When Mikel Arteta took charge of Arsenal in December, there was always going to be one eye on next season.
Whilst results this campaign were important, Arteta will largely be judged on what he is able to do in his first full campaign.
His project was briefly stopped in its tracks just as it got going by the coronavirus pandemic.
But since the Premier League restart, the Gunners have demonstrated positive signs – and Arteta has answered plenty of questions.
He has made no secret of the fact he is learning about his side all the time ahead of his first ever pre-season.
Here are five questions that have been answered at Arsenal since action resumed and could shape some of Arteta’s summer decisions.
1) The answer at left-back
Arsenal splashed the cash to land Kieran Tierney for £25million last summer.
But the jury was still out after an injury-plagued season prior to the Premier League restart.
He has finally been able to showcase his talent under Mikel Arteta and proved he is the answer at left-back.
After becoming one of the Gunners’ top performers since action resumed, his future looks assured moving forwards.
“I am very impressed with him,” said Arteta this week.
“Just how he was acting and working on his rehab. Everybody loves him at the club and it is not a coincidence, he earns that every single day: the way he treats people, the way he works around the way, the energy he brings to the place.
“Then with his performances I am delighted. He has adapted really, really well. He is a player that gives you everything in every session and every game and the quality as well that he is adding.
“You help him with pleasure because of what he brings, how willing he is all the time to work, improve and give his maximum to the team.”
2) Midfield duo
Arsenal have had a host of midfield options in recent memory without much stability.
In recent weeks, however, a clear first-choice partnership has emerged in the form of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos.
Xhaka has established himself as an indispensable member of the side once again under Arteta’s system, whilst Ceballos has become increasingly influential.
Attempting to keep hold of Ceballos looks like it should become a summer priority for Arteta, who has discovered a midfield balance which works at the base of his current system.
3) Saka’s future role
Bukayo Saka made his first-team breakthrough as a make-shift left-back.
But the return of Tierney has allowed the teenager to be pushed further forward.
Saka has shown Arteta he is more than capable of impressing out on the left of the front-three or in a more central role.
“Really accurate and very precise in the final third,” Arteta said of Saka, who penned a new contract last month.
“The closer he gets to the box actually the picture is clearer for him. That’s why he’s made so many assists.
“He will score a lot of goals because he has a really good quality in terms of finishing with both feet.
“He’s learning a new position, had some difficulties but he read some situations really well and was a threat.”
4) Formation flexibility
Prior to the Premier League restart, Arteta seemed set on a 4-2-1-3 formation.
But he has since discovered some flexibility over his system, switching to five at the back.
The Gunners have found more defensive stability whilst giving more freedom to their full-backs, trusting Xhaka and Ceballos to hold the side together in midfield.
Arteta has now found greater flexibility over his side and that will allow him to answer plenty more tactical questions on a game by game basis moving forwards.
5) Guendouzi’s future
One thing looking increasingly certain is Matteo Guendouzi’s days at Arsenal being numbered.
The French midfielder again angered Arteta with his clashes with Brighton players after their late defeat.
He has not featured in the first team since with reports he has been training on his own and so far refused to apologise.
Whilst Arteta could perform a U-turn, it seems he has made up his mind as far as Guendouzi is concerned and he is unlikely to be part of his future plans.