Arsenal have come ahead of the days where they would do so called “Panic Transfer Business”. After 22 years Arsenal would be heading out on the pitch without the managerial experience of Arsene Wenger. But the recruitment of new Head coach Unai Emery who has previously managed the likes of Sevilla (two stints) and Valencia on tight budgets has brought new hope among the Emirates faithful.
Ivan Gazidis (Chief Executive, Arsenal) recruited Unai Emery this summer and his previous appointments Sven Mislintat (Head of Recruitment) and Raul Sanllehi (Head Football Relations) have done an early business this window. They have addressed the defensive issues that Arsenal has been facing in these recent seasons pretty well.
Extensions : In winter Arsenal had tied their talisman Mesut Ozil on a long term and would be looking to do the same to the three times FA cup winner Aaron Ramsey. Sorting the later’s contract would be the highest priority for Unai Emery after the high-profile departure of Mid-fielder Jack Wilshere to West Ham United. Aaron Ramsey is also regarded as the one around which this new look Arsenal team would be built around by the Head coach.
Outgoings : It is also expected that there would be good number of outgoings since Arsenal had only $50 million budget. The likes of Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom, Emi Martinez, Takumo Asano,The Jeff, Lucas Perez and also regulars like Goalkeeper David Ospina and defender Shkodran Mustafi would be loaned or sold permanently to balance the books.
With all the Transfers going in and out Unai Emery also has two prolific strikers at his disposal. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette who will bring good competition upfront. The former was Sven Mislintat’s first direct recruitment which revived the goal scoring as well as long term off pitch partnership with Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian international was a complex part of Alexis Sanchez swap deal which ended somewhat of a transfer saga with the Chilean moving up north to arch rivals Manchester United.
After all rigorous training sessions, transfer deadlines and pre-season friendlies, come August and we will be seeing the first genuine test for Unai Emery and his new look Arsenal Squad. Arsenal has got one of the toughest fixtures to start the Premier League Season in recent years. Arsenal will be facing last year’s rampant champions Manchester City at the Emirates followed by former champions Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge.
An evening of work ?
? Arsenal Training Centre pic.twitter.com/fCpShMiSsZ
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 16, 2018
The kids are alright ? pic.twitter.com/78w8uKBpWq
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 16, 2018
Following is our predictable line-up for the first game of the season and Arsenal’s new Era.
Bernd Leno (GK)
The 36 year- old Peter Cech would be replaced by the Bayer Leverkusen shot stopper in this new season. The German has proved his worth in Bundesliga and is famous for his brave heart goalkeeping. His presence would also go a long way is erasing Arsenal’s penalty woes for recent years with his impressive tract record. With a few stern decisions being made already letting Wilshere and Santi leave the club, it is certain that Unai Emery will move for more of the same by starting his young German GK this season.
Emery on Wilshere: “I know he is important for the supporters and grew up here at Arsenal, but I don’t give him one post in the starting XI. For that he chose to leave here and I respect that. It was one decision, one private conversation.” #AFC
— AFCPressWatch (@AFCPressWatch2) July 13, 2018
Hector Bellerin (RB)
After having his fare share of ups and downs in his very young career at Arsenal, the Spaniard will serve as the perfect injection of pace and youth that Emery will be looking for while Arsenal are on the attack.
His sheer pace helps him to recover while getting back however his tackling and in air game has to be improved which can be seen in his development under new coach Unai Emery and with Steve Bould still in place as his Assistant.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 16, 2018
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB)
The experienced Greek is expected to be the natural leader at the back . He himself is a front foot Defender and a fearless tacklerand would expect the same from his teammates. His experience would be very useful after the departure of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny’s long term injury. With his presence sorely needed, the Greek center back has an almost guaranteed starting spot for the opening clash under Unai Emery
Calum Chambers (CB)
The Englishman’s career bought from Southhampton has not panned out as it should have been but with Emery’s backing the opportunity is there to be grabbed with both hands. Given the way he ended the last season he has earned a new contract and may well start ahead of preferred Shokdran Mustafi.
With the kind of free goal scoring season he had,Unai Emery is bound to make him a sure starter on the opening day. He has already showed his versatility for the team playing as center-back when Arsenal played three at the back. His composure on the ball, overlaps, cut backs and crosses still make him a preferred starter over the bulldozing Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac.
Lucas Toreirra (CM)
Arsenal fans will be really excited to see this Uruguain quarter finalist sitting in front of the back four while defending and making defensive tackles winning balls the likes of which he successfully did at the WC-18 especially against a gritty Portugal midfield and also kept an extra check on Cristiano Ronaldo. His skills in dead ball situations and taking corners will take a few responsibilities of Mesut Ozil. Most likely to be slotted at the centre in a midfield of three.
Granit Xhaka (CM)
The Swiss International will be raring to go after a round of 16 exit at the WC-18. Having ended last season with consistent performances and on the back of persistent good form which he carried into the WC-18, Xhaka will surely be confident in starting the new season positively.
With defensive duties shared with Toreirra he can now effectively spray his range of passes and also display his defense splitting long balls and immaculate through balls. Here is chance to show why he was bought by Arsene Wenger after Euro-16.
Aaron Ramsey (CM)
Tipped to be the Captain backed by new coach Aaron can be the extra body forward as usually he is with the attackers. With proper rest in summer and a grueling series of pre-season friendlies Ramsey should be ready to go ahead and get a great season under his belt. With his ability to score crucial goals and experience as a Gunner, he becomes a sure starter and the most effective player at the center of the park this season.
Mesut Ozil (LF)
After a disappointing summer at the world cup with Germany and off pitch controversies, a small but a needed vacation with his partner should bring this super professional and utterly brilliant player back to Emirates with a deep hunger and desire for winning trophies.
He’s a highly skilled and blessed individual and this would be his time to stamp his authority in big games and deserve the NO. 10 jersey once wore by the “Non-Flying Dutchman” Dennis Bergkamp. He would mostly have a free role while attacking but would have less defensive responsibilities with Xhaka and Toreirra both in the midfield.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (RF)
He will be ready to prove his worth after very less game time at the Old Trafford under Mourinho. He has scored and assisted more than Alexis Sanchez who moved in the opposite direction leaving the Old TRafford faithful red faced. He is one of the swift movers, his wing play, goal scoring record and also NO. 10 abilities would make him the most dangerous feature of this Arsenal team. To his advantage he is once again reunited with “Yo Pierre” his partner in crime at Westafelanstadion and his natural partner on the pitch.
A proven goal scorer, brilliant runner behind the defense , dribbling skills, fox in the box and with all other god given attacking talent, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will surely be preferred to start the game. Playing in his first full season In the Premier League, he will have to improve his Aerial attacking skills to impose himself inside the box. With a plethora of attacking chances beautifully crafted from Ozil and Mkhitairiyan and long balls beyond the line of defense by Xhaka and Lucas, Aubameyang will surely be expected to score more goals than he did in the second half of the last season for Arsenal.
Bench – Alex Iwobi, Mohamed Elneny, Alexander Lacazette, Shokdran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Peter Cech, Rob Holding.
There are good reasons for Arsenal fans to be excited beyond measure. But the first two games of this season would be the litmus test for this squad. It’s also Unai Emery first season who will be expected to win some trophies but would like to take one game at a time. With all the other PL teams strengthening their squads for coming season Unai’s prime objective would be getting back Arsenal into Champions League next season realistically.