What Will Define Arsenal’s Season? by AI
All is well that ends well, so they say. Depending on how you look at it, Arsenal had a terrible time last season – one of the worst-placed finish in decades. But if you were around in November, when Emery was still the gaffer, you could have been forgiven for thinking that an FA Cup trophy and a subsequent Community Shield was completely impossible.
But the odds are a strange thing. Football is fluid. Nothing is set in stone, and Arsenal’s next season will be defined by Champions League qualification. Failure to qualify would be terrible, for our finances and ambition. Even if we won every other trophy available, Champions League failure would spell a bad ending to the season.
Recently, we’ve picked up form against the Top 6. Under Arteta, we have beaten all of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. While this spells a good tactical backbone, it is not all rosy. We have found it very difficult to find the edge against smaller teams. Goals have been difficult to come by against teams who sit in and wait. If we had turned just 3 or 4 of our endless stalemates into wins, that would have made a huge difference.
Our season will be less defined by wins against big teams but more our ability to regularly beat the smaller teams. If we can’t continue to smack the likes of Aston Villa and Fulham 3-nil on the trot, we will most likely fail to reach European places. If performing well against the Top 6 is what it takes to reach Europe, then the likes of Wolves should have qualified for the Champions League.
Our first match against Fulham says a lot about how dominant we can be against the smaller teams. We were extremely solid and comfortable against a side we were projected to beat. Apart from a little error which was quickly atoned for by new signing Gabriel Maghalaes, we looked assured and competent. And that is with a lot of injuries and without much of our incoming reinforcements.
Going forward, then, we should be a compact and competitive side who don’t concede easily. We might possibly struggle with breaking down teams that sit in for a draw, but we should have enough to always eke out a win. We have started in the best possible way and long may it continue.