Arsenal have undergone a bit of a transformation this season, it’s fair to say. It’s been a case of out with the old, and in with the new – both on the pitch and off of it. Arsene Wenger’s over two-decade-long spell in charge of the Gunners came to an end earlier this year, with Unai Emery given the job of replacing him.
On the field, lots has changed too – with a handful of new players coming in as Emery has looked to stamp his mark on the team.
In truth, the new Arsenal team under Emery is going to be a very different one to that which served Arsene Wenger so well, and that will only grow as the season continues and the Spanish boss finds his best squad.
But who will end up in the Arsenal first team? Will new players force their way in or will old hands step up to the plate? We think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what Arsenal’s best team for the 2018/19 season will be looking like…
For Arsenal, the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation seems like a natural fit. They’ve got plenty of attacking talent, and decidedly less midfield talent – and so this is a system that suits them. It allows them to be solid defensively and offensively, and whilst it demands more defensive involvement from Arsenal’s wingers, that’s certainly a task that Emery’s current crop are up to.
In goal, Bernd Leno seems like the perfect successor to Petr Cech. So far, Cech has taken the edge in the first team, but you’d expect that to change long-term. He was impressive in the Bundesliga last season, and he’s far more comfortable with the ball at his feet. His time will undoubtedly come.
In defence, Nacho Monreal has continued to step up to the plate on the left-hand side. He’s tremendous both defensively and offensively, and he always delivers solid performances. On the right, Hector Bellerin’s development has stalled somewhat in recent years, but he’s clearly very talented nonetheless. His offensive threat will be useful for Emery, and if the manager can improve his compatriot defensively, he’ll have one of Europe’s best in his defence. Centrally, Shkodran Mustafi is an inconsistent player, but on his day he’s stellar – and that’s what Emery must look to maximise. Alongside him, new signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos is still getting used to life in England, but he offers solid quality at the back – alongside a great aerial threat.
In midfield, Mateo Guendouzi can consider himself unlucky to miss out. He’s done very well this season, and he certainly wouldn’t be out of place if he were in this team. Instead, Aaron Ramsey has gotten the nod, alongside new signing Lucas Torreira. Arsenal know what they’re getting with the former, and if he can sustain his goal and assist threat, he’ll be very useful again this season. Torreira is yet to prove himself in London, but his raw ability would be a natural fit – strong, technical, tough in the tackle. He looks well suited to the Premier League.
In the attack, Mesut Ozil is at his best when he’s playing as a number 10. This allows him to make use of his brilliant passing and dribbling whilst making an impact going forward. On the flanks, Henrikh Mkhitaryan needs to improve, but if he can get back to his early form at Man Utd, Arsenal will have a star on their hands. On the left, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be better suited to a role as a forward, but this is the next best thing. On the left, he’ll be able to cut-in and make an impact with his pace and dribbling.
Alexandre Lacazette seems like a decent choice to lead the line for Arsenal. He had a good first season in England, but he’ll now be expected to improve and add more goals to his game. With so much talent behind him, he’ll have no shortage of supply.
Arsenal fans – thoughts?
Let us know below!