Bet Slip

No Bets Added

How Do Arsenal Bounce Back Under Mikel Arteta Next Season?


How Do Arsenal Bounce Back Under Mikel Arteta Next Season?

After a disappointing fifth-place finish for Arsenal this season, there is scrutiny on manager Mikel Arteta after yet another season of perceived failure.

Despite being in fourth place and six points ahead of their North London rivals after 26 games played, the Gunners conspired to throw it all away, with damaging defeats to Southampton, Newcastle and Brighton ensuring that Arsenal missed out on the Champions League for a sixth consecutive season.

Fans are now becoming impatient with how there is seemingly no change in Arsenal since Arteta took over, and there is now increased scrutiny on the Spaniard as he heads into what will be his third summer transfer window at the club. So, how can Arsenal bounce back next season under Arteta?

Emirates Stadium Arsenal

Premier League Top 4 Finish 22/23

skybet logo
Arsenal @ 7/4

A Strong Transfer Window

Arsenal spent over £140m on six players in the summer, with full-backs Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, centre-half Ben White and midfielders Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard all joining the club – the club heavily backed Arteta.

A return to Europe’s elite competition was expected. But ultimately, after many damaging losses over the course of the season, Europa League football once again awaits the Gunners next season.

Arsenal lost a stunning 13 games in the Premier League (losing their opening three games of the season on the bounce) and it was the nature of some of those defeats that caused concern – in many of them, Arsenal were spineless and were unable to control games, despite often dominating possession and having more shots than their opposition.

It is widely expected that Arteta will be heavily backed this summer as the club will try to target a place in the Champions League next season. A strong transfer window is imperative if Arsenal want to make any progress and finally get a spot in European football’s top competition.

At the halfway point of the season when the January transfer window was open, Arteta was vocal about his need for a midfielder and a striker, as the club targeted a top-four finish. But ultimately, he didn’t get what he wanted – instead, there was a mass exodus of players at the club.

Overall, 14 players left the club in January through permanent transfers or loan deals, and five of these were first-team players – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona, Calum Chambers joined Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, Sead Kolasinac joined Marseille, and Pablo Mari and Ainsley Maitland-Niles departed for Udinese and Roma on loan respectively.

Arsenal were left with only a 19-man squad, and it was a squad ultimately lacking in depth and quality. The squad was wafer-thin, and many times academy players had to be named on the bench just to fill out the matchday squad. For example, when Thomas Partey got injured, Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga were called upon to replace him, and whenever Kieran Tierney was out, the erratic Nuno Tavares was selected in his place – although they are good players, there is a reason they are usually sat on the bench – these players are not good enough to be starters.

It is vital that the club have a busy summer window to address all the problems in their squad – they need quality players who can challenge for first-team places and improve the squad overall, they need players who are available and ready to step in should there be any injuries (of which Arsenal suffered many this season).

At a minimum, Arsenal will need six high-quality players. Kieran Tierney has a well-documented history of injury problems, so can not be relied upon for a full season and Takehiro Tomiyasu has also missed quite a few games this season, so quality cover in the full-back position is vital.

In midfield, Thomas Partey has missed 12 league games through injury this season, so cover is needed for the Ghanaian, but the Gunners need depth in that area generally, with Granit Xhaka still unconvincing and young Albert Sambi Lokonga raw and unproven. Nicolas Pepe has failed to impress since joining from Lille, and although impressive, there has been too much reliance and responsibility placed on young stars Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, so a winger is needed as well.

At one stage it looked like the Gunners would need at least two strikers, with Aubameyang having already left the club, and Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette both out of contract at the end of June, however, Nketiah now looks to be penning a five-year contract at the Emirates Stadium, meaning only one is required.

Aubameyang, Barcelona
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona in the January Transfer Window.

Keeping Key Players Fit

Despite only having the Premier League to play in and the occasional FA Cup or Carabao Cup match, (with no European football) Arsenal were essentially playing just one game a week for most of the season.

But, despite a relatively easy schedule, the Gunners had a raft of injuries at key points throughout the season that derailed any momentum they had, and ultimately, this contributed to them missing out on the Champions League.

Had the likes of Tierney and Partey been fit, it is likely that Arsenal would’ve got over the line. But in all competitions this season Partey missed 13 games and so did Tierney, and fellow full-back Tomiyasu out since January and only making a return to the team when there were just five games of the season left to go.

Arsenal could sort out their injury problems with replacements to medical staff - for many years, fans have bemoaned the injury problems suffered by key players every season, and have blamed the team’s medical staff for their seeming inability to do their job properly, as the same issues keep afflicting the Gunners.

This summer, the club’s head of performance, Shad Forsythe, is leaving, and Arsenal may be on the lookout for more medical personnel to recruit to their backroom staff. A top replacement is needed to ensure injuries don’t reoccur so that the club can challenge across a season.

With a fit squad, Arsenal are a quality side to watch and can grind out results, so improvements on the medical side could see an upturn in fortunes for the Gunners.