Although the 2013/2014 Premier League season from the angle of an Arsenal fan will always be laced with a reminisce of what could have been. This is even with the FA Cup triumph at Wembley in May. The club incredibly led the Premier League table for a period of 125 days, which was the highest amongst the rotation leadership of the table. In the end, the leadership was surrendered at the crucial moments for what many will consider as either because of injury or a dearth of attacking players as well as a lack of squad depth. As the new season approaches, this piece takes a look at five reasons why Arsenal will win the Premier League next season.
1. Best Defensive Partnership
For large periods of last season Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were the best defensive partnership in the Premier League. Forming a partnership that rivaled any in the league. Taking away the 20 goals conceded by the pair against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton last season from the goals against column would show they would have had less goals conceded last season. That partnership can only be strengthened this season with further improvement to the squad especially in holding midfield. Check any title winning side, the defense is often key. With both Mertesacker and Koscielny and a powerful defensive midfielder next season, we are sure going to have a solid defence line which will be key.
2. No Major departure
Last season represented the first time in years that Arsenal had not lost a key player in years. What that translated to was an early title challenge that was later derailed. With no major departure expected this summer except that sanctioned by the club, the players can go one better this time around with the failed attempt of last season.
3. The FA Cup Triumph
The triumph at Wembley in May turned out to be more than just a trophy to the club especially the way it was done, coming from two goals down to win. With the players having tasted what it is like to win a trophy, they are expected to have that winners’ mentality that will enable them to handle pressurised situation better. Something they struggled with last season. We now have the handbrake off, the players can now push for glory with the monkey finally off their backs.
4. Better Squad improvement.
Last season the lack of pace in Arsenal’s attack proved it undoing in it quest to win the Premier League. Injuries to Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey effectively sapped the squad of pace which made it easier for opposition teams to repel attacks. With the signing of Alexis Sanchez who comes with pace, energy, power and defensive nous, and with Theo Walcott’s return from injury, together with the expected signings in attack, holding midfield, the squad is expected to have more depth in the coming season to launch a renewed and sustained assault on the league. With the new found depth, we can rotate which means we are less likely going to over use players and expose them to season ending injuries
5. A settled Mesut Ozil and Tactical Tweaks.
Mesut Ozil was not his effervescent best most of last season, which culminated in his first muscular injury as a player. But with his second season now around the corner, he is expected to have built more understanding with his team mates, and with the injection of pace. He would have runners to pick out passes to.
On the tactical side, Arsene Wenger’s willingness to adopt a more pragmatic approach in the big games will go a long way to determine Arsenal’s Premier League challenge. A more proactive approach could sway some matches Arsenal’s way.