Win is not just the name of the club’s dog, rather the only thing that matters for the north Londoners for whom success in now expected

The annual pre-season broadcast media day can be a long slog for Premier League footballers. The rights holders need their material for the new campaign and players from each club are obliged, whether they like it or not, to take part in the photoshoots and promotional video clips that will be shown on television screens across the world.

It can be tiresome work, all that talking and modelling, but in the latter stages of Arsenal’s media day this week, there was a special guest who instantly brightened the occasion. She arrived a little late but she is no diva, and she was fully prepared to pose for her own set of pictures.

Her name? Win. Her role? Club Labrador. One of the newest members of the Arsenal family joined the club earlier this year and she has quickly established herself as a key personality at the training ground. After all, as any Labrador-lover will know, the right dog can transform the atmosphere of any home.

Win was chosen by Mikel Arteta as a “representative of who we are right now”, he has said, and to develop the sense of family at London Colney. It is an interesting approach and, as another season looms for Arteta, his choice of name for their chocolate-coloured friend is indicative of the new level of expectation that surrounds the club.

“What are we here for? We are here to win, because we all love winning,” Arteta said in a recent interview with GQ, when asked about Win’s name. “It had to be Win.”

For Arteta, that is it. Winning. It is all geared towards success, and for Arsenal that now means lifting trophies. The expectations have changed at the Emirates Stadium, following last season’s surprise title challenge, and a new reality faces the club as they prepare for their Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.

Twelve months ago, the consensus was that Champions League qualification would constitute a “good campaign” for Arsenal. Not any more. Not after last season and certainly not after spending more than £200 million on strengthening the squad this summer. Another title challenge is the minimum expectation for the club’s supporters, who are dreaming of so much more than consecutive second-placed finishes.

Declan Rice

The arrival of big-money signings such as Declan Rice has lifted expectations at Arsenal Credit: Getty Images/Marc Atkins

All of which means that Arteta, especially, must now operate under a different level of external pressure. For much of his tenure there has been an acceptance within the club’s fanbase that Arsenal have been rebuilding and recalibrating, but now the genuine ambition is to win every competition they enter. The keywords used to be ‘patience’ and ‘process’. These days, they are ‘points’ and ‘performance’.

Arteta knows this better than any fan or high-powered club executive, and he has never shied away from the need to ultimately lift silverware at Arsenal. After Sunday’s victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield, he said: “That is why we are here — to win trophies for this football club.”

Saturday’s meeting with Forest represents the start of a new phase of Arteta’s career as Arsenal manager. It may sound harsh but the reality is that the Spaniard will find himself under pressure if Arsenal do not once again make a sustained push for the title. A memorable Champions League run, meanwhile, is more of an expectation than a hope.

Arteta has always made it clear that the club should never settle for anything less than winning major trophies. The difference between previous seasons and this new campaign is that most observers, in the stands and in the media, now agree with him.

Arsenal and Arteta will be hoping to win more than the Community Shield this season

Arsenal and Arteta will be hoping to win more than the Community Shield this season Credit: Getty Images/Mike Hewitt

It will be curious, in the coming months, to see the reaction of the Emirates crowd. In the early stages of last season, Arsenal and their supporters were riding an unexpected wave of delight as the team claimed victory after victory. Few fans thought Arsenal would be at the top of the table by the World Cup break, and there seemed to be a collective agreement among them to simply enjoy the journey.

By the spring, though, the title race had become real. Suddenly, Arsenal had something to lose, and that could be felt within the stands. The atmosphere was consistently positive, perhaps more so than at any other point of the Emirates era, but some of the impatient groans and irritated sighs of old began to creep back in as the trophy slipped from Arsenal’s grasp.

This year, the hunger for the title will be greater than ever. Next May will mark the 20th anniversary of the last time Arsenal won the Premier League. For a club like this, two decades without conquering English football is two decades too long. History weighs on the current squad, along with the increased expectations of the outside world. With Win helping to ease the tension off the pitch, now is the time for Arsenal to win on it.