Does Arsenal Have What It Takes To Be Champions Of England is the question we ask in the first of our blog posts. Will Arteta succeed, read on to find out.
Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated the Premier League title race for the last five seasons. The two sides’ most significant strength is their ability to accumulate winning runs. Man City managed twelve successive wins the previous season while Liverpool went on a ten-game run. However, Arsenal has the potential to marshal consecutive wins and keep unbeaten runs, as we have seen under Mikel Arteta. They can match up the energies of the big teams and maintain an impressive run of form to stay at the top level.
Chelsea was the team that came close to matching the two England giants, but as the season unfolded and cracks started to show in their camp, they couldn’t keep up. They were ahead, leading the England Premier League table for a better half of the first but drifted further with Arsenal, the second team coming close to the returns of Man City and Liverpool.
The Spaniard worked with the Champions, who have had a hand in four titles as an assistant coach before moving to the London side, probably picked pointers on how to go all the way in a title-winning quest. Arteta is on the path to becoming a world-class manager
Mikel Arteta has finished eighth in his first two seasons, with fifth place finishing his best as a manager this season. Arsenal finished the season with sixty-nine points meaning they have improved by the year in the last three campaigns. Liverpool finished third in the 2020-21 season with the same number of points. The highest number of points in the previous five years was 100, while the lowest was 86; thus, Arsenal has to improve their tally by seventeen points to be within a title-winning tea. That’s about six more wins in a season from what they achieved last season, which looks appealing on paper.
Arsenal kept thirteen clean sheets, an improvement from the first two seasons (ten and twelve) and mastered the art of building from the back with Ramsdale comfortable with the ball. The Gunners scored sixty-one goals (1.61 goals per game) which was also an improvement from the first two seasons (fifty-five and fifty-six). They have developed well as a unit after Pierre Emerick Aubameyang left with the goals scoring responsibility shared among the players.
Arsenal – Consistency in performances
Between the Premier League’s fourth and thirty-fifth games, Arsenal earned more points than anyone bar Liverpool and Manchester City. There are no awards for trying, but these were commendable performances and results. Arsenal has to be consistent with such versions throughout the season to stand a chance to be regarded as potential title holders.
The biggest meltdown was after conquering fellow European slot challengers Chelsea 4 – 2, Manchester United 3 – 1, and West Ham 2 – 1. Then, they lost their cool against Tottenham, losing 3 – 0, giving their neighbours the edge to qualify for the Champions League, with the 2 – 0 defeat against Newcastle United the final nail in the coffin. They had given away three games in hand, losing three consecutive games 3 – 0 against Crystal Palace, 2 – 1 against Brighton, and 1 – 0 against Southampton.
You have to bully the lesser teams and dominate the big boys. Arsenal has a way of delivering surprising quality performances when you least expect it and being an utter shock when they need to be at their best. Arteta has to work on consistency and always bring their A-game.
The Gunners have to improve their form on the travel averaging 1.47 points per game on the road compared to the 2.16 at home. They won thirteen, lost four, and drew two at the Emirates while managing nine wins, one draw, and nine defeats in their travels. They average sixteen shots per game but still have a poor tally on their travels.
Arsenal has become a critical part of the England national team after failing to have a single player in the 2018 World Cup and just one player in the Euro 2020 games. England coach, Gareth Southgate, will indeed travel to most Arsenal games, hoping the young stars hoping they will offer a spark in the team ahead of the coming winter World Cup as opposed to the regular summer sport.
Can they build on their failures, or are Arsenal failures?
Mikel Arteta has finished eighth in his first two seasons, with fifth place finishing his best as a manager this season. He failed to qualify for Europe last season, qualifying in the first season as FA Cup winners. They were so close to heading to the Champions League, but a meltdown in the final games saw them settle for Europa League football.
The optics for winning the League and qualifying for European football seem the same, but it takes a lot of character to go all the way to win the League. Quite the same, but the League possesses a tough test with giants Man City and Liverpool, who have sailed in such waters before to look over your shoulder.
The significant failures build strong characters, and Arsenal has been covalent going through a tough transition. But, on the other hand, consider the case of Liverpool, who had to go through a thirty-year wait and, when Jurgen Klopp came in, had to endure a sore Europa League defeat in their rebuild to become one of the most formidable teams mentally in the League.
Arsenal – What does the future hold?
Does the analogy of team of the future application in this era where money runs the footballing world? Arsenal fielded the youngest team in the Premier League last season with promising stars in the group. The talent in the team is undoubted, primarily gauged by their performances in the League. The big question is can they win the League with a young talented squad? Are they ready to conquer the best League in the world?
