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Why the 2021-22 season was a huge success for Arsenal
Mar 16, 2022, 3:36:00 AM

Why the 2021-22 season was a huge success for Arsenal

As one of the biggest football clubs in the world, Premier League team Arsenal always has a passionate fan base that will support them no matter what. The past few seasons were testy for the club but the 2021-22 Premier League season was a positive sign for the future.

In terms of legacy, there are only a few English clubs that come close to Arsenal’s track record. The only contenders have to be their fellow clubs in the top six as well as Everton. Arsenal has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when they were still known as Dial Square Football Club aptly named after a workshop at the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex. The club was switched over to Royal Arsenal afterwards and it was simplified to Arsenal. 

In the 1900s, Arsenal managed to have the best average league position in the English top-flight. After decades of consistent performance in the league, Arsenal FC became the most dominant club in England buoyed by the Invincibles season in 2003-04 where they were unbeatable until the final.

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Arsenal has surpassed expectations in the 2021-22 season

Former manager Arsene Wenger was synonymous with Arsenal’s success from the mid-1990s until his retirement in 2018. They were a consistent top-four team back then which was the status quo for Arsenal. However, when Wenger left, they struggled because it was a cultural change for the club. Unai Emery was tapped to replace Wenger but it didn’t pan out which led to the hiring of a former Wenger player, Mikel Arteta, in 2019.

Ever since Mikel took over, the club has been moving in an upward direction. He focused on equal opportunities for his squad which has led to a younger team. In fact, Arsenal had the youngest starting XI in the Premier League in the 2021-22 season but they have managed to keep up with the best teams in the English top-flight. Mikel revamped the team and turned it into a well-oiled machine.

While Mikel deserves a large chunk of the credit, the players have surpassed expectations in the 2021-22 season. For the Arsenal FC standings, they finished ninth in the 2020-21 season which soured people’s perspective on the North London squad.

It turned out to be a mere bump in the road because Arsenal managed to recover and compete for a top-four spot. It also helped that Arsenal is laser-focused on competing in the Prem because they had a ninth-place finish the previous season which led to no competitions outside of the league and domestic cups.

Arsenal is developing their young players well

The youth movement was big for Arsenal as they had a fair share of fresh faces in the squad. Mikel and his backroom staff did a marvellous job in giving the young players the confidence and experience they needed to thrive in the best domestic league in the world. 

This is important for Arsenal sponsors because they can expect a good core for the long-term future. Here are some of the players who have thrived under Mikel’s system. 

Bukayo Saka

As one of the building blocks of Arsenal’s future, Bukayo Saka has a large load of responsibility. Thankfully, Arsenal partners saw a star player from their academy that can headline their future with Saka. He is typically deployed as a winger but he has many strengths as he can play multiple positions. His secondary role is usually a wing-back but he can also play as a bombing forward and a midfielder when needed. Having that kind of switchblade ability is crucial to a team’s success because he can be plugged into any hole they have.

In the 2021-22 season, Saka was fantastic as he has scored goals and dished out assists as well. He also did great in other areas like controlling the pace and tracking back that are not seen in the stats sheet which is further proof that he’s such a crucial player to the squad’s present and long-term future.

Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe is the type of player who can carry a team on his back when needed as he can take over from the attacking midfield role. This has been a role they have lacked ever since Mesut Özil was in his prime in North London. 

ESR was stellar because not only has he been a reliable goal-scorer for the team but he is also a creator for his teammates. That kind of production is what you expect from a star player in his prime but in the 2021-22 season, ESR has only been in his early 20s. 

He was a focal point in Mikel’s system which proves that he is a talented player but also that the head coach believes in him even if he’s still a youngster. This has been friendly to Arsenal’s betting odds because when ESR plays, the chances of winning go way up.

Martin Ødegaard

Glimpses of brilliance have been throughout Arsenal’s lineup this season and one of the biggest ones has to be when Martin Ødegaard has the ball under his feet. He always found a way to magically turn an offensive possession into a scoring chance for his teammates. He has been a general with how he commands the game.

Odegaar was also considered for the captaincy because Martin has found a way to lead the team even at a young spot at only 23 years of age. He was seen as a wonderkid when he was playing for Madrid but Martin finally found a home in North London as he’s seen as a star moving forward.

Gabriel Magalhães

Tough defenders are hard to come by these days but Arsenal FC partners managed to find a diamond in the rough with Gabriel Magalhães. Before he joined Arsenal, he was a rarely-used player for Lille. He joined Arsenal in 2020 and he has been stellar since his playstyle suited the club.

Gabriel played with physicality and he did all of the defensive tasks like taking on the forwards head-on and keeping up with their flashy dribble moves. He is a glue guy as he knows how to help this team thrive on the defensive end.

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Arsenal FC made some smart signings

Many football fans scoffed at the idea of Arsenal’s signings in the 2021 summer transfer window citing that they paid too much for their new players. However, they turned out to be solid performers for the squad and they fit in Mikel's system. They became favourites among people who partake in Arsenal betting. Here are some of the players who have stood out from the late-2021 window.

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Before the 2021-22 season started, Arsenal needed a right-back to replace the departing Héctor Bellerín. They found one in the transfer window with Takehiro Tomiyasu. Premier League fans rarely watch other leagues which is why they weren’t aware that Tomiyasu was solid for Bologna for two seasons.

He is also a known Japanese international as he can be deployed in both the centre-back and right-back roles. That is a huge advantage for the club because it provided them the versatility to switch it up when needed just like with Saka. At only 23, Tomiyasu will be a building block moving forward since he just signed a four-year deal before the season.

Ben White

A £50 million transfer will always catch everyone’s attention but people were left scratching their heads with Ben White’s move from Brighton to Arsenal. However, White immediately proved that he was worth the money as he has been a stellar addition to the squad and a terrific partner for Gabriel on defence. 

He is a rock-solid CB who has quick feet that can keep up with most forwards. That is the key to success for most defenders and White has done a stellar job keeping his fundamentals and using them for the best of the squad.

Albert Sambi Lokonga

The midfield has long been an issue at Arsenal. They made a lowkey signing when they scooped Albert Sambi Lokonga up from Belgian side Anderlecht. Just like his lowkey signing, Lokonga was a lowkey awesome player for Arsenal as he has been a stable presence in the midfield.

He is still young but his mature decision-making is huge moving forward. Thankfully, Lokonga will be with the team for a long time since he has a three-year contract with an option to extend for an additional year. This leaves more room for improvement even if he’s at a good level already.

Aaron Ramsdale

The goalkeeper role is one of the most difficult roles in football but there are a few players who can be considered elite. Aaron Ramsdale was struggling in mediocre teams before he joined Arsenal as he was playing for clubs like Bournemouth, Chesterfield, and Sheffield United. While those teams were in the Prem, the defence in front of him was problematic which led to him conceding too many goals. 

With Arsenal’s revamped backline, Ramsdale had a competent defence in front of him. He has proved himself as a strong shot-stopper for Arsenal and it looks like he will be a consistent GK moving forward for both his club and country.

These four players proved that judging transfers should be made after they play because all of them have been resounding successes. This was a good sign for Arsenal FC sponsors because the club has proven they can do solid business when they’re supported.

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Mikel’s tactics have worked out

Mikel has faced some obstacles during his stint with Arsenal. This included making hard decisions when it comes to his squad. A notable one comes with now-former star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who struggled to find the net in his last two seasons with the club. This led to Mikel revamping his system around other players which is a good move for him as the club is competing hard every game.

The head coach’s tactics were mostly focused on movement and communication. This is crucial for the team’s future because cementing this kind of culture sets a precedent for the future. People who like to make Arsenal FC Bitcoin bets on betting platforms have been rewarded for their trust in the team with Mikel’s focus on creating long-term success.

In his past stint as an assistant coach, he was credited for a huge chunk of Man City’s success in Pep Guardiola’s first few years with the club. Since he became Arsenal’s head coach, Mikel has done well with his tactics as he has learned to adapt and motivate his players to become the best players they can be. 

They came back from the depths earlier in the season

Recovering from the dismal 2020-21 season wasn't easy for Arsenal. In the first three matches of the 2021-22 season, they lost against Brentford, Chelsea, and Manchester City.

They were in the trenches early on but two of those three losses were against title contenders. After those losses, Arsenal managed to come back and turned themselves into a top-four challenger. That wass a huge development for the club because they have proven they can overcome adversity. 

A horrid start will cripple most teams’ chances of improving but Mikel and his team found a way to becoming a top-tier squad. Poise is a factor that people overlook but coaches need to cement that in a team’s culture. Arsenal definitely has that with Mikel as the squad never folded under the pressure of big losses. 

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The future is bright for Arsenal

While some people will look at the 2021-22 season from the wrong perspective, fans should see that Arsenal has a bright future as they continue to develop players. Mikel’s way of encouraging young players has been awesome and you can see it working in their performances. 

They managed to overcome the defeats early in the season. They were immediately branded as a failed club at a time when people didn’t look at the context behind those losses. Mikel got the brunt of the criticism but he kept quiet and led his team without batting an eye. He managed to lead them back to the upper echelon of the Premier League which is not an easy feat after being down early in the season.

The club has been run well and that stretches from the football performance and behind the scenes with relationships like the Arsenal FC Sportsbet partnership. It is fair to say that Arsenal is on their way up to compete with the likes of Man City and Chelsea at the top of the Prem and UCL again. 

You can expect Arsenal to be a fixture in the markets in the future because the club has succeeded in signing players and building a squad that can help them get a shot at the title. It is undeniable considering they have the likes of Saka, ESR, and Ødegaard leading the charge for them on offence and Gabriel, White, and Ramsdale holding it down on defence.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: Alamy