3. That extra 1% in every department
From the arrival of Win to our set-piece ingenuity, Mikel Arteta has always gone above and beyond to swing the fine margins in Arsenal’s favour, and that 1% could make all the difference next May.
His dog purchase, while bearing an obvious novelty factor, no doubt boosts morale at London Colney and was worth it if only on the slight chance it improves squad engagement in training. It is just one small and possibly insignificant detail, but that is only for starters…
Arteta’s influence is also felt at every set piece, as it was he who brought Nicolas Jover to Emirates Stadium in 2021. Of course, Jover should take all the credit for our astonishing set-piece potency (31% of our league goals – The Telegraph), but the boss signed “big lads” for that very purpose, and their accompanying physicality (a non-negotiable trait) has already won us valuable points this season.
The ‘small gains’ list goes on elsewhere, with David Raya loaned for marginal improvement over Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White being transformed into a right-back and Declan Rice arriving for vital leadership as much as his decent football skills.
In short, Arteta obsesses over the fine margins and has, consequently, built a team oozing with flair, commitment, physicality, depth and technical expertise – all the qualities needed to claim title glory.
Some decisions have split opinion, but these are the fogging standards and it may well lead to number 14 in a few months’ time.