Arsenal revamp captures hype about club finally feeling alive again | Arsenal

IIn an exhibition space half an hour’s walk from the Emirates, figures from Arsenal’s past and present are given a glimpse into the new face of the club. The exterior of their home will soon be decorated with eight new pieces of art created in collaboration with supporters, replacing portraits that have greeted visitors for more than a decade, and miniature versions of the installations are on display.

Everyone might fancy themselves an art critic but there have been tons of appreciations as Charlie George, Kenny Sansom, George Graham, Bob Wilson, David Seaman, Ian Wright, Jack Wilshere, Vic Akers, Anita Assante and Rachel Yankee each leave a legacy.

Some of those who make the modern machine also attended. Arriving early, Martin Ødegaard can be seen working the room: it was not a five-minute commitment to Premier League Captain of the Commanders, who was generous and honest with his time. There were fans in the room and no one felt left out. The simple but not uncommon observation was that some of Arsenal’s new captains simply wouldn’t have made the effort.

Ødegaard’s ease was felt and the occasion itself symbolic. Arsenal retreated into their shell as their luster on their early 2000s achievements faded, and despite their success in promoting the brand internationally, the message elements felt powerful. They weren’t showing enough close to home in the meantime, but that’s changed. Whilst a transformation needs to be supported with continued success, Arsenal are feeling fresher, fitter, more outwardly at ease with their identity than at any time in the past decade and a half.

This applies on and off the field. Arsenal visit Tottenham on Sunday and while they are yet to win at their rivals’ new home ground, only one team really knows who they are. It was amazing to hear Mikel Arteta He asked how he expected Spurs to set up and admitted he wasn’t sure. “Sometimes they approach games in different ways. Sometimes they are very aggressive from the start and sometimes they let you make the game.”

The element of surprise can be helpful, and it may be. But the point is, everyone knows what Arsenal will achieve. The play patterns are clear. So is the fact that they will start off like a train. Increasingly allied with those things is the sense that they will find a way through them. eight months ago, Arsenal lost this match 3-0 They were left feeling sorry for themselves and the officials. What is the difference now? “We won more matches,” said Arteta. “This is the thing that changes everything and I think we are playing better.”

A piece of the new Emirati artwork featuring former players next to a cannon.
The unveiling of miniature versions of the new artwork has served as a symbol of Arsenal’s growing sense of identity. Photography: Arsenal

think right. Arsenal are elegant, dominant, and increasingly shrewd and do no harm to their image that no Premier League side is younger. Only bottom-placed Southampton with an average age of 24.3 to Arsenal’s 24.1 come particularly close. Odegaard, the designated leader on the pitch, turned 24 in December. It’s an aspect that can speak to youngsters: whether it’s the cultured, amiable Odegaard speaking, whether the conversation is playing out through the five-a-sides in London thanks to an academy product like Bukayo Saka, or whether it’s young Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli carving out hopes more than a mile away. 5,000 miles.

Obtaining this freshness was among the reasons for Arsenal’s renewal of the Emirates, which will start this month. The previous mural, which no fan could miss, depicted 32 former players locked in a crowd around the venue. She seemed protective, close, reeked of togetherness, and every character with her back turned to the outside world. But the Earth no longer feels so calm, reflexive and isolated: since the end of the Covid-19 lockdowns, it has felt loud and boisterous, often genuinely hostile to opponents, driven in part by a young element called the Ashburton Army swarming in black behind the clock. Where there were once protests over the club’s role in the Premier League gang, Arsenal made positive noise.

This should have been the case for Spurs when they finally played in their new home in April 2019. It would be an overstatement to say that Spurs have failed to compare since that move: they are the Champions League while Arsenal are not, perfectly capable of winning. Derby again.

Their fans do not have much trouble generating their own size. There has not been an away win in a league match between these clubs since Arsenal’s win at the old White Hart Lane ground nine years ago. “The atmosphere has an effect and it affects the game in a way,” Arteta is saddened by this curiosity. “I’ve been going through quite a few of them, trying to understand why this is happening, in the last few days. It’s hard to come to some conclusions but the atmosphere matters.”

But the feeling is that Spurs, with the third oldest group of players in the top flight and no clear plan to succeed Harry Kane and Son Heung-min who have done so much to gain supremacy in north London, lack a clear Arsenal identity. Just as the Emirates felt as tired as the overburdened team when they were juxtaposed with the shiny new stadium along the Seven Sisters Road, there is a timing to the fact that Arsenal are cultivating their own environment in this fine spot of upswing.

Arsenal captain, Martin Odegaard, in the gallery.
Arsenal captain, Martin Odegaard, in the gallery. Photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal/Getty Images

There is no sign of Ødegaard or anyone else in Arsenal’s current side on the new artwork. A strong case has been made for Saka’s involvement, for example, but there is absolutely no guarantee how the active player will be viewed in the future. A lot can go wrong. A lot will be planned for now and the challenge for this vintage is to secure its place on the next layer of leather.

“The players are in a good emotional state,” Arteta said. And it felt that way watching Odegaard exchange stories with those who walked before him and pondering the thoughts of the fans who were used to seeing him play in the palm of his hand.

Breaking the winning streak at home on Sunday would be further evidence that the picture for Arsenal has completely changed.

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