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Arsenal preseason preview: 3 positives and negatives in Emery's second summer

After narrowly missing out on Champions League football last season, Arsenal's main goal going into the 2019/2020 season was always going to be centred on securing a top four finish – a feat that will not be easy by any means, but a very doable one nonetheless.

The events of the final few weeks of the transfer window have given the Gunners renewed hope going into the new campaign.

Here's a look at some of the positives surrounding Unai Emery's men as well as the negatives as we head into the long-awaited 2019/2020 Premier League season.


Transfer Business

At the start of the transfer window, things were looking incredibly bleak for the Gunners; They had a '£45 million' transfer budget to work with, which was basically peanuts thanks to the insane valuation of world-class players in the transfer market.

The Gunners were turned into a laughing stock on social media following bids for the likes of Wilfried Zaha (which was rejected for not meeting Crystal Palace's valuation of the player) and Celtic right-back Kieran Tierney.

Things began to brighten up for the Gunners after securing the services of Real Madrid starlet, Dani Ceballos on a temporary basis – a shrewd piece of business, but good business nonetheless.

Arsenal have since managed to sign Tierney on a permanent basis along with former Lille man, Nicolas Pepe, who was one of the best players in Europe last season thus giving the club's supporters a reason to be optimistic about what the season holds for them.

Arsenal have somehow managed to turn their fortunes around and could, based on their transfer business, be a real contender alongside Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title.

A Joyous Fanbase

Arsenal's last-minute acquisitions has sent their fans buzzing. The mood amongst Arsenal fans only a couple of weeks ago was one of seemingly endless pessimism, as they were expecting another campaign marred by bad spells and just a general lack of quality in comparison to their rivals.

Whilst Arsenal don't exactly have the best team within the top six at the moment, they're not lagging behind by any means, in fact, it's fair to say that Unai Emery's Arsenal could prove to be a dark horse this season.

The joyous mood Arsenal fans currently share will undoubtedly rub off on the Gunners when the new season commences thus giving Unai Emery's men more reason to perform well in a bid to avoid letting their expectant fans down.

Emery's acclimation

Coming in from the French top-flight last season, Unai Emery has had a chance to understand the Premier League and its proceedings and thus, is poised to take the league by storm this season.

Bar Arsenal's poor finish last season, Emery steered the club towards the right direction for majority of the 2018/19 campaign; the Gunners were just simply unable to secure three points consistently due to a lack of quality in key areas, a problem that has been rather unexpectedly rectified.

Now that Emery has a great squad to work with, he is likely to take Arsenal to new heights in the Premier League and possibly the Europa League as the Spanish tactician looks to dominate on multiple fronts this season.



Unai Emery finds himself in a difficult situation where he must succeed or face a possible sack should Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.

Had Arsenal made shrewd business throughout the course of the transfer window with their '45 million' transfer budget, nobody would really expect anything much from them going into the new season bar maybe, at the very minimum, a top six finish.

Arsenal, though, have gone above and beyond with their spending ahead of the new campaign, and thus, they must justify their forays into the market with consistent results throughout the course of the season lest they risk another season of turning out every Thursday night against clubs far below their stature in the Europa League.

The Gunners have given their fans a reason to be optimistic about the new campaign, they cannot afford to turn that optimism into pessimism when the season gets underway.

New Signings Need time to Adapt

Arsenal's new signings may not hit the ground running considering the likes of Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe have no prior experience plying their trades in the Premier League, and thus; might struggle to find their form playing in an entirely different country and tactical set-up from what they're used to.

Whilst a lack of Premier League experience would be somewhat of a valid excuse for Arsenal's new signings should they fail to impress from the onset, hardly any Arsenal fan will care about that fact after waiting for so long to hear some good news from Emery's side only for the Gunners to give excuses for failure.

Nicolas Pepe who is by far Arsenal's most important signing of the window needs prove his doubters wrong when he makes his competitive debut for Arsenal as there are some doubts over his consistency following his below par performances at the African Cup of Nations.

A bang average defensive set-up

Despite their forays into the transfer market, Arsenal's defensive lineup remains bang average, which is expected to cost them a handful of points this season in typical Arsenal fashion.

The Gunners have the firepower to outscore most teams in the league, but against teams of a similar stature, or even their bogey teams so to speak, the Gunners are likely to struggle and drop points due to their inability to hold a lead and keep clean sheets on a consistent basis.

It will take at least one more season before Arsenal can assemble a squad worthy of being called legitimate title contenders due to their lack of quality in defence.

Phillip Ekuwem
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Phillip Ekuwem

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