So the season is finally over and everyone will get a much needed break. Arteta needs a break. Many of the players need a break. The supporters need a break. However, Kroenke and Co. do not need a break but need to work their socks off to salvage their involvement in the club. This summer will be crucial.
There will be no European football and after finishing twice 8th in the PL, next season is all about making real progress in the PL and maybe win a domestic cup competition. We can really do without the management and players having a game late on Thursday and then having little time to prepare for the league game. All European games should of course be played on Tuesday/Wednesday but we all know why that is not the case. Thursdays = Spursdays, whereas we need to be in the A-games.
I have high hopes for next season. Once you decide to do things significantly different, it always takes time to embed them. Arteta is learning fast and has guided Arsenal onto the road of recovery. The third best team in the PL since January should be noticed. That is a significant period. We were also a little bit of luck away from making it to the final of the Europa League. Arteta has beaten at least once all main top-four competitors in his fledgling management career. We finished the season with a strong defence and a number of good back up players. The centre of midfield has options with Partey, Xhaka and Elneny able to share the load between them. ESR and Saka bring the extra attacking dimension and we have experienced strikers to take chances when they arise. Pepe and Laca have come good in 2021. Tierney, Soares and Chambers offer good full back options.
There are a few areas that need addressing. I would love to hear your views re this.
If you ask me I would say we need to:
- Think carefully about the nr1 goalkeeper position. Leno can be great at times but he is not settling nerves in the team when it matters. A keeper who is more confident in the air and whilst passing the ball out would be great.
- Look for a good back-up on the LFB position. Tierney will get injured occasionally and Xhaka is not the ideal solution.
- Buy another Beast of a Midfielder. Xhaka is getting on a bit and Partey is not the sort of player who can play 38 PL games at a full force. We need another one there and this would be my priority. Elneny to stay of course.
- We need another attacking midfielder who can create things whilst also working hard. ESR was a revelation this season. Odegaard at least occasionally showed us what we had been missing. If we can improve on the talented Norwegian then that would be great. MO11 for another season (at least) would be great too. He will grow and grow.
- Finally, I would love another CF, one with great physical presence in the box and who loves high balls into the box.
Of course we need to make space and free-up money for this and I have no doubt that this will happen as part of Arteta’s evolution.