Football – Premier League: What if it was (finally) Arsenal’s Gunners season?

It is not on the strength of a ‘true’ documentary about Arsenal’s 2021-22 season that we venture to make predictions about what lies ahead for the Gunners in 2022-23. The first three chapters of All or Nothing (‘Tout au rien’), the series that Amazon premiered on the eve of the Premier League curtain raiser, are not without lessons, however.

. And the first of these lessons, despite how staged and artificial the exercise may be, is that Mikel Arteta, after a few faltering first steps, learned to walk, and when he does, his players the they follow . Most of them anyway.

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No, Arsenal will not be champions. The bookmakers who price them at 40-1 for the title can rest easy – they are more than unlikely to be forced to reward the optimism of some supporters. Manchester City and Liverpool have distanced themselves from the rest of the squad for a few seasons now, and if one stumbles, you can bet it will benefit the other. But behind, who knows?

Can Arsenal make the Top 4?

Chelsea, whose management has been reduced since the forced departures of Petr Cech and Marina Granovskaya, lost Lukaku, Christiansen and Rüdiger, but gained Sterling, Koulibaly, Cucurella (it seems) and the very promising Carney Chukwuemeka, despite knowing how to keep his captain. César Azpilicueta, who has just signed a new two-year contract. A more than reasonable balance sheet for a club that knows how to find itself in a transition phase, and whose coach Thomas Tuchel will enjoy a freedom of maneuver that many of his teammates must envy.

We expect a lot from Tottenham, and rightly so. Antonio Conte and his sporting director Fabio Paratici have hit hard this transfer window, with the arrivals of Ivan Perisic, Richarlison, Yves Bissouma and coveted right-back Middlesbrough and England Under-21 Djed Spence. Without forgetting the renewed loans of Cristian Romero and Dejan Kusulevski and the new one of Clément Lenglet. Given the quality of recruitment and the coaching staff there, finishing outside the Top 4 would be a real failure for Spurs.

Thomas Tuchel

Credit: Getty Images

No more is known about Ten Hag’s Manchester United than is known about the Red Devils before the start of every season since Sir Alex left. In other words: almost nothing. Lisandro Martínez will do well for an often shaky central defense last season, just as Christian Eriksen will bring his creativity to a midfield that at times seemed unaware of the word’s existence, although we can’t take the job of load that the Dane will be able to. to take on his first real season since his heart attack at Euro 2020. For the rest, as long as United continue to chase Frenkie de Jong and finally Cristiano Ronaldo returned without leaving, because no one wanted him, we will wait. Maybe Ten Hag will manage to set up his Ajax 2.0 at Old Trafford. But maybe not.

Arteta, the man who could change everything

All this does not seem to leave much room – or hope – for Arsenal. Because we had no more when last year, they found themselves dead last in the Championship with zero points after three games, and that many fans claimed the skin of the coach who had brought them the FA Cup in 2020 And here it is where the Amazon documentary makes us think, despite all the reservations we have to have because, at the end of the day, it remains a public relations exercise for the club, a pastry for fans-consumers.

Of course, what we see is what Arsenal want us to see. Obviously it would be enough to make a much more revealing documentary of the personalities present if we use the cuts from the editing room. Obviously this pseudo-verism is woven of lies (because omissions can be). But it is also permeated with truth(s), singular and plural.

Mikel Arteta is almost painful to watch, sometimes, so much we feel that he is doing violence to himself to reach others, so much the intensity of his convictions seems an obstacle to share with players whose father he could be, so only he is 39 years old. That’s how young they are. That is, how different it is from them. “This guy is a monster,” says Granit Xhaka, before adding that this word should be taken positively. certainly

Mikel Arteta, coach of Arsenal

Credit: Getty Images

And then, over defeats and victories, the man begins to prevail over the monster. Edu, Arsenal’s sporting director, says he is delighted to see what he believes is a “superior tactician” approaching his players. Arteta, in his eagerness to share, is sometimes rough, often naive, too, but in a touching way. He is lucky to have a tolerant home crowd – the youngest group of players at a Premier League club, the two most prominent of whom trained at Arsenal, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe. And grow with them.

He has inspired moments, such as when before the first North London Derby of the season, played at the Emirates, he entrusted the pre-match chat to club photographer Stuart McFarlane. McFarlane, tattooed in red and white, a Gunners employee of more than thirty years, a supporter for much longer, splits a speech in which the fuckers are marked like so many commas in a love poem, declaimed on the edge of tears Arsenal won 3-1 that day.

It also has borrowed moments, where we perceive what it hides, badly, of fragility in its obsession. They are numerous. They also make it endearing and, oddly enough, believable.

An almost perfect summer

The talent is there. No one knows how far new captain Martin Ødegaard can go. For Bukayo Saka, we suspect so. For Gabriel Martinelli, we dare not say it. William Saliba finally returned to the club that never stopped lending him. Gabriel Jesús could be the club’s most important transfer since Arteta took over as coach. The preseason could not have gone better. Apart from the defeat conceded by a B, or even C, version of the Gunners in a friendly against Brentford at the Colney training ground, Arsenal swept everything in their path, including Chelsea ( 4-0) and Sevilla (6). – 0).

Gabriel Jesús at Arsenal

Credit: Getty Images

Roy Keane was able to say that Arsenal’s inconsistency cost them a fourth-place finish in the Premier League last season and that because of that he still found them too “soft” to challenge for a Top 4 place when he also they will have to do it. this time he plays in the Europa League. The same side that lost to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton in the space of three nightmare matches in April found a way to beat Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham and Leeds in the next four games. Before collapsing against Tottenham and Newcastle, that’s right.

He could be the joker of the Gunners – nobody is too sure what they are capable of. In a championship more respectful of established hierarchies than we want to say, they are part of the unpredictable, the surprise we expect (there will be) without knowing where it will come from. It is his youth who wants it, which is also the youth of his manager, the youngest of his profession in the Premier League. Arteta believes in it, like his players, and even like those fans who wanted to get rid of him a year ago. Neither is necessarily wrong.

Amazon had already dedicated similar documents to Manchester City (2018), Tottenham (2020) and Juventus (2021), as well as several NFL franchises.

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