End of Season Report: Arsenal

22May 2013

England - Premier League

 

Arsenal secured Champions League football yet again, but is it becoming harder and harder for them to compete?

 

Season Summary - 4th

 

Another season and another Champions League berth for Arsenal for the sixteenth consecutive year. It did, admittedly, look like they might finally fall short after  flirting with obscurity for large parts of the season, but a run of 26 points from a possible 30 after being knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich was  enough to see off the more than credible challenge from local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

 

 

Talking Point

 

The key talking point at Arsenal is now becoming obvious in the shape of how long Arsene Wenger has left at the club. There were actually quite vocal calls for him to  step down during the team's indifferent run towards the beginning of the season, and with only a year left on his contract it's now becoming imperative to sort out  what happens post-Wenger. He'll fancy one more tilt at it next season, especially with what is happening elsewhere at the other top clubs, but he can't go on forever  and it may now be time to start preparing the ground for a successor.

 

 

Plus and Minus Points

 

An obvious plus point is that Arsenal will be dining at Europe's top table once again next season, and new signing Santi Cazorla has taken to the Premier League like a  duck to water. Lukas Podolski has looked decent in patches and will only improve with a season under his belt. Another potential positive for Arsenal is actually  nothing to do with them at all: There is huge upheaval at all of the other clubs that made up the top four this season and with Chelsea and Man City both changing  managers, along with the end of an era at Old Trafford, Wenger and Arsenal could see this as an opportune moment to fine tune their squad and make a serious impression  on the title race next term.

 

Olivier Giroud hasn't adapted brilliantly to English football yet, so that must go down as a minus point, albeit a small, watch-this-space one. Jack Wilshere's  continual injury concerns are also a negative, and he must prove his fitness consistently to be considered a player worth building a team around. He's got the lot, but  he's no use to Arsenal if he can't take to the field.

 

 

What next?

 

Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League every season Wenger has been in charge, but there is a feeling that it is starting to become harder and harder as the  years wear on. The stance on financial doping is an admirable one, but there comes a time when Arsenal need to actually play the game they're in, or choose not to  potentially at the behest of Champions League football. FFP rules may alter the landscape somewhat when they come into force, but it's clear that the Gunners need to  strengthen in the summer.

 

A plus for them is that they're unlikely to lose any personnel against their will this time round, something that has dogged them over recent years. At time of writing  only Bacary Sagna looks headed for the exit door and Wenger will likely make a replacement a priority unless he considers the inconsistent Carl Jenkinson to be a  viable long term solution.

 

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Keywords: End of Season, Arsenal

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