Arsenal have a lot of work to do this summer if we’re to compete for a top-four finish in the Premier League next season.

Coach of Arsenal Mikel Arteta in action during the FC European Football League quarterfinal match SK Slavia Prague vs Arsenal in Prague, Czech Republic, April 15, 2021. CTKxPhoto/OndrejxDeml CTK
Coach of Arsenal Mikel Arteta in action during the FC European Football League quarterfinal match SK Slavia Prague vs Arsenal in Prague, Czech Republic, April 15, 2021. CTKxPhoto/OndrejxDeml CTK

For the first time in over two decades, we will not be competing in European competition, as a result of finishing eighth in the Premier League this past season and being eliminated at the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.

Mikel Arteta doesn’t appear to be under too much pressure at the Emirates Stadium, having won the 2020 FA Cup within six months of taking charge of the North London club.

Here are our expectations for Arsenal in 2021-22:

Premier League

No European distraction should work in our favour next season as the manager won’t have to be rotating his squad or playing with fatigued players. Something that could be a disadvantage to the likes of Leicester City and West Ham United.

We also only have four players going to Euro 2020 – Bernd Leno, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka. The latter is part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad, who are the current 5/1 tournament favourites on wetten.com.

The Gunners could also have a couple of players going to the Copa America this summer too, if the tournament goes ahead. Gabriel, Willian and Lucas Torreira are all in contention, though the latter spent last season on loan with Atletico Madrid.

In essence, Arteta could begin his pre-season training a lot earlier than rivals like Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United – each sending double figures to the European Championships alone.

Prior to making any significant transfers, it’s hard to make a case for us finishing in the top four, but a top-six finish has to be a realistic goal for Arteta next season. Otherwise, you’d have to think his days are numbered. We are currently 6/4 to accomplish that.

The Manager

Mikel Arteta can’t afford a slow start to the 2021-22 Premier League campaign. Much was expected of him after winning the FA Cup 12 months ago but his first full campaign in charge of the Gunners proved to be a big disappointment.

Massimiliano Allegri has been out of a job for a year now and been linked to the job in North London for a while. Brendan Rodgers could be a target after his success at Leicester, particularly with the Foxes missing out on Champions League football.

Bookmakers have Allegri as 11/4 to be Arsenal’s next permanent manager, with Rodgers at 3/1.

Former fan favourite Patrick Vieira is another option, whilst Diego Simeone could decide he’s done everything he can after winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid again this season.

Therefore, the board wouldn’t be short of options if we were to relieve Arteta of his duties.

Transfers

Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos and Mat Ryan’s loan deals are officially over at the end of the month, returning to Real Madrid and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively.

The only other confirmed departure to date is David Luiz. The Brazilian had seen his contract extended by 12 months last summer. His departure could mean the highly-rated William Saliba partners Gabriel next season.

We still have a lot of work to do defensively though, with Rob Holding making 28 Premier League starts this past season, Bukayo Saka spending time at left-back and Granit Xhaka still being a regular.

In attack, the club are willing to accept offers for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer. With Willian being a disastrous signing and Nicolas Pepe inconsistent, we have a lot of work to do before August…

Previous articleArsenal in negotiations for Mat Ryan but could look elsewhere
Next articleComplete agreement edging closer: Xhaka on verge of Roma move
Arsenal. Football. Life. Writing about Arsenal since 2008.