Are Arsenal genuine title contenders?
Last season was quite an indifferent one for Arsenal, a season that promised so much but eventually fell away in the new year. Last season was promising for many reasons. Arsenal were top for the longest period of any other English Premier club, their dramatic drop in performance as many previous seasons could be directed at injuries and lack of squad depth. The most notable mistake was that Arsene Wenger failed to address the “Giroud Problem”. No one team can go a whole season with only one recognised Striker. Olivier Giroud although his tally was a respectable 22 goals he failed to make an impression in any games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. These games ultimately cost Arsenal dear as they struggled to keep the pace in the run in. Wenger did manage to deliver Champions League football for another season and bring home an FA Cup, something that before the season started many fans would have taken.
For Arsenal to be considered genuine Premier League title contenders there has to be some serious progression. For many seasons they have been viewed as pushovers, a team that can easily be physically dominated. This was shown to be true in the big away games they faced last season. They were hammered away at all three that finished above them last campaign. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City highlighted the weakness in the Arsenal midfield and back four this has to be addressed.
There are early positives from Wenger’s spending already and he has shown the desire, the very thing many had questioned that he still had. Wenger has replaced Bacary Sagna with; in my eyes, a better option in Mathieu Debuchy who statistically was defensively the most efficient right back in the league last season. The former Newcastle man is also preferred at International level by France coach Didier Deschamps. Wenger also added youth with the capture of impressive 19 year old England prospect Calum Chambers who can play in a multitude of positions. Let’s not forget the most exciting signing so far Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez who can play anywhere along the front. I would not be surprised to see him utilised down the middle which would allow the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and new fan favourite Joel Campbell valuable game time. The signing of Sanchez was a bold one much like the signing of Mesut Ozil before hand, it is given the club an addition lift. The Emirates is buzzing in pre-season in a way it has never been before.
It is important that Arsenal learn from last season. Defensively it is not all doom and gloom yes they conceded 17 goals in those 3 season shattering games at Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. Also it needs to be mentioned that they also had the best defensive record at home in the league only conceding 11 goals all campaign. If Arsenal can tighten up and even turn up in these games this coming season it could be a completely different this time around.
Wenger has surprised many with how he has approached things of late, it is refreshing for Arsenal fans and football fans in general. Wenger changed the philosophy of the way many clubs approach football in this country when he was appointed as Arsenal coach in 1997/98. He has slightly changed his philosophy in the transfer market something he needed to do, he has always been stubborn but it was clear to see something had to give.
The transfer window is still open until 1st September so there is still time for some more additions, Wenger still looks to be in the market for another centre Forward, holding Midfield player and a centre-back to replace the departed Thomas Vermaelen. Arsenal need to be taken seriously this term with the additions they have already made. Also they have managed to keep their squad together which has not always been the case. Their squad a year older would have gained more experience and a hunger to continue to win trophies.
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