Although due to the ongoing European competitions, the 2019/20 campaign is technically still not over, however, the clubs who are not featuring in the said competitions have already started preparing for the upcoming season, with Arsenal, in particular, prepared to challenge the top dogs of English football.
In this article, we will review Arsenal’s mixed 2019/20 campaign that was arguably an important one as far as the club’s progress in the coming years is concerned.
A Complete Arsenal 2019/20 Season Review
Following a somewhat promising end to the 2018/19 campaign, Arsenal were surely expecting a top-four finish heading into this campaign. A direct entry to the Europa League, meaning a fifth-place finish was perhaps a bare minimum. Also, the Gunners were one of the tournament favourites in the Europa League.
Overall, it has been a disappointing campaign for Arsenal. They finished eighth in the league table, behind clubs like Wolves and Leicester City as well as an under-performing Spurs. In fact, the newly-promoted Sheffield United finished only two points behind the north London giants.
Arsenal faltered even in the Europa League, getting knocked out by Olympiacos in the first stage of the two-legged fixtures. However, an FA Cup triumph at the end of the campaign served as a breath of fresh air for the fans.
After Unai Emery was sacked, the appointment of Mikel Arteta brought a sense of mixed feelings among the Arsenal fans. However, the move paid off really well as the ex-midfielder has now injected an identity into the club.
Indeed, Arteta’s man-management, combined with his tactical knowledge, have been key in helping the Gunners improve significantly in a short of span of time. Not to mention, he played a crucial role in invigorating stars like Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and David Luiz. An FA Cup triumph was an ideal way to cap off a brilliant start to his reign at Emirates.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was by far Arsenal’s best performer this season. Despite the layer of mediocrity that surrounded the club, the Gabonese international still managed to emerge as one of Premier League’s highest goalscorers, netting 22 goals in 36 matches. He also scored both the goals in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Aside from Aubameyang, Xhaka was one of the most consistent players for Arsenal. The Swiss international played exceptionally well under Arteta, showing excellent leadership.
Same can be said about Dani Ceballos, who improved a lot during the final phase of the campaign. He was arguably the club’s best performer since the restart.
Arsenal’s biggest disappointment this season was Matteo Guendouzi. The Frenchman, who was tipped to make a major impact in the Premier League this term, faltered miserably under Emery. The situation got worse when the midfielder fell out with Arteta in Dubai, forcing the manager to freeze him out of the starting eleven.
Unsurprisingly, Guendouzi has been linked with a move away from Emirates, with FC Barcelona among the clubs seriously interested in the ex-Lorient starlet.
Honourable mentions include Guendouzi’s midfield partner, Lucas Torreira, as well as Mesut Ozil, who hadn’t featured in a single game since Project Restart.
Ones to Watch Out For
Kieran Tierney has been a bargain for Arsenal this season. Despite his lack of game-time through injuries, the Scot has impressed whenever he has had the chance, settling himself quickly into an array of different positions, including the central defensive role. He is set to become an indispensable member of the Arsenal backline in the near future.
However, it is Bukayo Saka who is set for a bright future, having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Emirates. The youngster has shown his true attacking qualities under Arteta, and his versatility should open up a host of tactical possibilities for the Arsenal manager next season.
Arsenal making an extraordinary comeback to draw 2-2 with Chelsea back in January was arguably the most memorable game of the season for the fans. The match highlighted the newfound spirit and determination injected by Arteta’s man-oriented managerial style. The comeback also helped boost confidence as the Gunners were going through a tough run of form.
Aside from that, the win over Liverpool as well as Manchester City were also memorable as the team showed unreal defensive solidity that was absent in the Arsenal backline for a long-time.
How They Can Improve
Much like last season, Arsenal are heading into the new campaign as one of the most exciting teams in the league. However, they cannot afford to be complacent in terms of their activity in the transfer market. Instead, they need to get their priorities straight.
Trying to sign Ceballos on a permanent deal should be a step in the right direction while Arteta also needs a reliable centre-back. Ben White, for one, could make for an ideal target.
Additionally, Arsenal must offload fringe individuals like Sokratis, Mohamed Elneny and Lucas Torreira. Doing so will open up a lot of space in the team, thus allowing the Gunners to fund moves for their transfer targets in the market.
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