Dimitar Berbatov has named Arsenal as a side not to be underestimated this season.
The Gunners finished down in eighth last season, but managed to secure European football via winning the FA Cup, and has since gone onto win the Community Shield by beating last season’s Premier League champions Liverpool.
They will now go into the new campaign with the excitement of enjoying their first full season under the guise of the Spaniard, who brought almost immediate improvement upon his arrival in December.
Some teams are still eager to write off the chances of the club, but Berbatov is warning clubs not to discount Arsenal.
“All the teams you mentioned [Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs & Manchester United] are correct and all the teams you mentioned, they will be there [in the title race],” Berbatov told Stadium Astro.
“Let’s not forget Arsenal because they have won two cups now under Arteta, so all these teams are the usual suspects. They are always there.”
“I think every team will try to push harder so they can catch City and Liverpool because they are a little above them.”
While Chelsea have made vast improvements to their playing squad, the same cannot be said for any of the other ‘big six’ sides as of yet, although there is still around 4 weeks to get their business over the line.
So far we are still set to go into the new campaign with the same central midfield options as the previous season, despite it being seen as one of our weaker areas, and that will need to be addressed by the October 5 deadline.
Despite our struggles last season, Arteta still managed to steer our side into beating a number of top sides in the league and FA Cup, and has already proved that he is able to work with the current crop and get results, and that should be warning enough to our rivals.
Is the top for a realistic target with or without new midfield options this term?
The table doesn’t lie. Despite all the turmoil last season Arsenal finished eighth. There is a fair improvement required by Arsenal to bridge the gap to make the top four, let alone climb higher, given the upgrades so far to Chelsea, Wolves and Everton.
Arsenal has to hope that Willian and in particularly Gabriel and Saliba hit the ground running and the end of season form of the existing players continues.
“Blind Freddie” knows that the lack of physicality in midfield must be addressed, with the Partey transfer critical.
The start of the season is this weekend, so the procrastination must end and support given by the Board to Arteta.
I agree with Berbatov – you can’t discount Arsenal. Yes, we had a torrid time last season, but let’s be honest, it was never going to be easy after Wenger left. You can’t lose a manager after 22 years and not suffer a dip.
Now Arteta is our coach, I expect far better results. He’s been terrific! Since his appointment, we have a good structured defence and are far more tactically astute, as Liverpool (twice), Chelsea and Man City have discovered.
I think we still need an enforcer though (Partey), more than anything, if we are to secure a top four.
This guy can flick the switch for Arsenal. He can make things happen in the engine room. We shouldn’t get complacent or over expect Arsenal to challenge until the squad gets the makeover it needs. And it hasn’t, yet!
We thought we would be better last year after the signing of Pepe etc. It was the worst season for decades and that is because we went into the season without fixing the problems. WE NEED TO FIX THEM!!!