While Arteta has experienced difficult moments since replacing Unai Emery as Arsenal manager, his work in recent weeks has seen him cement his standing at the club
Martin Keown’s prediction for what is a realistic aim for Arsenal’s final position in the Premier League suggests that Mikel Arteta has finally emerged as Arsene Wenger ’s true successor.
Doubts over Arteta’s suitability for the job became apparent following a run of three successive defeats that the Gunners started the season with.
They were in the relegation zone without having scored a goal heading into the first international break of the new campaign, but since then have undergone a remarkable turnaround in form.
The Gunners have not tasted defeat since the 5-0 hammering at Manchester City, winning seven of their nine games since then in all competitions.
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It is an unbeaten run that has seen them rise to sixth in the Premier League table and has prompted hope that they can qualify for European football.
As if to showcase how well Arteta has done to turn things around, former Arsenal star Keown has now backtracked on a prediction he made in August.
At that time the former defender had made it clear he did not expect Arsenal to be able to finish in the Champions League qualification places.
“It’s quite difficult to break into that top four. Can Arsenal do that? There are a lot of teams in the same position as them wanting to break into it, it’s going to be tough,” he said.
“I think it’s a little too much for Arsenal this year when you look at the competition and the teams around them.”
But with Arteta having masterminded an unbeaten run that has lasted for seven league games, Keown now believes that the Gunners can in fact make a push for the top four.
“With Manchester United and Tottenham having a difficult run, that top-four place comes into view,” he told Mirror Football this week.
“I think it’s about Arsenal rebuilding the reputation as it is about anything else. There was a feeling they had a soft underbelly, but they have been able to wipe that away in just a few games.
“The top four is up for grabs. They definitely need to get back into Europe, fourth or fifth position is a really realistic goal for Arsenal this season.”
The remarkable turnaround has not only prompted hopes of a return to European competition, but has also seen Arteta emerge as the heir to legendary boss Wenger.
Unai Emery was the first man to try to replace the Frenchman, but was sacked after 18 months after the appointment proved to be a failure.
While Arteta has experienced difficult moments since taking over from the Spaniard, his work in recent weeks has seen him cement his standing at the club.
The former Gunners midfielder is no longer sitting on the hot-seat and if he is able to secure European qualification, it would go some way to making his succession as Wenger’s heir even clearer to see.
Arteta’s men host newly-promoted Watford this weekend and will be expecting to extend their unbeaten run to eight Premier League games.
If they do win comfortably, it would also help to stamp their mark in the top four race, a position Arsenal have yet to finish in since Wenger’s exit.
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