Arsenal owners will ramp up their expectations of Mikel Arteta now after he signed a new contract with the club. The Spaniard will stay at the Emirates until 2025.
However, this season can be considered a success if the Gunners reach the top four. They currently sit in a Champions League spot – a competition they have not been in since 2017.
And the Emirates outfit have been keen to quickly tie Arteta down to a new contract to reward him for his work so far. This was also a statement to the players that they will be backing their manager.
However, the hard work starts now for the 40-year-old – who will see his roles increase over the next three years of his contract. And with a big end to the season coming up, there is plenty still to go.
And the first job the Arsenal chiefs will have for Arteta will be staying in the top four – which they remain the favourites to be. Tottenham and, to a lesser extent, Manchester United are biting at their heels.
Three crucial wins in a row over Chelsea, United and West Ham have bolstered their position but all eyes are on next week when the Gunners face Spurs. With just two points between both north London sides, that could end up proving crucial.
Making a decent run in the Champions League will also be high on the agenda as the Gunners look to reassert themselves as a European powerhouse. Arsenal have not made it past the round of 16 in the competition since 2010 – and even then they only made it to the quarter-finals.
Even making that stage would represent a huge step forwards for Arteta, though he has relatively no experience managing clubs in the Champions League. Europe will not be where the Arsenal manager will be judged the most, though.
The Premier League will ultimately be where Arteta makes his name and, while the Gunners sit fourth at the moment, to say that it has been an especially consistent season. If they can string some more results together, then there is no reason why they cannot start to look up the table – not down.
While winning the title might be shooting for the stars, Chelsea’s instability might mean that they can look to battle them for third and then they can start looking at Liverpool and Manchester City.
Doing so would also involve continuing to add to his young and hungry squad, which to Arteta’s credit he has started a fine job of last summer. The Spaniard has been tasked with helping them grow and develop, already aiding the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in the club’s academy.