Football

Are Arsenal genuine title contenders next season?

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Arsenal enjoyed an improved Premier League campaign finishing third with 75 points and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

Their last title winning campaign was the ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04, playing 38 and drawing just 12.

With exciting new signings already, could this be their year?

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The Gunners have been consistent since the 2005/06 season, finishing either third or fourth every year but they have never looked like genuine title contenders since their second place finish in 2004/05.

The signing of Chilean international Alexis Sanchez from FC Barcelona in July 2014 was key to their European qualification. He netted 16 goals in 35 games during the Premier League season outscoring a disappointing and overrated Olivier Giroud by two goals.

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Sanchez gave Arsene Wenger’s men an attacking prowess not seen in recent years. Their FA Cup winning campaign showed that they are capable of winning silverware ahead of teams such as Manchester United, who they beat 2-1 in the sixth round.

Arsenal’s defence has strengthened over the previous season with the signing of right back Mathieu Debuchy in July 2014 and Brazilian central defender Gabriel Paulista in January 2015. A strong defence is a key part of any campaign.

There isn’t a lack of experience in The Gunners’ defence entering their 2015/16 campaign with World Cup winner Per Mertesacker and French international Laurent Koscielny keeping things solid at the back.

This is further helped by the purchase of an ever reliable goalkeeper in the form of Petr Cech, bought from Chelsea for £10 million earlier this month, after making 333 appearances in 11 years for the Blues. A solid keeper will give Arsenal a new confidence after Wojciech Szczesny was fined £20,000 for smoking in the club changing rooms and subsequently replaced by Colombian David Ospina for the remainder of the Premier League season.

Going forward they look stronger than ever.

Theo Walcott is back from injury and hungry for success having made just 27 appearances in the past two seasons in the league. Alexis Sanchez will also be looking for more trophies having been a key part in Chile’s Copa America triumph.

Arsenal, however, will need to look at buying another striker. A combined total of 18 Premier League goals between Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck is not good enough.

The North London outfit have been linked with several strikers from across Europe, such as Porto frontman Jackson Martinez, Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain and Lyon goal machine Alexandre Lacazette.

Lacazette seems to be the most likely option with the Ligue 1 top scorer stating he wants a Champions League club, thus ruling out a move to Liverpool, who are also interested. It is vital that Arsenal don’t rely solely on Sanchez to score all the goals next season as they will be in trouble if he gets injured and they have to count on Giroud to score enough for title success.

Arsenal will be a threat next season if they can bag a decent and reliable striker this summer. A new striker will put pressure on Welbeck and Giroud to improve but will also increase the goal tally in the process.

Their defence is up to it and their midfield is solid with the return of Jack Wilshere from injury and Aaron Ramsey keen to keep his form from the Euro 2016 qualifiers. There is no question that they have the hunger and tenacity to win next season, they just need to get themselves a striker.

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Topics:
Transfer News
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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