When football was halted this year due to COVID-19 pandemic, there were assumptions made on leagues all over the world. However, things got to an operational level and the pending season restarted with fans cheering from their bedroom televisions.
Our good old Arsenal is a team capable of pulling off unexpected wonders. And when football resumed, Arsenal was on a roll. In a wild transformation of things, Arsenal was able to beat big teams and go on to win two cups in a matter of a month, the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
Things are looking upright with Arteta getting hold of his strategies at Arsenal. We can sense the positivity in and off the field with the team. And to fans delight, Arsenal is even performing relatively good in the transfer market.
We are not known for pulling off extravagant transfers, but this season, we have been making strategic transfer picks. Although no big names have signed with us yet, the rumoured links we are having are quite encouraging. We are gradually strengthening the squad that could perform for at least another five or six years.
But the big question remains, what can we expect from Arsenal this season?
Can we challenge the title? Can we secure a top-four position? Can we win the Europa League?
The answers are not as straightforward as we would like it to have. With how things are looking with the team, there is some optimism. The 2019/20 season saw us finishing 8th in the league, the worst in 25 years. Arteta is maneuvering tactics that fit the squad, and we can hope for a good season ahead.
However, there are still a few things that should be improved to climb up the league table. Keeping the right balance of youths and experienced players is going to be critical. Some very youngsters are coming up the ranks for Arsenal. Ainsley-Maitland Niles, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Joe Willock are promising young players. On the other hand, players such as Emiliano Martinez, Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, and Nicolas Pepe are players on the growth.
The team does have experienced players who can transfer the torch to the next generation. Players like Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, David Luiz, and Hector Bellerin can become role models for the youths coming up.
Our goalkeeping roles seem to be well-taken care for this season. Bernd Leno and Emiliano Martinez are both excellent keepers. With Martinez proving his worth in the FA Cup and the Community Shield. Having two keepers of their calibre is genuinely a fortunate thing. We can get them efficiently interchanged in the premier league and other cup competitions.
In defence, things are looking good as well. With William Saliba returning from his season-long loan, we have a gem in our hands. If reports are to be believed, Gabriel Magalhaes have joined, awaiting medicals. This signing would be another good transfer pick for us. Saliba and Gabriel partnering in central defence would look solid. Also, Pablo Mari and David Luiz will be available for rotating the position roles. Fullbacks are even more promising. Hector Bellerin on the right and Kieran Tierney on the left would be explosive at its best. They both are capable of running into final-third and create killer crosses to the box.
And with the signing of Cedric, we have a good backup for the roles. Also, Ainsley-Maitland Niles and Saka can play in these positions if needed. After a long time, we poise a defence quite capable of closing down incoming attackers with confidence. Mikel Arteta will have the option of either playing three centre-backs or two centre-backs, and the options available to him are promising. And we can be confident that two the defensive formation is well covered this season.
Midfield is relatively unconvincing for us this season even though we have plenty of players who can play in these positions. The one player absent is a strong holding midfielder. A solid defensive midfielder who can tackle with aggression and hold the midfield with authority is the missing link. Someone in the liking of Patrick Vieira would be a dream for every Arsenal fan. On the bright side, we have exceptional creative midfielders who can create opportunities on the field. Reliable sources are claiming that Arsenal has signed Houssem Aouar which would be a welcome addition to the squad. Youngsters like Ainsley-Maitland Niles, Bukayo Saka, and Joe Willock are invaluable in the midfield.
The attack looks formidable with the inclusion of Willian. Aubameyang leading the attack with Wilian and Pepe on the wings would mean we should score more goals. And Martinelli has proved he is a good player already. Therefore, the attack is one of the strengths of the team.
How far can this team go? Can we win the league? Can we win the Europa League? With the level of the squad quality, winning the title is far-fetched. Winning the Europa League may be achievable, but we are not the favorites, as of now. Domestic Cup competitions have become somewhat of a forte for us in recent times. And we can target winning domestic cups with confidence.
We would like to believe it we can go all the way to the top in the Premier League. But the season is going to be tough to break into the top four that easily. A more attainable season expectation would be to perform well in Europa League, at least reach the semis and building on the momentum to win the cup.
Arsenal can have a good season if we play to our strengths. Keeping clean-sheets and winning big names are crucial to reclaim the top four positions. Europa League could turn out to be a surprise success for us. Let’s hope we will have an outstanding season that the fans have been waiting for years.