As all the major football leagues around the world have come to an end, Arsenal now needs to assess what went wrong last year and what went right and then work towards building a stronger squad to compete in the upcoming season.
The team needs to have some reinforcements brought in to add competition for places and to give Emery more of the options and players he prefers.
How the team recruits over the summer, how players with contract renewals coming up are treated as well as how Arsenal’s main rivals operate will dictate how the team does in the upcoming season.
The Ozil Factor
With the renewal of Ozil’s contract in 2018, there was a sense of jubilation amongst the fans who took a sigh of relief knowing that one of their star players had committed to stay. However, the last year has made everyone from the management and coach to the player himself question this decision. Ozil’s questionable relationship with Emery is a matter of concern as is the fact that he is amongst the highest paid players on the club’s roster. Ozil is constantly linked with a move away from North London but the truth is Arsenal need the German star’s creativity and ability to pick the perfect pass. Unai Emery would do well to just give Ozil the licence to just create and not place so much emphasis on his defensive duties.
A Look Back at the Season
Arsenal had an excellent home record and would have finished 3rd in the Premier League based on their home results but it was away from the Emirates that the club must improve as their road form was dismal. Nevertheless, there was still hope for Arsenal on the European stage as two British teams reached the finals of the Europa League. Looking at the Europa Leagues odds 2019, both Chelsea and Arsenal were favoured with the pundits, fans, punters and bookmakers to reach the final, making it difficult to decide who would lift the cup but ultimately Chelsea were favoured by the bookies to win it all. The final, unfortunately, was a disappointing story as Arsenal failed to perform to their best losing out 4-1, and once again missing out on entering the Champion’s League. Arsenal came close to finishing in the top 4 and with some astute signings and more time for the manager to shape the squad the way he wants, they may well finish in the top 4 in the season ahead especially when you consider the massive rebuilding going on at Man United and Chelsea’s transfer ban.
Transfer Window Analysis
The summer transfer window allows the management to assess their squad, academy and returning loan players before deciding on buying talent using the transfer budget provided by the owners. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy for Arsenal as they have failed to qualify for the Champion’s League meaning they miss out on a significant revenue stream, and might even have to look at younger players from the team’s academy to fill up some essential squad positions. On the one hand, this will bring in fresh blood, but we can’t be sure if the likes of Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock are ready for prime-time in the Premier League.
Adding another quality centre-half as well as welcoming Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding back from their serious injuries would surely bolster the defence and could make the difference between finishing in the top 4 and missing out.
In Unai Emery’s Shoes
Arsenal knew they were appointing a manager with a strong pedigree when they signed Unai Emery to be Arsene Wenger’s successor. The former PSG and Sevilla boss had shown he could deliver trophies with his Ligue 1 win and Europa League triumphs so you knew that Stan Kroenke would be patient with the Spanish coach. However, Emery still needs to be backed in the transfer market and allowed to shape the squad the way he wants if Arsenal are to get back where they belong into the Champions League. The upcoming season may well prove to be their best opportunity to return to the top 4 especially given the obvious issues at Old Trafford with the turmoil surrounding the likes of David De Gea and Paul Pogba, the lack of transfer funds available to Spurs and Chelsea’s transfer ban so how the Gunners approach recruitment this summer will be crucial. Arsenal will need to do more than the January loan signing of Denis Suarez from Barcelona who barely played a minute under Emery.