Mikel Arteta arrived at Arsenal with an enormous task at hand: to rebuild a crumbling Arsenal side. The manager has had a promising start to his career in the dugout and had made Arsenal look like one of the most promising teams in the league. Arteta stepped in to take Arsenal a step in the right direction and all the signs point to nothing but optimism in that side of north London. As the Gunners embark on a crucial Premier League campaign, here’s a preview of what 2020-21 could have in store for them.
Arsenal Premier League 2020-21 preview: Fresh faces, fresh impetus
Since the arrival of Mikel Arteta, Arsenal look redeemed. The manager has been instrumental in the resurrection of players like Granit Xhaka, David Luiz and even Shkodran Mustafi, all of whom were not having their best season and were close to leaving the club. The manager has created a buzzing atmosphere and Arsenal made a great comeback and ended with the season with silverware, defeating Man City en route to clinching it.
Arsenal’s defence the key
Mikel Arteta’s men have found some semblance of resilience at the back and have further strengthened their backline. The signing of Gabriel Magalhaes was a boost to Arsenal as the Brazilian centre-back was highly rated at Lille. He is likely to partner William Saliba in the heart of defence. According to Squawka, among all the players in Europe’s top five leagues to have played at least 900 minutes last season, only two have a better ‘pure tackle success rate’ than Saliba.
The Gunners have also signed Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari on permanent deals. Considering Soares has recovered from a spate of injuries, Mikel Arteta will, for the first time, have options to field in defence. However, David Luiz is reportedly a concern for their Premier League season opener against Fulham.
Young blood to provide drive
Mikel Arteta has not been afraid to hand first-team appearances to youngsters and all of them have fared decently, repaying Arteta’s faith with quality performances. Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson have all had a great season and have been impressing in bits and pieces. Maitland-Niles has been courting interest from Wolves but Arteta is now unwilling to let the youngster leave, especially after his Community Shield performance vs Liverpool.
A fresh squad with a renewed vigour
Free-agent Brazilian winger Willian was signed in the close season while Dani Ceballos has also been brought back on a loan deal from Real Madrid. Arteta has, therefore, retained the core that was part of his project when he signed on last season.
Mikel Arteta will have a huge task ahead of him as Arsenal’s performance in the Premier League did see too many crests and troughs. The Gunners have gone three seasons without Champions League football and are preparing for the fourth. The club too hasn’t tasted Premier League success ever since their golden season unbeaten back in 2003–04.
Arsenal Premier League 2020-21: Outgoings expected
Matteo Guendouzi is tipped to leave the Emirates after falling out with Arteta and the coaching staff. The player’s antics on and off the pitch haven’t gone down well with Arteta. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined AS Roma in a deal that is beneficial to all parties involved. Aston Villa are expected to table a third bid for Emiliano Martinez but the Gunners are reluctant to part ways with the ‘keeper. David Raya, on the other hand, is being targetted in case Martinez leaves and could hand in a transfer request at Brentford to try and force an exit. In other news, PSG are in talks with Arsenal to sign Matteo Guendouzi and could offer Julian Draxler in a swap deal. Arsenal are also looking at Lyon’s Houssem Aouar.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is arguably one of the best players in Arsenal’s squad. Even when Arsenal have struggled with form, the captain has been instrumental and has always led from the front. The Gabon maverick has consistently found the back of the net and will be key as Arsenal look to achieve more success.
Dani Ceballos returns to the Emirates following a promising second half with the club. With his brilliant range of passing the Spaniard will look to impress more fans and help Arsenal achieve more laurels.
First five games: Fulham (A), West Ham United (H), Liverpool (A), Sheffield United (H), Manchester City (A)
Arsenal Premier League 2020-2021 expectations
Arsenal head into the season having won the FA cup last season and the Community Shield. Arteta has managed to instil a winning mentality into the team coupled with an attractive build-from-the-back style of football. The main objective will be to finish inside the top four but it will be far from easy. In this half of north London, though, the signs are pleasing for Arteta’s men.