Ita s a brand new season and Arsenal are off to a bright start as they successfully defended the Community Shield with a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday. There seems to be a quiet confidence among the players, the manager and the fans that this season could be the one where they finally bid a successful tilt at the league title. But whether they can actually pull it off or it will be yet another season of what might have been remains to be seen.
Here are a few things that can be expected from Arsenal this season.
After what seems to be a really long time, Arsene Wenger looks to have finally solved the problem in defence. For a long time, he has been accused of not being putting enough effort in signing excellent defenders, and the widely skewed success rates in terms of defensive and attacking players proves the point. But now, Arsenal seem to have a steady back 5, with the signing of Petr Cech from Arsenal giving that much more assurance to the entire team. There is no doubt that clean sheets win you titles, and with the Gunners having a threatening backline for the first time in a long period, it will be a lot harder for teams to beat them.
Another aspect of Arsenala s game that they usually get criticized for is the tendency to walk the ball into the goal. Over-elaborate play in and around the opposition goal usually means that an opportunity is wasted in the quest for a perfect goal, and therefore, despite creating a lot of chances, Arsenal tend not to score as many goals as they should. But in recent seasons, the Gunners have taken shots on goal when previously they would have tried some more passes. While the results may not have been far too different, the likes of Ramsey, Giroud, Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain are willing to take a risk and shoot on goal. While Ozil and Cazorla possibly still want to pass and move, with the others trying to take their chances, opposition defenders would be wary of giving them that space outside the box, which in itself would open up more opportunities for players to make their runs into gaps.
Well-oiled midfield machine
The midfield is more or less set in the team, with Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla and Coquelin definite starters, while Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain will likely vie for the right wing position. The only worry for Arsenal would be a replacement for Coquelin in case he gets injured, with only Arteta as the likely option. Rumours have been floating around that Flamini is set to be sold off and Arsene Wenger should sign another defensive midfielder if he doesn’t want his side to be in a vulnerable position. However, he will more likely look at Calum Chambers as another option to play in midfield and give him the chance rather than spending money on another player.
With Walcott having signed an extension with Arsenal, it is very likely that he will deployed in the central striker role that he so craves. In fact, Wenger chose to go with Walcott over Giroud in both the FA Cup final and the Community Shield, and it may very well be the case for a few games into the season at least. However, Giroud offers an option that Walcott has struggled with, and that is holding the ball up. Welbeck has also been better at that than Walcott and that might see him shunned to the right of midfield. With rumours of Karim Benzema picking up pace, Walcott needs to show that he can be trusted in the central striker role.
Arsene Wengera s tactics
While for years Arsene has stuck to the one game plan fits all matches philosophy, last season saw the manager being a little more open to tinkering based on the opposition. Starting with the game against Manchester City in the second half of the season, Arsenal showed that they would be able to change their game plan based on how tough the opposition. While they bulldozed past weaker opposition, they were more pragmatic against tougher opponents. As a result, they had a very successful end to their season, culminating in another FA Cup and a 3rd place finish. One can expect Arsene to continue to do the same, especially after the way Arsenal shut out Chelsea after opening the scoring.
Whether all this would mean that Arsenal can finally win the league is for us wait and see.