Arsenal’s 2017/18 campaign was Arsene Wenger’s last in charge of the club and it ultimately proved to be the worst of his 22-year reign as manager.
The Gunners were never in the Premier League title race, crashed out of the FA Cup in the third round at Nottingham Forest and were thumped 3-0 by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
The Europa League offered one last chance of glory for Wenger, but his side failed to overcome eventual winners Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals.
Wenger will rightly be remembered with fondness at the Emirates Stadium, but the feeling remains that he stayed on at the club too long.
Read on as we assess Arsenal’s season and look at what needs to be done if new boss Unai Emery is to enjoy success in 2018/19.
A 2-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur in November was the high point of a season that never really got off the ground.
Impressive aggregate victories over CSKA Moscow and AC Milan raised hopes that Arsenal could enjoy success in the Europa League, although Atletico deservedly ended that dream in the semi-finals.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a shining light since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund in January and his form should see the online tickets’ demand for Arsenal spike next season.
Aaron Ramsey rediscovered the form he showed four years ago, while Jack Wilshere’s return to the first team after another long-term injury was an added bonus and he will hopefully agree a new contract with the club.
Arsenal have been a mess defensively for some time. Wenger’s side conceded 51 goals in the Premier League last season, by far the worst record of any of the top six sides.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech made a number of high-profile blunders, while Shkodran Mustafi’s frequent mistakes in defence cost Arsenal dearly.
Hector Bellerin appears to have forgotten that a defender’s first job is to defend and Laurent Koscielny’s fragile achilles finally caught up with him towards the end of the season.
Granit Xhaka’s lack of defensive awareness in midfield has also proved costly, while Mesut Ozil has looked like a luxury the club simply can’t afford to indulge.
Replacing Wenger quickly was hugely important, especially with the transfer window opening earlier this summer.
Emery is the man tasked with rebuilding Arsenal, but the former Paris Saint-Germain boss has a big job on his hands.
Sorting out the defence is a major priority, with Arsenal in need of at least two or three quality additions in that department.
Bolstering the midfield should also be high on the agenda – