Arsenal finally ripped the proverbial bandage off when Arsene Wenger left the club at the end of the 2017-2018 Premier League campaign. What’s more is that they made a splashy hire for a new manager by bringing in former Paris Saint-Germain skipper Unai Emery. Now that they have located their manager, will they have what it takes to turn their fortunes around and get back into contention in the Premier League?
A huge positive of hiring a manager like Emery is the fact that he has had success domestically in the past. His Paris Saint-Germain teams demolished the French Ligue 1 time and time again. Of course, it is worth noting that Ligue 1 is historically weaker from a competition standpoint than the Premier League. This could mean some growing pains for Emery, who certainly will not be able to coast to domestic title after domestic title anymore.
Last season, Arsenal finished 37 points behind champions Manchester City. And while City more than likely will not be able to replicate the best season in the history of the league, they may not have to in order to finish atop the league once again. What this says is that Chelsea have to make some moves in order to catch up to the blue side of Manchester from a competitive standpoint. So far, Emery has seemed more than willing to do that.
One such move that appears to be on the table for Arsenal is one to bring Ever Banega to the Emirates. The Argentinean star would continue a trend of Arsenal signing strong players in the midfield and up front to threaten the top teams in the league. With players like Lacazette and Aubameyang also ready to make an impact, adding Banega can make for another big step toward transforming the club from the bargain hunting team they were for a lot of Wenger’s final act into a legitimate transfer destination.
Emery also seems comfortable getting rid of some of the less useful players within the team, even if it upsets some supporters. One early example of this is the decision to move on from Jack Wilshere. Wilshere was a fine player, but his constant injuries made him anything but a reliable member of the squad. Emery’s decision to move on from him is a great sign that he is willing to make the necessary changes to win.
After a rough season, Arsenal are 9/4 at William Hill to get back into the top four. With Chelsea set to improve after moving on from Antonio Conte, and Spurs, Liverpool, United and City all looking strong heading into the new campaign, it is going to take a ton of effort for Arsenal to surpass the current short list of titans in the Premier League.
While this might end up being the biggest challenge of Unai Emery’s career, he should look to Arsene Wenger and realise that he could earn the undying support of the Emirates faithful in the same way if he performs well.