Arsenal legend Alan Smith has said that Arsenal fans want to see their club making progress this season rather than win trophies.
The Gunners have been inconsistent during the past two years and failed to finish in the top four. Their inconsistency for the past few years was what led to Arsene Wenger stepping down as manager of the club after 22-years at the end of last season.
The last time that Arsenal won the League was during the 2003-04 season when they claimed the top-flight without having lost a single game.
Under Wenger, the Gunners were one of the most consistent top four finishers, he only failed to guide the club to a top four finish during his final two seasons at the helm. However, the final decade of his spell at the club was not the best as the club only claimed three FA Cups. They also underwent a nine year trophy-less spell. After winning the FA Cup in 2005, the Gunners would have to wait nine years before their next piece of silverware came. They claimed the FA Cup in 2014.
Wenger is a managerial genius but towards the end of his spell as manager of the club, it was quite evident that the London giants needed a fresh style of play if they want to make progress.
Unai Emery arrived at the club during the summer with an impressive reputation, having previously won the Europa League three times with Sevilla as well as the Ligue 1 title last season with PSG.
Realistically, it would be difficult for the Gunners to challenge for League honors this season. They are on a rebuilding phase. What can be a realistic aim though is to try and finish in the top four as well as launch pushes for the Cup competitions.
Smith highlighted that expecting progress and not trophies would be a realistic target for this season.
He told talkSport: “Speaking on the supporters’ behalf, what they would want to see mainly, it’s not so much finishing in the top four – although that would be very welcome.”
“It’s not so much winning a trophy – because Arsenal have won three FA Cups in recent times.”
“It’s more about turning a corner and being able to see progress.”
“Being able to see the team and the club heading in the right direction in terms of there being a bit more substance to the side, getting closer to the title challengers, being in the mix for longer and being more respected as a team.”
“At times over the last five years or so, we go up to Man City, Man United or Liverpool and it’s head in hands time, you’re looking from behind the sofa, you’re not quite sure how Arsenal are going to do.”
“You want them to be respected more.”
“For this first season, of course there is more to come after that, but for this first season I’d like Unai Emery’s Arsenal to be regarded in that way – a team that won’t roll over.”