This season has been a tale of disappointment for the Gunners. The ongoing Wenger in/out debate has clearly impacted the team’s performance. Away losses at Brighton, Watford and their rivals Spurs have all but confirmed that Arsenal will not be finishing in the Premier League top four. This run of poor performances culminated in back-to-back losses to Man City.
While City may be the dominant force in the Premier League, Arsenal showed little spirit losing 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final and by the same margin again at home. The failure to bounce back from defeat is one of the key reasons the Gunners will likely finish sixth this year.
With the Premier League locking in its top four, Wenger and the Gunners have had to rapidly adjust their targets for this season. In January, Wenger focussed on revitalising the team with fresh blood, while also making room. Wenger was quick to capitalise on Sanchez’s desire to leave, trading him for Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mkhitaryan is not a guaranteed goalscorer as Sanchez was, but Wenger’s deal was one of security as Henrikh is experienced in both the Bundesliga and the Premier League. The exit of Sanchez, Walcott and Giroud left a distinct lack of goals in the squad. The current number 9, Lacazette, has had a difficult start to life in the Premier League with his 20 goals plus season in Ligue 1 feeling like a distant dream. Again, Wenger opted for safe buys, bringing in established striker Pierpierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With five goals in six appearances, Aubameyang has settled in well at the Emirates.
With a wealth of new talent at his disposal, Wenger must now turn his attention to finishing the season on a high. His options are limited, however. Having been knocked out of the FA Cup in January and far behind the Premier League top 4, the Europa League has become his primary focus. Impressive back to back performances against AC Milan saw Arsenal breeze to the quarterfinals. A comprehensive 5-1 win on aggregate sent a warning to other teams in the tournament. With high calibre teams such as Atletico Madrid and Lazio still in the tournament, the Europa League is in no way guaranteed for the Gunners. As of April 3rd, Arsenal are 3/1 in the Premier League betting with bet365 to win outright. With Aubameyang ruled out due to his late transfer, Arsenal will have to give their all if they hope to reach the Europa League final in France.
These Two are for you Abuela🙏🏽❤☝🏽 pic.twitter.com/6G3sbyNlCf
— Aubameyang P-E (@Aubameyang7) April 1, 2018
It’s not all doom and gloom for Wenger’s Arsenal. Victory in Europa would give Arsenal automatic qualification to the Champions League next season. This is vital if Arsenal are to continue attracting the best players. Consistency will be key when it comes to the Premier League. Wins away from home will give Wenger a strong foundation to build on if the club hopes to be back in contention for the Premier League title. For now, Gunners fans must lend their full support to Arsenal in the Europa League.