Arsenal title blow gives new Mikel Arteta deal greater purpose amid Champions League requirement

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal future will be impacted by the success or failure of the Premier League title race
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal future will be impacted by the success or failure of the Premier League title race -Credit:Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

I know this is probably the last thing that you'd like to be thinking about and rightfully so. Optimism should be allowed to run wild in the hope that Manchester City forget their old ways and somehow drop points in their next three games, but the sobering reality is that they will not.

Therefore, I would like to discuss ahead of that potential eventuality what that means for Arsenal. Where does it leave a club who have invested so much financially and physically in the last two seasons and yet will have emerged with no silverware?

From a player's perspective, the messaging appears very clear. Gabriel Jesus was asked this very question and his answer is entirely unsurprising for a player under Mikel Arteta's guidance.

"Please keep supporting us and believing in us, and sometimes if that doesn't work, keep supporting us! Because football is like this – sometimes you win, sometimes not, but we are working hard to make the fans happy and we're going in the right direction to fight for titles every season," Jesus said.

"It doesn't happen straight away. Last year was important but unfortunately, we didn't win. We're fighting again this year and if we don't win it this time we'll go again next season. That's the most important thing."

The aforementioned manager Arteta has said similar things in press conferences too. Speaking ahead of a must-win North London Derby which would continue their hopes of a title, he said very similar to his Brazilian striker.

READ MORE: Tottenham provide unexpected Arsenal title boost vs Manchester City as European disaster awaits

READ MORE: Arsenal title boost emerges after Manchester City goal difference reality eases fears

"I hope so but that's something that you're going to have to show every season, every game and in this league, that's extremely difficult to do," he said when asked if this squad would be challenging for years to come. "We've done it two years in a row, but we're not satisfied with that.

"We want to win it and we're going to do everything that we can to win it. If we do win it, we'll try again to win it, and if we don't, for sure, we'll try again."

This will be music to Arsenal fans' ears of course, but rightly some will be asking the question: 'when?' Nothing is guaranteed, especially for sides not named Manchester City.

The reality is that Pep Guardiola and his team go into every competition as favourites in this current state of the sport. This means that any side to have won the tournament not named Man City technically have overachieved what was expected on paper.

Last season no-one expected Arsenal to even challenge let alone push City so close, and many expected the 2022/23 campaign to be something of a one-off for the Gunners. Instead, they have established themselves at this level and with Jurgen Klopp leaving Liverpool and Guardiola’s own future uncertain they look to be best-placed for long-term potential dominance.

From a personal point of view, Arteta has earned himself the next contract. That might occur at the end of this season or during the next one but whether it be a deal through to 2027, 2028 or longer it comes with a caveat… deliver.

Whilst this might sound something of a contradiction of what I wrote earlier regarding nothing being guaranteed, what we have learned is that Mikel Arteta is a good enough coach to take Arsenal to a level where they can compete and beat the best. What we don’t know is if he is good enough to win the biggest of titles.

Therefore in the next two, three, or perhaps four years, this new deal comes with the proviso, for me at least, that a title - be it the Premier League or Champions League - needs to be won to know whether what we have now is the ceiling under the Spaniard. Or whether it takes another step up in coaching acumen and experience to take this group where it deserves to go.

For now, though, the Arteta train is very much full-steam ahead and I would like to add that at present I am confident that we do indeed have the coach to deliver us the grandest of silverware. Arsenal have moved only in one direction under Arteta: 'Always Forward', as the club saying goes. Let's see that continue even if this season's dream fails to materialise.