Arsenal enter the 2020-21 season brimming with optimism as Mikel Arteta begins his first full campaign in charge after an impressive start.
Since his appointment in December, Arteta has guided the Gunners to FA Cup and Community Shield success — suggesting the fragility of old is becoming a thing of the past.
But they will need to turn the shoots of growth post-lockdown into an extended run if they are to gatecrash the top four.
How did they perform in 2019-20?
Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League with just 56 points, their lowest position and points total since 1994-95.
Unai Emery’s uninspiring tenure ended in December and Arteta (pictured above) was appointed to his first managerial role, where he has impressed so far.
The Gunners struggled for consistency throughout and still had some poor results, yet they also performed well to beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup and Liverpool in the league post-lockdown.
And it is those performances that have Arsenal fans hoping for more this time around.
Who are the new faces?
While it was a surprise to see the Gunners hand 32-year-old Willian a lucrative three-year deal following his departure from Chelsea, there is no doubting his quality and he will improve the side.
At the back, Arsenal beat Napoli and Everton to the £27million signing of Lille centre-back Gabriel, who is highly rated and will slot straight into the side.
Dani Ceballos will spend a second successive season on loan from Real Madrid, while the club have made temporary deals for Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares permanent.
What is the manager saying?
“Altogether we have been very consistent with what we are trying to achieve. We felt really supported.
“There have been a lot of changes at the club and a lot of changes in our environment but our idea and our direction isn’t going to change. We are aiming to achieve that.
“We have created some belief among the players, the staff and our fans. Now our aim is to continue to do that, keep building and getting better and better.”
What do the fans expect?
The fans expect the upward trajectory that they have seen under Arteta to continue and for those promising cup displays to be transferred to run-of-the-mill Premier League games.
They want to be competing for the top four and to stop being such a soft touch away from home.
Expectations will also depend on any further transfer business before the window closes.
When is their first game?
Arsenal head to Premier League newcomers Fulham tomorrow lunchtime. The game kicks off at 12.30pm and will be shown live on BT Sport.
Although the pair did not meet last term, Arsenal put nine goals past the Cottagers in their two league encounters in 2018-19, winning 5-1 and 4-1 respectively.