If it’s a silver lining to Arsenal not spending a lot of money this summer you’re after, here’s one for you: Spurs have proven that signings mean nothing.
Okay, so perhaps that’s not quite the inspirational motivation you had in mind, but you’ve got to hand it to them – Tottenham did exceptionally well to have the season they did, even if that meant losing a third of their league games and VAR giving them a huge helping hand in reaching the Champions League final.
But the good news is panic over bringing new players in needn’t be a sign of a dreadful season to come. And when you think about it, there’s plenty to suggest that there’s no reason why the existing squad can’t make improvements on last year – here’s why:
One of Arsenal’s big problems last year was their away form. The Gunners have won as many away games in the league as they did in cup competitions since the turn of the year.
That’s despite going on a run of five straight away victories in all competitions earlier in the season – so the issue seems psychological more than anything, which suggests it is already within Arsenal’s means to rectify their chronic homesickness.
As for the form during April and May that derailed the entire season regardless of location, if you look at the goals that cost The Gunners over that period of time (Phil Jagielka’s for Everton, Wilfried Zaha’s for Crystal Palace, and arguably every Wolves goal), the majority came to down to either individual errors or poor defensive setups – things that can be eradicated and improved upon on the training pitch.
Should Arsenal make ground up there in the forthcoming campaign, The Gunners could be looking at a points total north of 80 points. That’s because almost all of the big home games saw some of the best Arsenal’s performances under Unai Emery to date, with victories over Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United allowing Arsenal’s home record to go largely unblemished (until Palace came to town, of course).
Consistency at home and away will be the key to Arsenal’s success next season – not securing a mega-money transfer.
Given how bad the form was towards the end of last season, Arsenal could have made qualifying for the Champions League a breeze. They have a 50-goal strike partnership at their disposal, for crying out loud. Players performed below their potential last year – Mesut Ozil only assisted a few times last season and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still helped himself to 31 goals – just imagine both of them on top form at the same time.
It shows Arsenal are more than equipped to accrue the results they require to get back into the Champions League. Yes, more players – and better players – may help, but there’s nothing to suggest that the foundations in place don’t already provide a platform to deliver elite European football back to The Emirates.