Arsenal Football Club is about to enter a new era. After years of frustration, complaining and protesting, the majority of fans got their way: Arsene Wenger has left the club.
The Gunners acted quickly and effectively to appoint former Paris Saint-Germain boss Unai Emery at the helm and fans are split on whether he is the right man for the job or not. Only time will tell but supporters may be pining for a Wenger return come Christmas.
That previous statement may be a little unfair – Emery has shown enough throughout his managerial career to suggest that he can take Arsenal back to the Champions League.
The 46-year-old led Sevilla to three successive Europa League triumphs prior to joining PSG and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Gunners challenging for silverware in the not-so-distant future. A Europa League victory in 2018/19 would certainly go down well with the Emirates Stadium faithful.
Replacing a manager of Wenger’s stature is a near-impossible task; just ask David Moyes. In many ways, taking over from Wenger now is much easier than taking over from Wenger a decade or so ago.
Most of the Arsenal fanbase agree that a change was needed and Emery will have their full support – getting off to a good start is important though. Not even the most ardent Gunners fan will be expecting a title challenge next season but a top-four berth is not unreasonable.
Arsenal’s miserable away form cannot continue into the new campaign – Emery must make fixing those woes a priority. Incredibly, the Gunners have won just one game away from the Emirates Stadium during this calendar year and we are now in June.
Wenger’s side were the last team in England’s top four divisions to claim an away win in 2018, a statistic that shows the extent of their troubles on the road. You cannot expect to finish in the Champions League places with such a poor away record – it is as simple as that.
🔴 @Arsenal’s Away Form In 2018:
❌ 2-1 vs Bournemouth
❌ 3-1 vs Swansea
❌ 1-0 vs Tottenham
❌ 2-1 vs Brighton
❌ 2-1 vs Newcastle
❌ 2-1 vs Man Utd
❌ 3-1 vs Leicester
😳 The only side in England’s SIX divisions…to NOT win an away point this year. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/ob3vtcWs65
— SPORF (@Sporf) May 9, 2018
Mesut Ozil could be the key to success or failure in 2018/19. He received his fair share of criticism last season and the Germany international will be looking to silence his doubters in the coming months.
Ozil has been widely backed in World Cup 2018 tips to finish as the top assist maker this summer and Arsenal could benefit directly if he builds confidence during the tournament. On his day, Ozil is still world class and Emery will want to bring consistency back to his game.
Arsenal supporters are hopeful of big things next season but most are expecting another tough campaign. Those low levels of expectation could play into Unai Emery’s hands though as he looks to lead the Gunners back to the Champions League.
Qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition in 2019/20 is the top priority for Arsenal next season; anything else is a bonus. A top-four berth or even Europa League success would certainly satisfy the Emirates fan base and Emery would immediately endear himself to the Gunners faithful.