Football Season Guide



Lucas Torreira (mid) Sampdoria; Bernd Leno (gk) Bayer Leverkusen; Sokratis (def) Borussia Dortmund; Matteo Guendouzi (mid) Lorient; Stephan Lichsteiner (def) Juventus; Lucas Perez (att) Deportivo La Coruna – end of loan; Chuba Akpom (att) Sint-Truiden – end of loan; Joel Campbell (att) Real Betis – end of loan; Emiliano Martinez (gk) Getafe – end of loan;


Jack Wilshere (sp) (mid) West Ham; Santi Cazorla (sp) (mid) Villarreal; Per Mertesacker (sp) (def) end of career; Matt Macey (gk) Plymouth – on loan; Takuma Asano (att) Hannover 96 – on loan; Calum Chambers (def) Fulham – on loan; Lucas Perez (att) West Ham;

After 22 years of French romance Wenger’s Era came to an end last May and Arsenal are now embarking on a fresh journey with Unai Emery in charge. Two consecutive seasons without a top four finish set the bar relatively low for the new gaffer, but still he seems eager to put his own unique stamp on the displays. Emery is set to use 4-3-3 as a formation, although with Ozil playing much higher up the pitch than the other two inner midfielders this could easily be seen as a 4-2-3-1 system. No major departures in terms of players happened this summer, while at the same time at least four of the five new arrivals are seen as squad members that will be getting lots of playing time. Leno is the most likely new starter in goal, while Sokratis provides an excellent new option in the heart of the defence. Torreira and Guendouzi will add extra competition in midfield where Arsenal are blessed with plenty of talent anyway. Unlike his predecessor Emery is happy to trust both Lacazette and Aubameyang at the same time on the pitch, with the latter used predominantly down the left wing in pre-season. Mkhitaryan is the other main member of the lethal-looking front trio, while Ozil looks a rejuvenated playmaker under the new manager and the German might be the most important member of the squad this season if he rediscovers his form from his Real years. The Gunners have depth too and many of their supporting squad members hope to be given a chance by Emery. They will definitely have the opportunity to shine in Europa League where Arsenal are again expected to trust mainly reserves. Emery is not known for naivety and Arsenal shouldn’t be as susceptible to being caught on counterattack under their new manager as they were under Wenger, plus the gaffer has never used a back three in the past and he is not expected to veer from the solid formation with four defenders all season.


Top four finish is a must, with the Gunners having enough quality to achieve it. Challenging for the title will be a difficult task though as at least two other teams look stronger than Arsenal on paper.