Next up is Arsenal and it was some season for the north London club. Arsène Wenger’s final season, around £100 million invested in strikers, there’s a lot to talk about and not a lot of it is good to be honest, this is going to be a rough one for Arsenal fans.
Finishing Position: 6th
Top Scorer: Alexandre Lacazette (17 in all competitions, 14 in the Premier League)
Record (Premier League): 19W 6D 13L
Goals Scored (Premier League): 74
Goals Conceded (Premier League): 51
- Time For Change
- Arsène Wenger has undoubtedly done some great things in his time at Arsenal, but it is no secret that over the last few seasons performances have been getting worse and this season really put that on display. However, announced that he will be leaving at the end of the season and despite the fact I like him and I think he still has a lot to offer as a manger, I do feel there is nothing else he can do for Arsenal. This news means that starting from next season, Arsenal can get a real fresh start that they have been in desperate need of for a long time. There are several changes that will need to be made throughout the structure of the club and Arsène Wenger leaving will not fix everything, but I do think this is a real indication that we will be seeing some big changes at Arsenal and that is exactly what they need.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- I chose to put Aubameyang here and not select him as my key player for the season because I believe that it is what Aubameyang represents that is a big part of why he has been such a big positive for the team since he arrived. Aubameyang has scored 10 goals since he arrived in January, more than anyone else at the club in that time and he has looked great almost every time he has played, I expect great things from Aubameyang’s first full season and I believe he can deliver, which is something that has to get Arsenal fans excited.
- No Champions League
- This is probably the biggest disappointment of the season for Arsenal, not only do the fans miss out on the experience of Europe’s most elite club competition, but also the club miss out on the allure of the Champions League for potential transfer targets, which could hold them back as they look to improve the squad in the summer.
- Most Losses in the League for 2 Decades
- Arsenal lost 13 times in the league this season, 3 more times than Chelsea who finished 5th and once more than Burnley who finished 7th. This is simply not good enough for a team of Arsenal’s , the last time Arsenal lost more than 13 games in the league was in the 94/95 season when they lost 17 times finished 12th.
- Most Goals Conceded in the League for 3 Decades
- Arsenal Conceded 51 goals in the league this season, 12 more than the next lowest, Burnley, who finished 7th and conceded only 39 goals. The last time Arsenal conceded more than 51 goals in the league was in the 83/84 season, over 30 years ago, when they conceded 60 and also finished 6th.
- Poor Performances in Domestic Cups
- Arsenal actually played quite well in the League Cup and reached the final, but the abysmal way in which they lost the final 3-0 to Manchester City made it feel like it was all for literally nothing. What made this even worse was that Arsenal had already been knocked out of the FA cup at the hands of Nottingham Forrest in an equally woeful performance a month earlier which meant that there was no hope of a domestic trophy to save Arsenal’s season.
- Europa League Exit
- Much like the League Cup, the majority of Arsenal’s performances in the Europa League were okay, however, the manner in which they were knocked out by Atlético Madrid, which involved some calamitous defending that lead to Antoine Griezmann’s winner. It certainly felt like Arsenal could have done better and should not have conceded that quite easily avoidable goal and so it left quite a sour taste in many Arsenal fans’ mouths.
Key Player: Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey has been a dependable part of the Arsenal team this season, he has his flaws, but he always works hard and is quite technically gifted. With 11 goals and 9 assists in all competitions this season he actually has a fair amount to show for his efforts, something that cannot be said about a large amount of players from this Arsenal squad. Ramsey often gets quite a bit of stick and I believe that’s unfair, while he’s no world-beater, I think Arsenal are definitely a better side when he’s in the team.
Manager Evaluation: Arsène Wenger
Lowest league finish with Arsenal
Arsène Wenger has given so much to Arsenal and to English football, so it was quite a shame to see his last season with the club go as poorly as it did. There really was a part of me that thought Arsenal would win the Europa League and there would be one more celebration before he left, but it didn’t end that way. Unfortunately, this has been a long time coming, since the “Invincibles” in the 03/04 season, Arsenal have had an average finishing position of 3.6 ≈ 4th, they have never really been serious title contenders since then and have failed to finish in the top four in the past two seasons. Wenger has nothing left to offer Arsenal, they need an intense shake-up and this season was a testament to that.
Overall, Arsenal massively missed the mark this season , most of the new arrivals failed to make a significant impact and they will be playing in the Europa League again next season as a result. It has not been a total disaster, the “top 6” is very competitive, but the fact is that they remain a part of the “top 6” and given its volatile nature, they could work there way back into the top 4, however, they seem way off the pace at the moment. Arsenal fans cannot be happy with their team’s performance this season and must expect better from the squad next season, lucky for them, I do believe the future looks brighter and I would expect them to have a considerably better season next year, but next season is make or break, a third successive season without Champions League football could badly damage the club, so a repeat of this year would be a disaster.
Season Rating: 4/10
photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7332125@N04/38012083536″>17 Ramsey goal celebrations IMG_3813</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>