Arsenal: Premier League Preview

This is an enormous season for the Gunners and for Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal finished 5th in last seasons Premier League, it is the first time in 20 years that Arsenal have failed to finish in the top four.

It is also the first time during Arsene Wenger’s tenure that the Gunners have finished below Tottenham, with the balance of power in North London seemingly shifting.

With a new two-year contract extension the Frenchman will be looking to deliver the Premier League title, that has to be their aim.

In the absence of Champions League football they find themselves in the Europa League, given United’s success last season they will be targeting a first major European trophy.

 

Premier League

Arsenal’s opening fixture of this brand new Premier League campaign is against Leicester City on Friday 11th August, at the Emirates Stadium.

Their next four fixtures are:

 

Stoke (A) 19th August

Liverpool (A) 28th August

Bournemouth (H) 9th September

Chelsea (A) 17th September

 

This will be a tough set of opening fixtures for the Gunners, with trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge inside the first month.

The Gunners don’t have a prolific record at either ground but they will be targeting maximum points against Leicester, Stoke and Bournemouth.

Their record against the top six last season was poor, they won two games against top six opposition, beating Chelsea and Manchester United.

Arsenal managed 23 wins during their last campaign ending the season with 75 points, which was 18 less than title winners Chelsea.

Surprisingly that was an improvement on the 2015/16 campaign, where they won 20 matches and registered just 71 points and finished runners up to Leicester.

 

European Football

As a result of finishing fifth, the Gunners find themselves in the Europa League, historically teams competing in this competition have found it a tough act to balance.

Manchester United failed to produce an assault on both the Premier League and Europa League, they prioritised the competition as a way of getting into the Champions League in the end.

Given Arsenal’s prolonged period of failure in the league, it is a very tough balancing act that Wenger must now take.

Playing fixtures on a Thursday and then playing on the Sunday or Monday will place huge demands on the Arsenal players.

But it is also an excellent opportunity to deliver a major European trophy for Arsenal, something Wenger sorely needs to deliver.

 

Transfer Activity

If Arsenal are to compete on all fronts they will need to strengthen their squad, bringing in quality to enhance both the squad and first team.

They have already completed the marquee signing of Alexandre Lacazette, who has been an excellent player for Lyon.

The main challenge for Arsenal will be to hold on to key players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Ozil appears to have committed his future but Sanchez has been targeted by a host of top European clubs.

Manchester City, PSG, Juventus and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest in the Chile International.

Keeping hold of him even for one more year would be a massive statement of intent for the Gunners.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain also looks set to depart the club, with Olivier Giroud linked with Marseille and West Ham.

 

Transfers In: Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon)

Transfers Out: Wojciech Szczesny

One To Watch

Alexandre Lacazette is the one to watch for Arsenal this season.

The Frenchman scored 28 goals for the Ligue 1 outfit last season, more than all of Arsenal’s strikers combined.

His pace and style are electric, the Gunners will be delighted to have secured his signature after a move to Atletico fell through.

Arsenal will need his goals if they are to mount a serious title and European charge.

 

Betting Tips

 

To win the 17/18 Premier League outright @ 11/1

To secure a top four finish @ 10/11

To win the UEFA Europa League 17/18 @ 9/1