Arsenal is a name synonymous with success, a generation of football fans have grown up seeing them in the top four of the Premier League and challenging for titles.
Arsenal is a name synonymous with success. A generation of football fans have grown up seeing them in the top four of the Premier League and challenging for titles.
Ever since the arrival of Arsene Wenger in the mid-nineties, they’ve established themselves as one of the dominant forces in the domestic game. At the turn of the century, they were regularly first or second in the Premier League, lifting the FA Cup on a consistent basis as well.
All good things must come to an end and as an article by GQ explored, Wenger eventually overstayed his welcome. He was replaced by Unai Emery – a man who has a huge task on his hands to replicate the Frenchman’s success in North London.
In Coral’s guide to the Premier League 2018/19 season, they laid out how Emery would need to build on Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign. The coup-de-grace would be a European title, something Wenger failed to deliver during his tenure.
They came close, making the all-English Europa League final but finishing as a humbled runner up, not just beaten but thrashed in a one-sided final by London rivals Chelsea. Eden Hazard pulled the strings for the Blues and highlighted exactly what Emery is missing. Quality.
30-year-old Mesut Ozil was once the assist king for Arsenal, scoring and creating with the same level of ease as Hazard showed in the Europa League final. He didn’t rise to the occasion in Baku, but Emery plans to get the best out of the German this season. And ultimately, if Arsenal want to be successful this season, they will need to get Ozil firing on all cylinders to finish in the top four.
For the third season in a row, Arsenal will be without Champions League football. They equalled Real Madrid’s record for the most consecutive seasons appearing in the elite competition, but after finishing outside the top four, they’re back in the Europa League again this season.
Emery is already in trouble at the Emirates and a poor start to this season will only exacerbate that. An article by the Daily Express suggested some fans were calling for his head after the Chelsea game and although the board won’t pull the trigger yet, he hasn’t built up the goodwill that Wenger had.
He doesn’t just need the key players in the squad to raise their performance levels; he also has to bring in a new signing or two. One key area they must strengthen is in wide areas.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is a world-class forward, but he hasn’t had adequate support since he joined the club. Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette bagged 13 in the top flight last season, but that isn’t a good return on the huge sum he cost the club.
They were reports that Arsenal were hoping to add Belgian Yannick Carrasco to their ranks, in order to address that problem, but that would only be one small step towards Emery’s goals.
Losing Aaron Ramsey is a blow as well. The Welsh playmaker didn’t have the best injury record, but the fact Juventus have taken him on a free transfer serves to underline the ability he possessed.
Unai Emery has to have the Gunners in the top four throughout autumn, as well as progressing in the Europa League. Otherwise, he could find he doesn’t even have a full season left in which to turn their fortunes around.