Alan Shearer has lauded Mikel Arteta for his transformation of Arsenal but has warned that they may not be title contenders just yet despite their impressive start to the season.
The Gunners currently sit top of the Premier League table after seven games, having won six of those and were thoroughly impressive in a 3-0 win away at Brentford on Sunday afternoon. The start marks a notable shift in mood at the club from the corresponding fixture on the opening day of last season in which Arteta’s side lost 2-0.
Shearer says that Sunday’s performance shows the hard work that the Spanish manager has done in transforming the club during his tenure, but in particular following the defeat which marked a low point for the club this time last year.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Shearer said: “Only four of the Arsenal team who started that defeat against Brentford began Sunday’s game too – Ben White, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli.
“In just over a year, Arteta has not just built a different team, he has transformed the mood of the whole club. He deserves great credit for that, because he got a lot of criticism after the way they started last season, with three straight defeats.
“This time, they have won six out of their first seven league games and go into the international break at the top of the table. They deserve it too.”
However, despite the strong words of praise towards Arteta from the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer, Shearer said that Arsenal should still have realistic expectations for the season ahead and that a title challenge may be beyond them.
He continued: “I still think Arsenal’s main target is a return to the top four for the first time since 2016, and they have not done too much wrong so far.
“Their next two league games at the start of October, at home to Spurs and Liverpool, will tell us more about whether they can sustain this strong start but, right now, their fans will be enjoying what they are seeing.”