Mikel Arteta recorded his 50th Premier League win as a manager as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace in Friday night’s Premier League opener and is now the second quickest Gunners boss to reach half a century of top flight victories.
Arteta has taken 98 league games to get to this point, with only Arsene Wenger able to better that – the Arsenal icon racked up 50 league wins marginally faster in 94 games.
It speaks volumes about the job Arteta has done and continues to do for Arsenal. The Spaniard was tasked with essentially ripping things up and starting again after the somewhat scattergraph tenure of predecessor Unai Emery, who had himself inherited a difficult situation from the retiring Wenger.
Wenger faced a similar scenario when he first arrived in north London in the autumn of 1996 and quickly set about revolutionising the club in more ways than simply on the pitch. Within two years, Arsenal were celebrating a Premier League and FA Cup double.
Arteta has a much tougher challenge on his hands to achieve something like that so fast given the immense quality of Manchester City and Liverpool, but his record compared to Wenger’s is a clear indicator that his squad is heading in the right direction.
It is also worth noting that since Arteta's first game in December 2019, only Pep Guardiola (70) and Jurgen Klopp (64) have actually won more than his 50 Premier League games.
As for year on year progress, Arsenal are already in better shape than they were this time last year when they lost to Brentford and went on to have their worst start to a season since the 1950s.
A year more experienced, more in tune with the manager’s philosophy and generally better prepared, Arteta’s Arsenal shows the kind of resilience against Crystal Palace that hasn’t always been there over the 10-15 years – even during the later Wenger years. That was especially so when the home side turned up the pressure in the second half and the Selhurst Park crowd got louder.
At 40, Arteta is still a young manager and there is a feeling that this project is only really just getting started.