There is a feeling of excitement and the unknown amongst the Arsenal fans this week. A couple of weeks have passed since the announcement that Arsene Wenger would be stepping down from his position at the Emirates. With a lot of Gunners fans still asking ‘What’s next?…..’
After 22 years and 17 trophies, Wenger announced he would step down at the end of the current season. For a lot of Arsenal fans seeing the Frenchman in the Gunners hotseat is all they know, but after two disappointing campaigns which have seen them finish outside the top four, the majority felt it was the right time to go.
Whoever the next manager is they will be tasked with bringing back the glory days and turning the Gunners into legitimate title challengers consistently, as they will seek to end 14 seasons without a Premier League title. So what does the future Arsenal manager have to improve in order to get the North London side back to the pinnacle of English and European football?
A campaign that looks set to result in a sixth-place finish and another season consigned to the Europa League, Arsenal’s defensive vulnerability is at the heart of the problems the new manager will have to address. Time and time again mistakes from the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have resulted in goals being conceded.
Hector Bellerin and Koscielny were both at fault for the goals that saw Wenger’s hopes of a fairytale ending dashed against Atletico Madrid. The ageing Petr Cech looks a shade of his best from his time at Chelsea and second choice goalkeeper David Ospina is as unpredictable as a bag of revels.
They’ve conceded 48 goals in their 35 Premier League matches, the most in the top six and more than the likes of Burnley, Newcastle and Brighton. The incoming manager has a big task on his hands to return the Emirates backline to the stability and physicality of the Adams, Campbell and Keown era that brought so much success to the club.
Lack of Leadership:
Again you look back to the days of the leadership of the great Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and to a certain extent Cesc Fabregas the Arsenal side had a clear identity and was full of leaders. Since the departure of the influential Spaniard to Barcelona, the likes of Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen have donned the armband before moving onto Manchester United and Barcelona respectively.
Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker have been appointed club captain most recently and both players struggled to play regularly, subsequently having an impact on the side in big games, as Arsenal failed to topple the Premier League top six on a consistent basis.
Woeful Away Form:
Since the turn of the year, Arsenal have been the worst side away from home from the Premier League down to League Two failing to pick up a single point. Although the Europa League caused some distractions you would have expected an Arsene Wenger team of old to pick up three points against the likes of Swansea, Bournemouth and Brighton.
Scoring goals has not been the problem, as previously mentioned the lack of leadership from the defensive midfielders and behind is a major cause for concern. The lack of adventure in their performances has caused frustrations from the fans and without a doubt led to Wenger resigning from his role a year earlier then expected.
With big names having their name thrown into the ring to become the next permanent Arsenal manager is a job that is going to be highly sought after. The incoming boss will have his work cut out to turn Arsenal into the side they once were, but with the foundations and attacking talent they have on offer, if they were to correct the problems shown this season its a possibility.
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