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Arsenal Season Review: From dismantling Chelsea to succumbing to Palace

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Arsene Wenger was under immense pressure even before the season kick-started. The Frenchman had to appease the part of fans beginning to lose their patience over a lack of a Premier League title for over a decade. The fans were expecting a lot from their team and barring a win over Chelsea in the FA Cup, they were looking at a disastrous season for the Gunners. They finished below Tottenham Hotspur in the table and that doesn’t sit well with the fans. The fans were expecting a lot from their team and but will have to contend with the domestic cup for a record 13th time.

 

The Numbers

Getting into the top four of EPL is harder than it has ever been. Arsenal mastered the art for 20 seasons prior to this but are thrown into playing Thursday night football next season. Wenger found his team completely reliant on Sanchez with Ozil having an under par campaign. The Gunners managed to score 77 goals, which is least among the top five. Their defence managed to concede  44 goals which is the worst among top 6. Sanchez was involved directly in 34 goals, nearly 44 % of all goals scored. They managed to earn 4 more points than they did last season but that wasn’t enough to guarantee them a champions league spot.

Sports Mole on Twitter

Here’s a look at the final Premier League table. Arsenal missed out on the top four and will play in the Europa League next season.

 

OptaJoe on Twitter

1 – Days top of the 2016-17 @PremierLeague table: Chelsea: 184 Man City: 75 Liverpool: 14 Man Utd: 6 Arsenal: 2 Hull City: 1 Summit.

 

Arsenal lost 9 games this season which is the highest for top 6 teams in the table. The Gunners did produce some magical performances in the league but lacked the consistency to make the top four in one of the hardest-fought Premier League campaigns.

Also Read: Twitter went ballistic after Arsenal’s FA Cup win against Chelsea

 

Squad Analysis

Arsenal have enough depth in the squad and will be able to field some fringe players on Thursday nights next season. The big question mark will be on the availability of few of the star names. Sanchez and Ozil find themselves amid a gloomy transfer talk. Arsenal will have to appease both the names or risk losing them for free next summer.

Xhaka was bought for 35 million and did not do a great job until final few weeks of the season. There are certain areas that need reinforcements and Wenger will be well aware of that.  They might want to look at their goalkeeping department. They will also need a left-back and centre-back to strengthen their defence. Depending on the contract situation of Sanchez, they might want to add a striker to their squad.

 

Standout Performer

Alexis Sanchez

This is an absolute no-brainer. The team was solely carried by Alexis Sanchez who looked a class above his each and every member of his team. The Chilean forward scored 24 goals and assisted 10 for his team. His perseverance resulted in the opening goal against Chelsea and he put in an excellent performance to end the season with silverware. He managed to enhance his performance from last season despite finding himself amidst many controversies (training ground/on field tantrums) and growingly frustrating contract talks.

Squawka Football on Twitter

Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal in the Premier League 2016/17: Most take-ons (109) Most goals (24) Most assists (10) Most through balls (9) ⭐️

 

Stephen Cheevers on Twitter

We would be mid table without him. He really is our best player since Henry. https://t.co/x0SvhSiDyR

 

Strengths

It would be farcical to rule out the plethora of talent in the Arsenal squad. They have proved that they can perform well as they went on a 19 match unbeaten streak in the early parts of the season.  They dismantled Chelsea in Emirates and looked like genuine title contenders. They proved it once again in the last match of the season, outplaying a well-drilled Chelsea side in the FA Cup final. The kind of attacking players they have in their squad, the Gunners should have created more chances than they did this season. They have a pretty decent squad and it was their strength this season.

 

Weaknesses

It has been the same story for the Gunners. They either start the season with a bang, look like they are going to romp to the title but fall short of brilliance or they finish with a flourish after an average first half of the campaign to once again fall short of brilliance. The lack of consistency could be the mental fragility that has been part of the Gunners for ages now. As they say, winning is a habit.

 

What to Expect

There are a lot of variables associated with Arsenal right now. The big question is whether there will be managerial changes. There are question marks over the futures of Sanchez and Ozil. They will have to attract talents and not being part of UCL won’t help that cause. The summer will be crucial for the Gunners. If they can keep hold of both their stars and make some good signings, they could challenge for a Champions League spot next season. The Premier League title right now though is looking farther away than it has ever looked for an Arsenal fan.

 

Expected Finishing Position Next Season – 4

 

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