Gunner Thoughts

We’re Just Getting Started Here

Arsenal take home some major honors, but it sparks a reminder: we’re just getting started here.

Last night Arsenal cleaned up at the London Football Awards with a big sweep across the board.

  • Goalkeeper of the Year: Aaron Rasmdale
  • Young Player of the Year: Bukayo Saka
  • Player of the Year: Martin Ødegaard
  • Manager of the Year: Mikel Arteta

To go further:

  • Nominated for Young Player of the Year: Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba
  • Nominated in the Player of the Year: Bukayo Saka
  • FA Women’s Player of the Year:
    • Sam Kerr (Winner)
    • Kim Little
    • Beth Mead

I think we can all be honest and say these London Football Awards are a bit more show than substance. Far from the most prestigious of footballing awards, but I will also be honest… I don’t give a shit.

I will cheer on and applaud any award or accolade handed to one of our beloved players or a member of this club. The fact that there was an emphatic sweeping like this shows everyone that Arsenal’s fine form is being recognized and rewarded.

But the best part of hearing the news that Arsenal won these awards — prestigious or not — was the thought that immediately popped into my brain: this is just the beginning.

No one knows what happens for Arsenal in the future, but it’s simply impossible to stop feeling like we are just dipping out toes into in the waters of potential. That this project is ahead of schedule, with a team that’s youngest in the league, and already they are competing for a title on the field and winning awards off it. That from here the awards get bigger and better — on the field and off.

I’ve said this in the past, but it bears repeating: if the club can keep players happy, buy within themselves, and continue to keep one eye on the future, as well as the present, we could be at the precipice of a decade worth of major success… at least.

At the very least, a decade worth of quality teams that compete for top honors.

The Premier League is going through major shifts. Huge injections of money, new owners, top tier managers up and down the table, and more talent than I can remember. Unless there’s a shocking change, these shifts will likely continue their momentum. And with them, comes a league far more competitive and demanding than the one of 10-15 years ago, much lest 25-30.

There may never be another time in which the same top teams rank in some variating order every season in the first six positions. Other teams are getting wiser, more organized, and now have the money to put together competitive sides. We may not get the magic of Leicester winning the title all that often, but we could certainly see teams like Brighton, Brentford, Leicester (in past years), upset the apple cart.

Top teams will always have an edge, at least as long as money continues to bring some degree of success or competitive opportunity, but it feels unlikely they can simply pay their way to guaranteed success.

This year alone we see a Liverpool side aging out of their projects and forced to make some decisions moving forward, a Chelsea side that has spent an absurd amount of money will little short term success to show for it, and the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United — albeit putting together fine to good campaigns — losing the race to Arsenal.

All this to say, projects take maintenance. And in today’s league climate, they take serious planning and diligence.

But as we see an Arsenal team collect 3 awards by players under the age of 25 — including Player of the Year going to a 21-year-old — a manager only in this third full campaign, and honorable mentions for two more 21 year olds, the foundation feels rock solid.

And that’s a comforting and exciting midweek feeling during a stressful stretch of this title-charging campaign.

What’s four London Football Awards and a clean sweep now, could fast become some major, major honors for these young footballers.

Nice and light today. Enjoy the feeling of Gabriel Jesus being back and our young core of award winning stars. Onward and upward!

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