Arsenal FC, undoubtedly the most decorated club in London, had a pretty dismal 2016/17 campaign. Their seasons seem to follow a trend- title-contenders till November; falling short of promise post-Christmas; settling for European football in the business end of the season.
While many fans point fingers towards Arsene Wenger’s lack of using the chequebook, the real problem lies in maintaining the level of consistency shown early on in the season throughout the campaign.
The red side of London has seen the acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolašinac, and are actively in the market for another attacking outlet.
Let’s assess the formations, tactics and style of play Arsene Wenger could implement in the next season.
Arsene Wenger had used 4-2-3-1 in the first half of the season, before switching to the more successful 3-4-3.
Sead Kolašinac and Hector Bellerin will be focal to much of Arsenal’s fluidity in the next season, as Wenger will look to continue with the 3-4-3 formation. Central midfield will see the pairing of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, who will play above the defensive trio of Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny.
The attacking trio of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil will be the obvious choice with backup in the form of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin provide the much-needed depth in midfield.
- The signing of Alexandre Lacazette is a step in the right direction for Arsenal. The fans had yearned for a proper, pacy #9 who could complement the magnificent service being provided by their midfield magicians and Lacazette ticks all those boxes. An upgrade to Olivier Giroud, he could even be used as a winger to accommodate another attacker on the side. Ozil and Sanchez now have a lethal finisher playing at the focal point of the attacking trio and can expect to add some more assists to their already impressive tally.
- Sead Kolašinac is another promising signing. His arrival for free from FC Schalke is business well done indeed. His physical prowess is commendable and he has the pace to outrun the opposition full-backs. A typical Wenger signing, expect him to feature for the majority of next season.
- Switching to a 3-4-3 formation in the dying end of the last campaign was a fruitful decision for Arsene Wenger as his side went on to win the FA Cup. The formation will surely be tinkered by ‘Le Professeur’, and we shall wait to see how Arsenal turn up in the next campaign!
- Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have less than a year left on both of their contracts. Arsene Wenger has had to take his time to think about whether to sell them with a year left on their contract or risk losing them for a free in the next transfer window. This situation evokes a lot of uncertainties, which at this time, are more or less what the club does not need as it aims to better their position in the Premier League.
- Arsenal’s fairytale run of 20 consecutive years in the Champions League has finally come to an end. They now face European competition in the second-tier of European Championships, the Europa League. For a team that aims at outperforming the rest of their competition in the league next and cup competitions next season, their performance in the transfer window has been dismal. With less than 3 weeks to go for the closure of the Summer transfer window, the likelihood of Arsenal signing another player seems bleak. While they possess the required strength in depth in the squad, their midfield boasts of injury prone players in the form of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin. They lack a proper ball playing midfielder who could provide another outlet in attack. Their involvement in the Europa League, Premier League and other domestic competitions may see them being involved in over 65 games this season. Do they possess the squad to tackle those games head on? Only time will tell.
Predicted Finish: Top 4
Key Players: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil