Thursday, June 1, 2023

Arsenal 2016/17 Season Preview: Can Wenger’s Side End The Long Title Wait?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

The 2016/17 season of the Barclays Premier League kicks off on 13th August 2016. Last season’s runners-up, Arsenal, get their campaign underway at Home against Liverpool the next day.


Arsene Wenger, acted early in the transfer market when he signed Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach, making him the third most expensive Arsenal signing of all time.  The club has also signed a 21-year old striker in Takuma Asano from Japan and a 19-year old defender in Rob Holding in this window. Signing young players and developing them has always been the trademark of Arsenal under Wenger, the club looks to continue the tradition once again this year. The club officials have also told the fans via their website that their transfer business is far from over as the club continues to be in search for more reinforcements.

The recent injury to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista has left them very short at the back, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are too young to be the first choice pairing at the back. Arsenal will be signing a center back surely in the coming days with Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia targeted. The squad strength at the moment is good. Arsenal do need a centre-forward, though. Olivier Giroud is the only one who can play upfront as a target man, Alexis, Walcott or Welbeck are not as effectivup frontnt on their own so a natural striker is a necessity. The likes of Mauro Icardi can be a perfect fit, Alexandre Lacazette is another one pursued by the club. Lacazette is a very good finisher but is not a target man, he can combine well with the likes of Giroud however.

How the team is shaping up

The midfield is very well stocked, so are the options in the defensive midfield. The arrival of Xhaka would give the team more options to build their attack from other than Ozil, Sanchez or Cazorla. The emergence of young players in Bellerin, Coquelin, Iwobi, Rene Adelaide and Gnabry (who has already shown his quality whenever he got his chance) are great signs for the future. There is a very good mix of youth with experience; the Gunners have some leaders in their squad as well. Last season, the team suffered yet another injury crisis missing out on major players for crucial periods. Keeping the players fit would go a long way to mounting a sustained title challenge.

Arsene Wenger would be hoping to go one better the next season and finish as Champions after a long wait. There ain’t a lot which the team needs to change, just a striker and a defender would do. It really doesn’t matter how much the other teams are spending in the market as Arsene Wenger is a master of consistency and has proved his doubters wrong for almost every season since he has been at the North London club so this year won’t be any different. Despite what everybody else tells about Arsenal, they will be title contenders for the upcoming season and can finish as champions if they get the two players they are looking for at the moment.

To conclude with, here’s the quote from Wenger on the state of the squad before the season opener, “At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players. We will still look outside for one more … I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. In the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious. With the cheques that everybody signs, it’s quite scary. But I believe we know what we have to do.”

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