Arsenal coach Unai Emery came out waving the white flag for the season, to brutally extinguish any expectations that fans may have been secretly harbouring for success.
Season two of the Emery era is to try to make the team function consistently and to its maximum potential but it would appear that Emery has resigned himself to at least one more term in which Arsenal scrap it out for the crumbs which include tussling for champions league qualification place.
Make no mistake, that will be the priority for Emery because the gunners can’t afford to be without the competition for a forth year. So for those looking at lengthy cup runs and trophies, look away now because the Spaniard knows it’s a season of consolidation.
Was Emery right to say that Arsenal were not going to contest the premier league ? Yes, of course he was, his first season in the premier league served more as a fact finding mission and on reflection, Arsenal massively overachieved.
Emery almost managed to take a collection of misfits and no hopers into Europa league champions but there were too many key elements missing and this has led to his recent admission.
Arsenal have reached an agreement to sign Real Madrid and Spain U21 midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan for 2019-20 campaign. With William Saliba also set to complete move from Saint Etienne before returning there on loan next season, big week for #AFC in transfer market #RMFC #ASSE
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 22, 2019
Arsenal have quality, just not enough of it and seasons of disappointment have created a culture of failure. It’s almost a seasonal thing of injuries and below par performances but worse still is the realisation that the majority of the players available are not good enough and apparently Emery knows it.
Arsenal stuttered towards the end of the campaign and finished fifth, a staggering 28 points behind Manchester City and 27 behind Liverpool.
Those figures tell a story but it’s the gulf between the sides that is more substantial and these two factors are basically the reason for honest appraisal of Emery about of Arsenal’s chances.
The Spaniard was quoted in the Sun as saying,
“We need to be realistic because the distance between City and Liverpool to us is a lot of points. We need to reduce that gap and be more competitive and to do that we need to improve defensively without losing any of our offensive qualities. I think we progressed last season but it was not enough to achieve our top target of getting back into the Champions League.”
Emery went on,
“We reduced the difference with Chelsea and Tottenham and in the end we were only two and one point behind them. I know that is not enough but I am positive we can take further steps forward to compete with the big clubs and fight for the top four in the Premier League”
The gunners are likely to start the season without a number of their transfer targets because Arsenal have no clout in today’s transfer market. William Saliba is to spend another season with Saint Étienne, in one of the most bizarre deals of the window.
Celtic seem likely to hold on to Kieran Tierney unless Arsenal increase the upfront cash payment and Wilfred Zaha looks almost certain to remain at Crystal Palace or head elsewhere, with Everton registering strong interest.
It’s becoming fairly clear that a number of the youth academy will be used in the upcoming season as Arsenal run out of options.
In defence, Nacho Monreal may be drafted in to the centre of defence now that it’s clear his legs have gone.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) July 22, 2019
Elsewhere, expect Koscielny to depart sooner rather than later because the buzzword is that Emery doesn’t want him distracting his players with his presence, so a deal is extremely likely to offload the former captain.