An away victory against Burnley on the last day of the Premier League 2018/2019 was not enough for the Gunners to secure the fourth position. They ended just one point short behind the city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but there was still hope to win a ticket to UEFA Champions League by winning Europa League.
Arsenal FC have faced Chelsea in the big final in Azerbaijan, but once again, underperformed when it mattered the most. The match was lost, which means the squad from the Emirates will once again battle against tier two teams in the Europa League.
The season behind us is surely going to be marked as the year of departure of Arsene Wenger. The French expert was the captain of this ship for 22 years! The board appointed Unai Emery and here are some of the highlights of his early work.
It’s an opinion of a majority now. Arsenal definitely had a good shot to end in top 4 last season. The main opposition, Tottenham, have lost eight games in 2019, which left many opportunities for the Gunners to beat them in the race. When we look back now, Arsenal FC needed only two victories (six points) from the last five EPL fixtures to be 4th. However, they have collected only four. There were no derby matches involved at all, which just makes the final standings more painful. Overall, the number of victories achieved on the road (only 7) is too low to achieve some significant success in the EPL.
Some of the brightest spots we would like to mention is long term stability when it comes to efficiency. This was secured by pairing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up front. Both players have had amazing records and scored a lot of goals. Aubameyang even won the Golden Boot, while also being awarded as the player of the year by choice of Arsenal’s fans. There is a lot of room for optimism when it comes to season 2018/2019, but there have to be many improvements in the back line. Here are some stats when it comes to defending:
– Arsenal conceded 51 goals in 38 games in the previous season
– Tottenham and Chelsea allowed only 39
– Man City and Liverpool conceded only 22/23 goals
It is more than obvious that something has to be done in order to become competitive again. Some of the players definitely should be replaced. It is also fair to mention there were numerous injuries for defenders throughout the whole year.
Performance in Cups
Truth be told, Arsenal FC were nowhere close to winning a cup trophy this season. Both appearances in the FA Cup or the EFL Cup have ended in the early stages. Right after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as the new head manager of Man Utd, Arsenal have faced the Red Devils. They got defeated quite easily 3-1 in front of the home crowd.
When it comes to the EFL Cup, Arsenal have successfully skipped all lower division teams before facing Tottenham in the Last 8 round. Lilywhites were more successful and advanced to the next round.
Performances in the Europa League are marked as a success. The squad took a big majority of these very seriously, with a couple of exceptions in the group stages. We all enjoyed watching some brilliant football in a 7-3 victory on aggregate against Valencia CF. Aubameyang had one of the best matches in his career in game number two in Spain. The final of course wasn’t meant to be. Arsenal are currently 10/1 to win the Europa League with the Best Betting Sites In the UK, while Man Utd are at 6/1 and AC Milan at 14/1.
Which Players Performed Well?
Besides the attacking duo we mentioned above, there is only one player we would like to mention here. Aaron Ramsey had missed the first part of the season because of an injury, but his return had significantly improved the results overall. The Welshman was one of the key pieces of machinery in the midfield. There was no agreement between him and the board though, as he left Emirates this summer and joined Juventus. There has to be a proper replacement brought in the upcoming weeks. Someone has to feed Lacazette and Aubameyang with goal opportunities right?
Players Who Should Leave Or Get Benched?
Shkodran Mustafi is at the top of this list for us. He was nowhere close to the form he showed playing for Valencia CF in 2015 and 2016. This player has made numerous mistakes which had a direct impact on final results. The fans are not happy with the way he performed at all, so don’t be surprised to see the German leave London in the upcoming months.
Sead Kolasinac has been solid when it comes to offensive players, but he is hardly going to become a standard member of starting roster without improving in the back.
First Impressions About Emery?
Even though he’s been around for one season, there are already groups of fans demanding Unai Emery’s departure, not appreciating Europa League finals achievement. Even Wenger or Sir Alex Ferguson have started their managerial campaigns with questionable results, so it would be unfair to judge a book by its covers. The upcoming season though leaves no room for slacking. Fans want a trophy and to stay competitive in the EPL title race. The club is stagnating too much when it comes to English top tier division of football. Emery has a list of players he would like to see at the Emirates. Now it is up to the board either to approve it or decline.
Season 2018/2019 was not unsuccessful. The whole uproar created by the departure of Wenger was huge, so it takes time for wounds to heal. Reaching Europa League finals, while ending 5th in the EPL, above Man Utd, can hardly be described as a failure. Transfers in the upcoming weeks are surely going to play a huge role in establishing a team for long-term success. If Arsenal spends at least 60% of the money on new players as their opponents do, the success is almost guaranteed.