Arsenal lie in wait, with the new season incoming.
With the Covid-19 pandemic playing havoc with the footballing calendar, it leaves a very small window between last season and this season. It is great news for us fans as we don’t have to wait long until the action kicks off again but what about the players?
It will mean a season without a pre-season. No overseas training trips, no friendlies to gauge the fitness and readiness of our squad.
It will mean every team face these shortcomings – it is a great leveller.
It will also mean that any benefit a side can grab will be via recruitment, rather than superior preparation.
Mikel Arteta took the reins halfway through the last season and rescued the Arsenal. We lifted the Cup and we also defeated Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man United in his short time.
We have genuine hope going into our new season, but is it genuine?
Are we riding the wave of optimism that stems from our wonderful FA Cup win over Chelsea? Our Semi-Final triumph over City?
Or can we all see the budding fruits of Arteta’s work at Arsenal? The new-found steel within the side that has seen us over many hurdles? The adaptability that can see us switch it up to serve all types of opponent?
What could push us closer to a return to the Champions League? It surely has to be recruitment.
If Arteta can shift the players that serve no purpose – Ozil, Guendouzi, Sokratis, Holding perhaps – that could boost what meagre fund we do have to splurge on new recruits. It will be key to Arteta’s plans.
If Willian is a free transfer this will help, but if we look at our squad, do we really need attackers?
It should be our defence that receives most of our focus as it is this area that has seen us shed points at an alarming rate. We need the likes of Lille’s Gabriel Maghaeles to ally with new boy William Saliba to form the hard crust of our backline for years to come, with Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers as backup. That would represent true strength.
We need Lucas Torreira to stay on the books, so Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos can have cover and a break. Joe Willock needs to step up and be counted, we need Reiss Nelson to provide competition to Nicolas Pepe, we need Gabriel Martinelli to show his strength and push through, putting pressure on our starters.
Without depth, we will derail, through no fault at all on the part f Arteta. Investment is needed, but it needs to be smart. We aren’t as far away from getting back to the top as some people would have us believe…