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How Does Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal Team Fare Against Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles?

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Regardless of the outcome of the 2023/24 EPL season, it will go down as one of the most entertaining (if not the most entertaining) in the current Premier League era.

This is the first time in a very long time we will be experiencing a 3-way title race and from the looks of things, none of these sides have any intentions of letting up. The usual suspects Manchester City are aiming to win it 4 times in a row, their main rivals Liverpool want to win it, as well as the other 3 domestic trophies they are competing for, so they can sign out on a high as this is Jurgen Klopp’s last season at Anfield. 

And then there is Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

The Gunners are aiming to win the EPL title this season after having come so close last season. They could almost taste the trophy but sadly, after a series of poor results, they lost it to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side. 

To put it into proper context just how careless Arsenal was last season, they spent a total of 248 days at the top of the Premier League table (which is a record) but still did not win it.

Mikel Arteta’s side have certainly taken the momentum of last season into this current one and are certainly hoping things will fare differently this time around.

Fresh off a resounding 6-0 victory over Sheffield United, many Arsenal fans and football enthusiasts alike are confident that this is Arsenal’s season. Their performance against the Blades was beyond impressive.

Since the turn of the year, the Gunners have been on a very hot streak. The only outlier in their run of matches is the loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup. The match was actually an irony because they dominated the Reds for much of the game but didn’t convert their chances.  

A testament to how good Arsenal has been since the turn of the year and pretty much throughout this season is the fact that they are currently the side that has scored the most goals, conceded the fewest, kept the most clean sheets, and also faced the fewest shots on target.

Mikel Arteta has indeed built a thing of beauty!

Based on the Gunners’ performances over the past 2 seasons, many are now drawing comparisons between his side and Arsene Wenger’s legendary invincible team. Whether or not it is too early to compare this current team to a side that went a whole Premier League season without losing any match, you can’t help but notice some similarities in the coaching philosophies of both Mikel Arteta and the legendary Arsene Wenger.

Both teams share a clear emphasis on attractive, possession-dominant football. Arteta, like Wenger, prioritizes quick passing, movement, and positional play. This philosophy is evident in the central midfield, where Declan Rice and Jorginho replicate the controlling presence of Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira. Additionally, both managers instilled a relentless winning mentality in their squads.

A deeper dive into the two sides reveals fascinating individual battles. Declan Rice’s combative style mirrors Patrick Vieira’s influence in the center of the park, while Bukayo Saka’s directness and creativity echo the young Freddie Ljungberg. However, comparing individual players across eras is fraught with difficulty, as factors like rule changes and tactical evolution can significantly impact a player’s effectiveness.

However, key differences exist between the two sides. The Invincibles arguably boasted superior squad depth. World-class talents like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, and Dennis Bergkamp filled nearly every position, offering a level of individual brilliance not currently present in Arteta’s squad.

Also, Arteta possesses tactical flexibility that Wenger, known for his preferred 4-4-2 formation, arguably lacked. The Spaniard deploys different formations and pressing strategies, adapting to opponents and maximizing his squad’s potential. 

All things considered, the competitive landscape of the Premier League has arguably shifted. While Wenger’s era saw Arsenal face stiff competition from Manchester United and Chelsea, the modern league presents a far greater challenge. The rise of Manchester City, with their financial muscle and tactical innovation, alongside the continued dominance of Chelsea and Liverpool, makes replicating the Invincibles’ feat even more daunting.

Mikel Arteta’s project at Arsenal is definitely worthy of admiration by any football enthusiast. However, the beautiful game has ridiculously high standards. The Spaniard must be well aware of this. That being said, he needs to win major trophies in order to ensure his side is added to the history books.

No matter how brilliant your performances are, football won’t remember you or your team if you didn’t win trophies.

The lack of trophies is why Mauricio Pochettino is not considered a legendary coach in the Premier League despite all his amazing achievements with Southampton and Tottenham. In fact, he did not win anything while in charge of both of these clubs. The lack of a Premier League trophy is why an iconic midfielder like Steven Gerrard is sometimes compared to bang-average midfielders simply because they have 1 or 2 EPL titles. The lack of a trophy is why Harry Kane will most likely not be remembered as one of the greatest strikers football has ever seen.

Beating off Liverpool and Manchester City to win the Premier League would indeed set a strong precedence for the Gunners to go on and achieve great things. At this point in the season, the only trophies they can compete for are the EPL and Champions League titles. Mikel Arteta’s side might need maybe 2 or 3 years of preparation to become strong Champions League contenders being that they have been away from the competition for 6 years.

Most likely, their sole aim for this season is on the 2023/24 Premier League title and they have to see of very fierce competition to lift this trophy.

Manchester City wants to win it in order to complete a 4-peat, the first time it will ever be done should they succeed in doing so, Liverpool wants to win it in order to ensure Jurgen Klopp finishes his last season with the club on a high. Arsenal wants to win it in order to crown off the intense hard work and dedication they have put in over the past years.

We are pretty much witnessing a case of unstoppable force meets immovable object!

This title race is without a doubt one of the best we’ve seen in many years. Regardless of who wins the EPL title at the end of it all, we will certainly be guaranteed top-tier entertainment throughout this period.

This article was updated 1 month ago

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