After years of stubbornness from manager Arsene Wenger hampered Arsenal in pursuit of the Premier League title, the cerebral Frenchman seems to be learning overdue lessons that will enrich a renewed charge towards top spot in 2015-16.
The first signs of which came during Arsenal’s fine run to the finish last term. Wenger was happy for his team to relinquish possession in the marquee matches—most notably, in a wonderful 2-0 win away at Manchester City—and stumbled upon a system which enabled the Gunners to make a late run for second position; eventually they fell just short and into third.
These emerging altruistic traits are vital if the men from the Emirates are to challenge the might of the Premier League’s elite. As is the new man between the sticks, Petr Cech, who will provide Arsenal with the the sturdy foundations that have long been lacking. His qualities, tangible and intangible, represent a major boost.
So often Arsenal have started seasons with a flourish before fading away when it comes to the crunch, or rallying late after stuttering out of the blocks. But, with a squad that possesses a festering fortitude and some of the most vibrant attacking talent in European soccer, maybe this season will be the one that ends Wenger’s long wait for another Premier League title.
Reasons to be Positive
The importance of Cech’s acquisition cannot be understated. With the 33-year-old on board, the club have filled a longstanding void in their side with a genuinely world-class operator and a player who knows what’s required to win the biggest honors in the game.
Going forward, the squad looks in magnificent shape. Olivier Giroud is a tremendous foil at the point of the attack for the polished midfield talents of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. A direct edge comes from Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, while Alexis Sanchez amalgamates all the aforementioned talents in spectacular fashion.
Reasons to be Negative
Although Cech is a player that’ll add a dash of winning mentality to a squad renowned for coming up just short in the Premier League, psychologically, Arsenal need to make strides if they’re to finish top of the pile. Understated attributes like focus and consistency must be on show throughout the season, otherwise it’ll be another case of what might have been.
In terms of personnel, at the time of writing, there are still a few gaps in the squad. A holding midfielder of genuine class is still scarce, the full-back positions still represent an area of concern and there’s still no top quality forward to call upon. Subsequently, opposition sides will look at Arsenal and feel as though they have a soft center that can be exploited.