Arsenal will be seeking to build on last years’ performance of winning the FA Cup and finishing fourth with 79 points though they were favorites to win the 2013/2014 English Premier League. Injuries to star players and heavy defeats to title rivals (Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City) saw the gunners crumble down the EPL table after dominating for ¾ of the season.
Theo Walcott spent a whole year on the sidelines after a knee injury sustained during last seasons’ FA Cup 2 nil victory over Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a big loss for the team which was doing fine before he got injured. Mesut Ozil soon followed the injury list as Jack Wilshere. This season has season arsenal’s injury list grow bigger; leading to a lot of concerns for the manager.
Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Debuchy, Arteta, Flamini, Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain, Flamini, Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, Rosicky, Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Martinez, Lukas Podolski, Gnabry, Yaya Sanogo and Olivier Giroud have all been out injured. The recent return of Theo Walcott, Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Ozil can spark the gunners for a title challenge. Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Debuchy will all return in coming weeks.
January Transfer Window
Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger sent Lukas Podolski on-loan to Serie A giants Inter Milan for the reminder of the season. The gunners were linked with a couple of names including Sami Khedira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marco Reus and Mousa Sissoko but none made a move. The acquisition of Brazilian centre back; Gabriel Paulista from Villareal and teen midfielder Krystien Bielek from Legia Warsaw in Poland can be seen as reinforcement for an upcoming title challenge. Costa Rican forward, Joel Campbell headed the opposite direction on-loan to Villareal for the remainder of the season.
After a shaky start to the season, Arsenal supporters openly voiced their frustrations to Arsene Wenger for not signing a DM. Flamini and Arteta have spent quite some time on the sidelines due to injuries but arsenal fans preferred someone different to fill up the position. Wenger was reluctant to spend and decided to re-call Francis Coquelin from his Charlton Athletic season long loan. Coquelin has so far impressed since returning and could possible keep the position after stellar performances against Manchester City, Hove and Brighton Albion and Aston Villa.
Arsenal defensive structure has seen much of a change this season after the arrivals of Calum Chambers from Southampton and Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United. Last season Wenger used Koscielny and Mertesacker as centre backs but this season Calum Chambers and Monreal have been rotated along Mertesacker and Koscielny. Recently Wenger dropped Wojciech Schzensy for David Ospina in the goalkeeping position. Martinez has also featured in some games.
Arsenal has one of the best attacking forces in this seasons’ EPL alongside Chelsea and Manchester United. The arrival of Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona ignited the attack line with Walcott, Alex-Ox lade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck (who joined in the summer from Manchester United) and Campbell good in counter attacks.
Top Four Finish
This seasons’ Champions League spot will be as difficult as usual with Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham, Liverpool and Tottenham all determined on clinching the top spot. The fight will go down to the lat game of the season but consistency will be key to success.
Retaining the FA Cup
Last season saw Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspurs, Everton, Liverpool and Hull City to win the FA Cup. This season Arsenal defeated fellow finalists Hull City in Round 3 to book a date in Round 4 with Brighton and Hove Albion; a game which the gunners won to set a Round 5 clash with Middlesbrough (who knocked Manchester city out in Round 4) in the weekend of 14th and 15th February. Will the gunners win this and go all the way to the Quarter-Final? Only time will tell.