The 2017/18 season was not exactly a great campaign for Arsenal fans.
The Gunners did reach the final of the League Cup and the Europa League semis. Ultimately, they finish the season with no trophies. Unless we are counting the Community Shield, we still have their worst league position in over 20 years.
Despite finishing outside of the top four, which is miraculously now considered nearly as good as a trophy. Gooners should feel somewhat optimistic heading into the 2018/19 season.
With Arsene Wenger walking away after more than two decades at the helm at Arsenal, the Gunners will get a new boss for the first time since 1996. To put this in perspective, midfielder Alex Iwobi was born in the same year as Wenger arrived to the north London outfit.
It’s safe to say that the Frenchman’s departure has been met with a variety of opinions. Nevertheless, whether you’re ‘Wenger In’ or ‘Wenger Out,’ it’s difficult to overlook just how important of a manager he was to Arsenal.
There is no doubt that Wenger is the club’s most successful manager in their illustrious history. Although it would have been nice to see the often criticized boss go out on a high note. Arsenal endured their toughest season in the Frenchman’s tenure with the Gunners.
Max Allegri, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira, and Leonardo Jardim (among others) have all been reportedly linked with the Arsenal job.
Each one of these potential candidates would bring something different to the club. No matter who the Gunners front office chooses, Arsenal fans should get behind and support him from day one. Something they probably should have done with Wenger over the years.
Aubameyang/Lacazette Up Front
Arsenal may have had defensive issues during the current campaign, but they have not had many problems scoring goals. This is especially the case since the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund in January.
The electrifying striker has managed nine goals and four assists in just 12 Premier League games with the Gunners. In fact, his minutes-per-goal ratio (110) is currently only topped by Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero, and Harry Kane.
Along with Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette has also been a solid performer up front for Arsenal. Brought in for a reported fee of about £46.5 million during the summer, Lacazette has managed 17 goals and four assists on the season.
This is especially respectable when considering the Frenchman rarely completes a full 90 minutes on the pitch.
The former Lyon striker has a 152 minutes-per-goal ratio during Premier League play. Better than Romelu Lukaku, Roberto Firmino, and Jamie Vardy.
A full season with the dynamic duo up front should help guide the Gunners back into the top four during the 2018/19 campaign.
Stability at Captain
Outgoing captain Per Mertesacker managed just four league starts during his two seasons as club captain. The former Germany international is undoubtedly a fantastic leader, but his lack of time on the pitch certainly didn’t help stability in the team.
Prior to Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta captained the side for two seasons. Much like Per, Arteta wasn’t exactly a regular starter for the Gunners.
The Spaniard made six Premier League starts as the Arsenal captain from 2014/15-2015/16. 10 total league starts combined from captains in the last 4 seasons appears to be a bit of an issue. While there are other leaders on the pitch, having your main captain out there regularly would surely help during stressful times.
The new Arsenal manager’s captain should be one of the first names written on the team sheet every match. Aaron Ramsey would be the ideal choice for two reasons. One, he deserves to start every match in which he is fit. Two, he does have previous experience as captain of the Wales national team.
Jack Wilshere (assuming he signs a new deal) and Mesut Ozil are also other candidates as well.
Despite Arsenal’s sixth place finish in the Premier League, they do not need a roster overhaul as some have suggested.
Two or three quality signings should help them compete at the top next season. Central defense is possibly the club’s biggest necessity at the moment and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly could be the exact defender that they need to complete their back four.
The no-nonsense center back is gaining plenty of attention though, as Chelsea, Juventus, and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in signing the Senegal international.
Goalkeeping is another weakness in this Arsenal team.
Premier League legend Petr Cech has made multiple mistakes during the current campaign and backup David Ospina is not necessarily a top-tier keeper at the moment. Genoa’s Mattia Perin would be a solid pick for the Gunners, as he would not cost a fortune, yet he is a very capable shot-stopper.
The new manager could also go for an additional defensive midfielder and/or winger as well to help round off the roster as well.
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