Despite a dismal start to the season, it’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan right now, as Mikel Arteta turned to youth to help the team get back on track.
There’s no denying that the 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day was a turning point for the club, and it’s given the Gunners a platform to build on moving forward. Whilst there is an optimism about what the future holds, there’s also an understanding that major work still needs to be done.
The fact that Arsenal are still 9/1 in the latest Space Casino football betting odds to finish in the top four this season perfectly illustrates how far the club have fallen. Where it was once about competing for the title, the reality is that bringing Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium would be an astonishing achievement for Arteta right now.
4 – Arsenal’s 4-0 victory against West Brom was their biggest margin of victory in a competitive away game under Mikel Arteta. Strides. pic.twitter.com/35TGoAqilU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 2, 2021
Looking further ahead though, the groundwork is being done to ensure the club can compete with the best in the country. The likes of Bernd Leno, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel, and Kieran Tierney offer hope for the medium to long-term. And, the last name on that list has the potential to be an icon in north London, which could see him leading this team with the armband.
A complaint of Arsenal in the past has been a lack of heart, desire, and determination. Whilst it has been exaggerated on occasions, there’s no denying there was an element of truth to those accusations. So, Tierney is a welcome throwback.
The £25m signing from Celtic shows the passion that supporters demand, and wearing the red shirt does seem like an honour to him. He will tackle, fight and battle for every ball, which rubs off on his teammates.
Of course, the Scotland international isn’t lacking when it comes to quality either. Defensively, he is quick, aggressive, and intelligent, whilst his driving runs from deep are a key aspect to the way Arteta wants the team to attack. Then, when he gets in the final third, Tierney’s delivery is usually always on the money. The pleasing aspect about the left-back is that he’s still only 23 – he really could go on to become the best player in the world in his position.
Yet, it’s his character that makes him the ideal man to lead a new-look Arsenal side.
It’s no secret that the fans have had a difficult relationship with some of the current leaders in the squad, and it’s important that the support see a captain they like and can relate to. Tierney fits the bill on that front.
Arsenal's Kieran Tierney is in demand according to the papers.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 10, 2021
Arteta’s work at Arsenal isn’t going to be defined by what goes on this season. In fact, it’s probably going to be two years and four more transfer windows until he has made the ruthless decisions that are needed to shape the squad in the way he wants.
Whatever happens in that time, you can be sure that Tierney will remain central to his plans, as he encapsulates what the manager wants with how he combines technical quality with a hunger to win. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Tierney lead Arsenal as they look to force their way back to the top of English football.