Unai Emery is set to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager and the former PSG and Sevilla boss has plenty of work on his hands if he is to turn the club back into contenders next term.
Arsenal have endured a difficult season in what has turned out to be Wenger’s last at the club.
The Gunners have struggled throughout and will compete in the Europa League next season having again finished the campaign outside the top four in sixth place. But what has gone so wrong at the Emirates?
After a relatively disappointing campaign last time out, many Arsenal fans were hoping that the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette, on top of the decision to keep Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the final year of their contract, would fire the club back into the top four.
That didn’t transpire: Arsenal ended the season 12 points worse off, a decline only ‘beaten’ by Chelsea (23 points worse off) and West Brom (14).
Comparing the North London side’s form at the Emirates to their results away from home, it’s clear to see where the problem lies.
Just 25% of their points total came away from home – the weakest proportion in the Premier League. Conversely, only runaway champions Manchester City (50) took more than Arsenal’s 47 points at home.
Interestingly, Burnley are the sole team to take more of their points away (28) than at home (26).
As well as suffering away from home, Arsenal have also struggled against the rest of the top six, with just one win, three draws and six defeats placing them at the bottom of the mini table.
Despite two defeats against Manchester United and Liverpool, it should come as no surprise that Manchester City comfortably top this particular table.
A possible factor behind Arsenal’s struggles this season in the Premier League is their lack of a settled starting XI.
Last season Arsenal had a core of Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ozil and Sanchez that all played over 70% of available minutes. This time around, only three players have managed that feat.
The Europa League campaign is one reason for this, of course, but the new Arsenal manager will surely be hoping he can have a more settled side.
It seems that complacency has slipped into this Arsenal side as well. Petr Cech has made a league-high six errors leading to goals (Opta defined), with Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi also making multiple errors leading to goals.
In comparison, no Arsenal player made more than one error leading to a goal in the entire 2016-17 campaign.
It’s not all bad news for Arsenal fans, though. The transfer of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the January transfer window was met with great celebration, and he has really hit the ground running.
Furthermore, his arrival has seemed to rejuvenate Alexandre Lacazette. The pair have have netted 16 goals between them this calendar year.
Looking at the top scorers in the Premier League over the last couple of the months of the season, both feature. If Arsenal can get service to this front two, they could be a deadly strike force next season.
Not only do Arsenal have in-form firepower, but looking at the stats they also have two of the Premier League’s best creators in their squad.
Despite a slight perception that he’s had a disappointing season, Mesut Ozil ranks second – behind Cesc Fabregas – for chances created per game, averaging 3.49.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, is only behind Leroy Sane and Philippe Coutinho in terms of assists per game, averaging an assist almost once every two games (0.47).
So, despite a disappointing season overall, there are signs that this Arsenal side, with a few additions in key areas, can be a force again under a new manager next year.
By Dan Clark
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