They don’t conquer the League in the next two seasons or fail to qualify for European football. Then, the big teams will start poaching their performing players, and players also start demanding the need to play at the best level. There will be pressure for the process to start delivering; thus, Arsenal has to go a long way next season.
Arsenal – Team for the future
In the long run, Arsenal, you would feel, have the potential to be the best team in the Premier League. However, the Arsenal’s team must rely on the illusion that none of their players develops to be as good as attracting the attention of the global football market with extravagant transfer fees that will steal their players from them. The Saudi effect, in particular, has flooded the sport by pumping millions into the sport. Manchester City and PSG are the Saudi’s actual testimony of the Saudi effect with the acquisitions of Neymar, the game-changer in evaluating players.
The contract situation has been a game player in convincing players to stay with Arsenal having a reputation of being one of the stingiest teams in the game, trading their investments economically and open to claiming a vast profit.
The standard performance for Arsenal is their solid defence that Arteta has worked so hard to have a definite back four despite having some flaws. They had no backup with Rob Holding, whose meltdown in their 3 – 0 defeat against Tottenham cost them European Football. The standards have been elevated since the departure of Arsene Wenger, where European football was the silver lining for the financial implication.
Manager Arteta has to work on the contract situation with their promising youngsters, especially on the release clauses, so they don’t get disappointments, especially with Saudi Arabia owners still in play.
Arsenal – A Step in the Right Direction?
Mikel Arteta was the last man standing when we had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and Frank Lampard at Chelsea. But, as we have seen in the dominant teams in the Premier League, Liverpool, and Manchester City, the stakes of being a title-winning manager are pretty high.
The season 2021-22 was a roller coaster for the Arsenal fans. Arsenal was bottom of the table three games into the season after losing three consecutive games conceding nine goals and scoring none. Nevertheless, Arteta has proven himself a winner, having conquered the FA Cup and the Carling Cup in his first season. The Premier League feels like a big pie to chew, but they are in the correct patch, failing to have a bite in the Champions League.
They need to pick the momentum and be aggressive in how they play if they don’t want to return to their old ways of good football but unproductive in the final third. A striker seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle, given Haaland and Nunez’s move by City and Liverpool shows how pivotal investing in a frontman will be.
Can They Conquer The Premier League After Failing To Conquer European Qualification?
The optics for winning the League and qualifying for European football seem the same, but it takes a lot of character to go all the way to win the League. Quite the same, but the League possess a tough test with giants Man City and Liverpool, who have sailed in such waters before to look over your shoulder.
Significant failures build strong characters, and Arsenal has been covalent going through a tough transition. Take the case of Liverpool, who had to go through a thirty-year wait and, when Jurgen Klopp came in, had to endure a sore Europa League defeat in their rebuild to become one of the most formidable teams mentally in the League. Man City could be distracted by their desire to win the Champions League.
Real Madrid won the Champions League with Vinicius Junior as their star player and outdid Barcelona for the La Liga title.
Arsenal 2021/22 Key Players
Bakayo Saka, who won Arsenal’s player of the season, has had a career, scored twelve goals and provided seven assists. He is a player who started his trade in the left wing-back position and occasionally got a chance in the old-school position eleven. The switch to the right-wing at the expense of their most expensive player Nicholas Pepe was a risk that shows Mikel Arteta’s excellent understanding of the game.
It also shows how getting play time is performance-based, which develops excellent effort in the training ground to earn a chance in the starting lineup. Arteta is reading straight from Pep Guardiola’s masterpiece, winning the last two Premier League titles without a top scorer with goals shared generously among the tea. The excellence is that when injuries kick in, the team can still perform at the same level.
Martin Odegaard has some Mesut Ozil qualities, playing with an eagle’s vision for a pass nobody sees. However, seven goals and four assists don’t highlight his influence on the team. Nevertheless, the Norwegian has developed fast as the most influential player in the team with great leadership qualities that have earned the assistant captain role in his first full season as an Arsenal player.
Arsenal has a definite attack with Odegaard in the centre and Saka down the right with either Gabriel Martinelli or Emile Smith-Rowe running down the right; the striking puzzle will define their title challenge. Smith-Rowe scored eleven goals while Martinelli gave a world-class performance against Liverpool that had Jurgen Klopp salivating. The England international was called to the under-21 squad and will be eager to claim a place in the Gareth Southgate’s squad to travel to Qatar could be a motivating incentive.
A fit-back four with Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Kieran Tierney with Aaron Ramsdale commanding the post is a solid backline the Gunners have had in years. Arsenal’s strength in defence and attack has been working as a unit. Gabriel, in particular, was a vital figure in the defence and attack with five goals. Ramsdale has become a regular star in gloves for the England national team and has the season to convince his coach to be the number one ahead of Jordan Pickford.
