The brand new season of the Barclays Premier League is due to commence soon and the runners-up of last season, Arsenal would be hoping that this time, they can take that extra step and finally land the title. Manager Arsene Wenger has been at the helm of the club for what seems like an eternity and has enjoyed unparalleled success during his time at North London. Even after the club decided to take a very bold move of building their own stadium at the expense of their finances, Wenger managed to keep the team competitive and secure champions league qualification for each season never finishing outside of the top four.
After negotiating expertly with a difficult patch relating to the finances, where the team had to make good on a shoestring budget whilst losing their best assets to other clubs simply because the club couldn’t keep hold of them when the other teams flashed the bags of money in front of the player, the Gunners have finally stepped out of that challenging phase and are now pretty well off compared to the others.
In recent years, Arsenal managed to bag back to back F.A Cups and Community Shields but success in the Premier League eluded them. Last season they were close but were beaten by Leicester City. This time, the team needs to go the extra mile and do what they are due but so far the general consensus has been unsatisfactory. The three questions which still loom on the minds of every Gooner before the campaign kicks off are:
Can The Club Get In The Quality Needed In Front Of The Goal To Challenge Giroud?
Contrary to general opinion, Olivier Giroud has been a very successful player for his team bought for a sum of £9.6m in 2012. The Forward has so far scored 82 goals for the club in all competitions and provided over 30 assists. The Frenchman has been the top scorer for the club on two occasions out of the four years he has played and last season scored 16 goals and provided 6 assists as well in the league.
Despite all his exploits, Giroud endured a barren spell of 15 games towards the end of the season and with practically nobody to replace or assist him during that tough time culminated in Arsenal getting left behind in the title race. Olivier Giroud is an integral part of how Arsenal plays and is an asset up front but he needs a partner, one who can complement him and take the pressure off him by scoring goals. The Gunners do not have anybody fit for that role yet and the fans would hope that it would change before the season starts.
Can Arsenal Solve The Problem Midfield Combination?
The arrival of Xhaka would certainly be able to provide the solution for the problem which has been bugging the team for a decade now. Having technicians like Cazorla or a tireless box to box runner in Ramsey is great but it counts for nothing when there’s no defensive screen in front of the defence. Francis Coquelin was able to provide it but it resulted in the lack of passing efficiency and as a result, the buildups suffered a lot.
Recruiting somebody like Xhaka who can both defend strongly as perform as a deep-lying playmaker is a wonderful move but no matter what you are, you will always have to do it on the pitch and until the time the combinations are perfected nerves will not be settled at The Emirates.
Who Will Partner Koscielny In Defence?
Laurent Koscielny has been one of the best defenders not only for Arsenal but also in the league over the last couple of years but the Gunners still suffered at the back on occasions due to the mistakes made by those who partnered the Frenchman. Mertesacker did a decent enough job but with his lack of pace and error prone attitude he compels Koscielny to do the work of two at the back, something which the defender has now developed as a habit. In fact, Koscielny is very sure about the shortcomings of his German partner and is thus able to react quickly to situations concurring that BFG would be certainly messing it up during specific situations. However, with Gabriel Paulista, Koscielny looks confused as the Brazilian seems to make bad decisions often in between making good challenges which makes it very hard for his partner to predict and read beforehand.
Arsenal do need someone who will be able to strike a good understanding with Koscielny at the back, Mertesacker has done it but his presence puts too much strain and pressure on the French defender while Gabriel proves to be reason of his own downfall with his erratic mentality. Who gets the nod next season remains to be seen and is still not very clear for the fans of the club.