League career. "It's very hard to get a lot of time in football, but we need it."
Avoiding short-term humiliation seems a modest seasonal goal for Arsenal's club. The winners were until recently a real estate in the first four Premier League. They act with some of the highest revenues in world football. And they are nothing if they are not stable – Arsenal was never left out of the finest level in England.
But the past summer was perhaps the most demanding in the recent history of the club. Arsenal was in charge of replacing manager Arsene Wenger after 22 years. In the league, where the average governing position is around 18 months, Wenger's period felt as long as the Mesozoic period. His fingerprints were on every part of the club, from his style to the transfer to the building in which he played.
Arsenal was so intertwined with Wenger that the VIP entrance to the Emirates Stadium had been bronze underwear for more than a decade. Most managers must die or at least leave the building before they receive this treatment. Once he was finally removed, the club could not be sure what could happen. The conditions were perfect for the accident.
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After all, Arsenal had to watch only what happened to the Premier League's biggest rival to find out how wrong things could be. After Alex Ferguson called his time in his 26-year government in Manchester United in 2013, the club was hired by David Moyes and immediately left for free. Moyes lasted only 10 months, and United ended the season out of six.
Many Arsenal enthusiasts were afraid that Moyes-esque was a catastrophe in their future. He did not help their nerves when the club failed to extract its most popular job option and instead hired Emery. The highlight of his summary was to win the European League in Seville and take care of the wealth of Paris Saint-Germain for the title of one league. Neither did the ideal preparation for the tow of the club from Wenger's shade appear to be.
Emery started the season with the greatest possible wake: losing back to Manchester City and Chelsea. The recovery process was ugly. Except, as Arsenal's fans were hiding the worst, Arsenal stopped losing together. The winners won 11 ongoing matches in all competitions for the first time since 2007. It seems that fresh air was blowing through every corner of the club.
"Arsenal is in a very good time," said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp using the state of the art football clip.
Suddenly, the players who became acquainted with the last years again followed the defense, led by the new center of Rottweiler-Lucas Torreira. The Arsenal striker, promoted by the shooter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, is only lively and scary Chelsea and Manchester City scored more goals. There is no unique dress of Wenger's embarrassing signature anywhere near the Emirates Stadium.
david klein / Reuters
Not only are Gunners an accident, they may even be exciting.
"Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have already begun to fly and we are on their own tail," said defender Rob Holding. "So we need to continue to push points and you never know what can happen in the season."
Nevertheless, it is likely that City and Liverpool have fled Arsenal at some stage. Emery still finds his feet and Gunners are far from the finished product.
Arsenal did not play in any of his 11 Premier League matches this season, for example, a sign that Emery did not settle for the right formula for his side. But by determining things on the plane, Emery Arsenal saved eight points from lost positions this season, more than any other side. According to Opta Sports, his deputies also took part in the 10 best leagues. The Arsenal version, which in recent seasons would lag behind and go to pieces, is slowly disappearing into the past.
What is happening faster is a noticeable improvement in the relationship between Arsenal fans and their club.
Andrew Boyers / Reuters
In the final seasons of the Wenger era, the atmosphere became so toxic that the supporters protested, landed against Wenger over the stadium and eventually began to hear when they avoided the stadium. Home games last spring played before large parts of empty seats and ended with an inevitable curse.
On Saturday, the Emirates were the most loud, as it was all the season. Arsenal is still not in favor of titles, but the relief that is no longer coming back is already obvious.
"We need more, I think we need more in our work and tactically," said Emery. "But the spirit is what we want."
Write on Joshua Robinson at [email protected]