Arsenal – Signings
The Gunners splashed over £100 million in the last window and could need an equal or higher amount to match the fierce teams in the League. It will be a tough transfer window with Saudi’s controlling the market with the dominant voice for the World-class stars and the lack of European football.
They confirm the departure of Alexandre Lacazette’s return to Olympic Lyon, leaving the door open to make a significant acquisition of a striker. However, the prominent targets Erling Haaland signed for Man City and Nunez is expected to move to Anfield means the London team must dig deep and scout a promising prospect to lead their lines.
Fabio Viera has already been confirmed as Arsenal’s first signing as the Gunners from Portugal Giants FC Porto in a deal that could be close to 35 million Euros. The 22-year-old scored six goals and fourteen assists in twenty-seven games. The Portuguese were an absolute star for his national under 21 teams, with thirteen goals in twenty-one appearances.
Arsenal is in talks for Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, but it could take time as the team’s recruitment staff are said to be working on several priority positions. However, a left-footed centre-back who can also play at left-back could be a great addition to the team’s depth, especially to be covered for injury-prone Tierney. Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag is working hard to reunite with the centre-back, especially with the team needing reinforcement at the back.
Leipzig Nkunku has some of Arsenal and French legend Thierry Henry’s qualities in him. The biggest competition will be Bayern Munich, who are having issues with their leading man Robert Lewandowski who could be seeing off his contract expiring next year with Barcelona. Munich tends to snatch players from their League, and a move is improbable with Nkunku’s name yet to appear anywhere linked to Arsenal. However, they have had great success with French players with their iconic coach Arsene Wenger; the foundation of this relationship could be an excellent link for the pursuit of the star.
New Italian sensation Gianluca Scamacca who returned sixteen goals for Sassuolo, has been in close contact with Arsenal. However, an initial offer for Scamacca worth 34 million Euros was rejected for the striker.
Tottenham has intensified their pursuit, but the Argentine racking up twenty-one goals a season makes him the most prolific target than all the other strikers they are pursuing. The price tag of about ninety and a colossal contract could deter the deal from happening. The player commented his desire to stay with the high cash payout was a reasonable offer that could trigger the transfer. Bayern Munich has him as their target if they fail to secure a contract for Sadio Mane. The figures and the numbers involved could prompt the Saudi-linked teams to splash, making this a tricky move to get over the line.
However, Arsenal is willing to offer a salary of £200 thousand a week for Gabriel Jesus, with Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Chelsea monitoring the situation. The relationship between Arteta and Man City could be the key to securing the transfer for the striker ahead of City rivals Blues and Spurs. It’s hard for a player to overlook Real Madrid; this will be a challenging claim for Gabriel Jesus to reject a transfer to the European Champion. The Brazilian star is settled in England could be a tough transition to travel in the summer and settle in time to claim a place in the team and gain regular football with eyes on the World Cup. Chelsea could intensify the quest for Jesus with Lukaku soon to confirm a loan move back to Inter Milan.
Eddie Nketiah was never the first-choice starter at Arsenal but finished the season strongly with five goals in seven games. After signing a new contract, he received the iconic number fourteen jersey, a definite prospect for Gareth Southgate to watch as the maestro tops England’s under 21 record goal scorers. They need a finished article kind of a striker who can return double figures to make them a Premier League-winning prospect.
The left-back position is also a concern, with Kieran Tierney occasionally injured, missing sixteen games and Tavares prone to errors despite having good fun. However, William Saliba has been confirmed to stay with the team’s successful spell in the French side Olympic Marseille next season, helping them qualify for the Champions League and be selected to the World Cup winners’ squad. He has been a regular starter for the French team in the UEFA Nations League. The youngster feels like a new signing and could be a significant factor backing up the defence, especially in the big games when they could start with a back three.
This summer, an unlikely but realistic transfer for Arsenal will be a move for England captain and Tottenham assistant captain Harry Kane. Football is a loyal sport, but a realistic offer and great convincing, especially with his contract expiring in 2024. Football as a sport has trophies and could be the enticing thing the 28-year-old will be hoping to claim in his lucrative career. Tottenham’s last trophy was the Carling Cup, which was renamed the Carabao Cup back in 2008 despite Kane racking up double figures from 2014-15.
Marco Asensio and Raphinha are on the market, but Arsenal has sufficient depth in the position they fill in, and it doesn’t feel like a priority. Youri Tielemans and Arthur Melo, Corentin Tolisso, and Fabian Ruiz are lined up as potential midfield reinforcement, but there have not been progressive talks yet. They are world-class players, but the most crucial factor is whether they fit into the team’s structure. Viera’s signature could cripple most of these prospect deals. Tielemans, in particular, was a flattering deal with a year left in his contract with the Foxes reluctant to let their man go.
