Attack wins you games but defence wins you championships. This saying is best suited for Arsenal FC. Ever since the club signed Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in back-to-back transfer windows during the 2017-18 season much was expected from the Gunners. But the fans have been only left with disappointment since then.
What went wrong last season?
In the 2018-19 season, Arsene Wenger departed the club after 23 years giving way to the Spaniard Unai Emery. One thing was sure back then, the power-packed forwards were not enough to beat teams as the defenders were shipping in tons and tons of goals at the other end. The problem with the Arsenal defenders is that they either lose concentration or give away possession very easily.
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Injuries to Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding did no good to the already shattered defence. Shkodran Mustafi committed close to ten direct mistakes leading to goals last season.
One of the highest paid players in league, Mesut Ozil, is often heavily criticised for underperforming. The Gunners' disappointing season resulted in a third consecutive season in the Europa League.
An exciting transfer window gives hope
Even the strikers Aubameyang and Lacazette, in spite of scoring a number of goals had a very poor conversion rate last season. That was evident during the Europa League (EL) final against Chelsea and in the final few PL games.
The central midfielders are very important in Emery's system, but players like Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira, faltered after promising starts to the season. Youngster Matteo Gendouzi did show signs of improvement in his first season at the club.
Arsenal had to invest on quality recruits in order to come out of the absolute mess it was in.
Defence and midfield should have been the club's primary areas of concern after what happened the previous season. But the club signed young Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli to complete its first piece of business in the transfer window in July.
This was followed by the arrivals of Dani Ceballos and William Saliba on the same day. Ceballos joined on a season-long loan from Real Madrid and Saliba will join on a permanent deal from St. Etienne, but will head back to the Ligue 1 side for the upcoming season and return next year.
To the surprise of many the Gunners broke their club transfer record to sign Ligue 1 sensation Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
On PL deadline day, the club completed the much-awaited deal for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and also bought experienced Brazil centre-back David Luiz from London-rival Chelsea, thereby ending up as one of the most active sides in the transfer window.
What to expect from Arsenal in the upcoming season?
Ahead of its opening match against Newcastle United on Sunday, the North London side looks pretty good to challenge for Champions League places once again. A title fight might be a little far fetched but Arsenal has clearly improved from last season with its business in the transfer window.
Sead Kolasinac has Tierney to challenge him for a starting spot, Ceballos' entry will definitely push the misfiring central midfielders to perform better, Pepe will provide a new dimension to the already well-equipped attack and last but not the least Luiz, alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos, might act as a commander in Arsenal's shambolic backline as the side has been lacking a proper leader for a long time.
The club would be hoping that both Bellerin and Holding return soon from injuries in order to mount a challenge in every competition. But its primary concern would be to finish in the top four or win the Europa League in order to get back to Europe's top tier competition.
Once again, much will be expected from the senior players this time. Emery's side can do better if star players like Ozil, Aubameyang and Lacazette step up and lead from the front without committing silly mistakes but if they misfire yet again it might be curtains for the men in red and white sooner than later.
Premier League fixtures
11 - Newcastle United vs Arsenal
17 - Arsenal v Burnley
24 - Liverpool v Arsenal
31 - Arsenal v Tottenham
14 - Watford v Arsenal
21 - Arsenal v Aston Villa
28 - Manchester United v Arsenal
5 - Arsenal v Bournemouth
21 - Sheffield United v Arsenal
26 - Arsenal v Crystal Palace
2 - Arsenal v Wolves
9 - Leicester City v Arsenal
23 - Arsenal v Southampton
30 - Norwich City v Arsenal
3 - Arsenal v Brighton
7 - West Ham v Arsenal
14 - Arsenal v Manchester City
21 - Everton v Arsenal
26 - Bournemouth v Arsenal
28 - Arsenal v Chelsea
1 - Arsenal v Manchester United
11 - Crystal Palace v Arsenal
18 - Arsenal v Sheffield United
22 - Chelsea v Arsenal
1 - Burnley v Arsenal
8 - Arsenal v Newcastle
22 - Arsenal v Everton
29 - Manchester City v Arsenal
7 - Arsenal v West Ham
14 - Brighton v Arsenal
21 - Southampton v Arsenal
4 - Arsenal v Norwich City
11 - Wolves v Arsenal
18 - Arsenal v Leicester City
25 - Tottenham v Arsenal
2 - Arsenal v Liverpool
9 - Aston Villa v Arsenal
17 - Arsenal v Watford
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