It didn’t look to be going well at all for new Arsenal boss Unai Emery when he first poked his head out of the Emirates tunnel back in August. Back to back defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea left the Gunners with zero points from their first two Premier League matches.
A magnificent seven Arsenal players were selected for the 2018 World Cup finals, yet just one Gunner made it to the quarter-finals.
With the season over we decided to take a break from our usual coverage and look at one of our favourite bets ahead of the World Cup, both teams to score.
Every summer, the transfer window rolls around and pundits discuss the areas of the Arsenal team in dire need of improvement. Every year, the defensive midfield positions are identified as a key area of weakness within the Gunners’ squad. And, every time, Arsene Wenger has failed to address this issue. Now that Unai Emery has taken over in the hot seat, will this close season be a different story? Arsenal are in need of big changes, and this gaping hole needs plugging immediately.
Arsenal football club have long been one of the game’s more progressive clubs, with Arsene Wenger rightly hailed as one of the key catalysts involved in modernising the English Premier League in line with the rest of Europe. When he first came in, Tony Adams et al were having daily beer binges straight after training, before eating a kebab, smoking a few cigars, and grabbing a few hours sleep ahead of the next dya’s training, when the whole cycle repeated itself.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his team struggled against CSKA Moscow and was in danger of conceding another goal that would have eliminated them on aggregate. He said that his players were surprised by the intensity of the game and that they struggled at times to cope with the energy and determination shown by the Russian player.
Make no mistake, Alexis Sanchez is a fantastic footballer. One who has been coveted by the best teams in the world ever since he caught the eye with his performances for Udinese and the Chile national team prompting a move to Barcelona back in 2011. And it could be argued that Arsenal have seen the very best of that talent having signed him as a 25-year-old back in 2014. A haul of 80 goals in 165 appearances for the Gunners certainly backs up this claim.
July 2005. The month and year that Patrick Vieira left Arsenal to join Juventus. The deal was a reported £13.75m and left many Gunners’ fans in shock. The central lynchpin of the Invincible team had been cast aside with no replacement seemingly on the way.
For many, the Frenchman’s departure is a symbol of everything that followed for Arsenal over the next 12 years. A dominant, all-round midfielder who was a genuine leader. Gone. The Arsenal midfield hasn’t been the same since. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. To suggest Vieira was never replaced is a little misleading. In the last 12 years, Arsenal have had a selection of world-class midfielders, albeit of a different ilk from the towering Frenchman.
Gunners winger passed on his condolences to some loyal Arsenal supporters following the death of their child, whom they had named after the Arsenal star, Theo.
Traditionally, the January transfer window is a quiet time in terms of player trading, but all that can change when a major tournament is on the horizon. We’re heading into World Cup year and those who are on the fringes of their national squads are eager to get as much game time as possible in order to increase their chances of making the plane.
One of those players is Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. Back to fitness after a catalogue of injuries, the midfielder continues to be overlooked by Gareth Southgate as younger, untried men are used in Wilshere’s preferred slot. A move away from the Emirates is a possibility but given Arsenal’s mixed start to the season, Arsene Wenger should really be looking to bring this considerable talent back into the fold.