Lucas Torreira is heading back to the Emirates after a permanent move to Fiorentina collapsed. He was one of the promising stars for Uruguay in the World Cup, and a key member for Unai Emery could be given a chance to blossom once again and reach his full potential.
The signing of Marquinhos from Sao Paulo is an exciting addition to the talent in the team. The maestro was part of the team that won the Campeonato Paulista in 2021, making thirty-three appearances. He has represented Brazil in the Under 16 and Under 17 levels is only nineteen. They tended off competition from Wolves, who were keen to go to court for the youngster’s services.
Does Arsenal Need More Experience?
Bringing in an experienced World-class player who has won the Premier League could give the dressing room a cool head. Xavi Hernandez did, so bringing Dani Alves, which has improved the Barcelona team, could be a wise move, especially when under pressure to perform. Most of Arsenal’s meltdowns have come in critical times in final stretches like last season in the final games to qualify for the Champions League, which they failed drastically. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out, like Gareth Bale’s move to Tottenham Hotspurs and Thiago Silva’s move to Chelsea, as age brings inconsistent returns.
A player who seems capable of commanding the team in such times is Granit Xhaka, but his fallout with the fans stripped him of the captain band. Moreover, he had a meltdown after the defeat against Newcastle, which shows how unstable and unreliable he can be in the guidance in tough times. On the other hand, Gabriel Jesus stands out as one of the iconic strikers as a Premier League winner to unite with his former assistant manager during his time at the newly crowned England Champions Manchester City. Jesus was not a regular starter but had goals in his feet as a real striker’s instinct to deliver magic in challenging games. They, however, have to move fast, especially with Chelsea and Real Madrid aggressive movers in the market eyeing the star.
The decision for captain will be crucial ahead of the new season, with Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard the likely players to claim responsibility. Arteta, a captain for the team, has yet to make an official comment letting the situation play out until the end of the season, with Lacazette enjoying the short spell.
Does Arsenal Have Enough Depth?
The lack of European Football last season meant Arsenal only played forty-five games. If they qualify to the quarter-final of the Europa League and the fifth round of both domestic cups, the games become fifty-four. Squad depth and injuries will seriously affect how their season will turn out. Goalscoring was an issue last season with Eddie Nketiah, not a proven striker to provide fifteen-plus goals in the League but can deputies and deliver performance once in a while.
They can learn a lot from Chelsea’s misfortunes last season; after having a great start, they couldn’t keep up with the Champions League and title race cause of the lack of depth. Chelsea’s key star players, such as record signing Romelu Lukaku had a long injury spell and made comments that distorted the team’s unity midway through the season. Fragile egos have been something Arteta has dealt with ruthlessly; it’s the injuries and the depth that he has no control over.
Arteta has the Guardiola style of ignorance, pushing Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang out the door to maintain order in the team. On the other hand, he has gentle stars who follow the instructions and work on the strategy, just like Manchester City. It takes time for the student to beat the master, but the Spaniard has been prolific and consistent in his progress that seems to have won the team’s confidence with the results showing in their performances.
Thomas Partey provides the physicality in midfield, and the defensive cover has been clinical in terms of quality delivery and high-notch passes that open up the game. The former Atletico Madrid star is excellent on the ball and has been exemplary for the side, but he has had serious issues with injuries missing fourteen matches.
Arsenal – The Future Looks Bright
Football is a sport defined by titles and won by goals. The financial aspect intensified when Saudi Arabia joined the market with the effects of the huge investments improving the game but bullying the un financially capable teams.
Arsenal has had to transform by strategy on the pitch and how they for their business in the market. The dynamic nature has made them flexible to the changes in the systems to stay relevant throughout the years. The team that arguably plays the best passing game in the League were too slow to get results in the final half. They played good possession but were not tactical to finish.
However, they improved over the years with six players with ten or more goal involvements last season. The performance as a unit makes them a great prospect in consistency, but bringing in a striker who can rack up twenty or more goals could answer many of Gunner’s questions.
They have improved in their recruitment with Edu doing a great job as the technical director. They were accustomed to the free transfers under Arsene Wenger that were sold for huge profits once they flourished but have evolved to great scouting and spending on great talents. Their acquisitions, such as Ramsdale, who was relegated twice and little known about Gabriel, White, and Tomiyasu to succeed in their first season, have brought fans confidence.
Arsenal is unlikely to challenge for the title this season, but there are reasons to be cheerful if you are an Arsenal fan, for now at least!