Unai Emery enters his second season in charge at Arsenal, and with a limited transfer budget of £40 million, the Spanish manager has his work cut out to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish.
Arsenal missed out on Champions League football, failing to overcome the likes of Brighton at home in the latter stages of the season and pinning their hopes on winning the Europa League and entering the competition that way.
But Chelsea took Arsenal apart, leaving fans disappointed about another season in the Europa League and potentially struggle to entice any real quality to North London as a result.
Football betting suggests Arsenal have a lot of work to do to break into the top four, while Man City and Liverpool look set to battle it out for the title once more, having finished way ahead of the chasing pack.
Arch-rivals Spurs have finally opened their chequebook, bringing in Dembele from Lyon for over £66 million. Manchester United are making strides to bring in young, British talent while Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea has the potential to get the Blues back on track.
Aaron Ramsey’s departure will be a huge loss for Emery’s side, and you could argue the Welshman is irreplaceable at present. The midfielder left on a free to Juventus after having one of his best seasons in an Arsenal shirt, only irritating fans further about letting his contract run out.
An area where Arsenal simply needs to improve is at the heart of the defence. Arsenal proved time and time again last season, they were lacking a leader and physical presence across the back four. Arsenal’s away form failed to make the top 10 in the league, which was a major factor as to why they failed to make the top four.
It remains to be seen what Emery’s targets are this season, both from the board and the fans. Champions League qualification will be high on the agenda, but the Spaniard will be hoping to deliver a trophy, sooner rather than later.
What is clear is the fans expect. It isn’t all doom and gloom at Arsenal, who arguably have one of the best strike partnerships in the league. Aubameyang and Lacazette have proven popular with the fans, who would prefer to see them both play together more often than not, but Emery only seems to play one striker at a time.
Emery is up against it but it appears as though the vast majority of fans are willing to give him the opportunity to see what he can do. Fans are being more lenient due to the board refusing to put their hands in their pockets, but Arsenal still has certain players of quality who are able to improve on their fifth-place finish last season.