The new season is nearly upon us and it’s an important one for Arsenal. The Gunners will again be hoping to get back in the top four. Arsenal have some key decisions to make in the coming weeks. Will they be able to hang onto their top players and sign some new players?

2018/19 Season

Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season with 70 points. That was seven higher than the previous season. It stlll wasn’t enough to get them back into the top four and the Champions League. Arsenal finished 28 points behind champions Manchester City. They did make it through to the Europa League final but lost 4-1 to Chelsea.

Transfer Activity

Arsenal are yet to delight their fans with a key signing. There’s been plenty of rumours over possible transfers for Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That pair scored 35 Premier League goals between them last season. Arsenal certainly can’t afford to lose them during the summer transfer window. If they did, then the odds of 40/1 (41.0) on the Gunners winning the Premier League will go even higher.

Aaron Ramsey left the club at the end of last season, moving to Juventus. Laurent Kolscieny is also seeking a move away from the Emirates. He refused to go on the Gunner’s US tour. Losing a defender is the last thing Arsenal need to happen..

Manager Unai Emery has stated that “very big, very expensive deals” are being targeted. Whoever is being targeted doesn’t seem to be close to signing yet. Wilfried Zaha seems to be their top target but Palace want more than the £40m offered. A loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos is likely. He could be joined by St Etienne’s William Salbia. However, the plan with Saliba is to loan him back to the French Club for next season.

Problem Areas

The past two seasons has seen them concede 102 goals in the Premier League. 51 in each and that figure has to be reduced in 2019/20. Signing new defenders has to be where the Gunners spend most of their meagre transfer budget.

Arsenal’s away form in the Premier League is a major concern for Unai Emery. 2017/18 saw Arsenal lose 11 away league matches. Unai Emery’s arrival seemed to have improved the situation. However, they still lost eight on the road last season conceding 35 goals (more than the previous season). To illustrate the problem, Arsenal earned 25 points on their 2018/19 travels, 19 less than Manchester City.

35 league goals came from Lacazette and Aubameyang last season. The problem Arsenal have is the next hghest contribution was just six from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, followed by five from Mesut Ozil. Arsenal can’t just rely on two players to score the majority of their goals. They need a high-scoring midfielder to be recruited this summer.

Early Fixture List

11 August: Newcastle United (away)

17 August: Burnley (home)

24 August: Liverpool (away)

1 September: Tottenham (home)

15 September: Watford (away)

Not the easiest of starts for the Gunners. They are 1/1 (2.0) at Betfred to win their first game of the season at Newcastle. With Burnley at home next, Arsenal could well start the season with maximum points. But then comes Liverpool and Tottenham, those games will indicate how well Arsenal may fare this season.

Record against the Top Seven Last Season

Up against the teams who finished in the top seven, Arsenal earned 13 points. Only Manchester City won at the Emirates where Arsenal won three, drew two and lost one. It was a different story on their travels though with only two points earned. They conceded at least twice in five of the six games played.

A damning stat for Arsenal is that they failed to win any of their away games against the final top ten teams, losing seven out of nine.

Prediction

Arsenal have plenty of work to do if they want to get back into the top four. They came close last season but that away form and defence again let them down. Arsenal are 11/4 (3.75) at Coral to finish the top London club. in the 2018/19 season. It’s going to be close again for the top four but Arsenal could make it. A lot depends on who these “expensive” signings are going to be. A top four finish this coming season is 6/4 (2.5) at Unibet. With Chelsea and Manchester United in a period of transition, the Gunners could squeeze into the top four.

Published by Steve Ashfield

Steve is a self-employed freelance writer with years of experience writing about everything from sport to politics. He loves his statistics and quotes them at every opportunity.

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