Arsenal are aiming to go one better than last season’s fifth placed finish
Gone is the free jazz of the Arsene Wenger era. Arteta’s orchestra must know the parts of him deep in his brain. Arsenal could seem routine at times, a team capable of hitting all the notes but not necessarily imbuing them with the spirit of props. But after hitting rock bottom in the early years of their current coach’s tenure, last season brought a sense that this team had learned their rhythms well enough to have some fun with them. There’s no need to go completely off script, but maybe now these bright youngsters can indulge in their improvisational tendencies from time to time.
There’s no need to go completely off script, but perhaps now these bright young things might be able to indulge their improvisational tendencies now and then.
Arsenal would end last season in credit with supporters who were finally brought back on side after years of rancor and division. They will not need reminding of how much more joyous it could have been, but for the neutrals in the audience, it could be argued that Arteta’s side squandered fourth place, Champions League qualification and St. Totteringham’s Day not once but twice. First the opportunity to open daylight between themselves and the chasing pack was frittered away in a run of defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. They followed that up by beating three of the top seven before back to back defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle saw fourth ripped from their grasp in the final week.
And yet the pessimism that had so often engulfed North London when they had been defeated by their great rival did not materialize. Perhaps it helped that the areas for improvement were so blindingly obvious. Arsenal needed someone who could reliably put the ball into the net. Tottenham had two of them, harry kane other Heung-min sonwhich combined for 40 goals. Eddie Nketiah he became the Gunners’ highest scoring Premier League striker on the final day of the season with his fifth of the campaign.
Arsenal have felt like a team that is just a top striker far from anything special. If the Brazilian is the missing piece, then this could be quite a year in north London.
- Finish Premier League: 4th
- Top scorer: Gabriel Jesus
- Player of the Season: Martin Odegaard
- Something unexpected: Arsenal manages to go through a season without major captaincy crises