Arsenal host Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the hope of making it five wins in succession.
The Gunners go into the weekend in fourth place, in pole position to finish in one of the all-important Champions League places.
Many wouldn’t have expected Arsenal to be in the position they are currently in after being rooted to bottom of the Premier League before the first international break of the campaign.
Defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City left the Arsenal fanbase incredibly frustrated, with many calling for Mikel Arteta to be replaced with immediate effect.
But whilst there’s no doubt that the manager should be held accountable for certain decisions made, mitigating circumstances were clearly visible in all of Arsenal’s opening three games.
Arteta’s men went into the season without their entire spine, with a combination of injuries and covid-19 cases leaving the squad thin on depth.
Judgement therefore should only be made when all key players are available and it’s safe to say that in the presence of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, significant improvement has been made.
From a tactical perspective, Arteta is an advocate of positional play, which is a style of football that places heavy emphasis on sustained pressure and Gunners legend Martin Keown sees similarities to Manchester City in terms of how the Spaniard sets the team-up.
However, he says that the team must improve their game management, with some notable lapses in terms of discipline letting them down since the turn of the year.
“Under Guardiola, Arteta learned a great deal as his assistant, so it is only natural he would implement tactics similar to his old boss’s,” he said in his latest column.
“This system is by no means perfect, though. Arteta knows it needs fine-tuning and that they need better game management.”
Certainly, from the moment Arteta has been given license to sign players who fit his philosophy, his blueprint has become increasingly more apparent and he will hope to continue the process of moulding the squad into one that fully represents his identity once the upcoming transfer window opens.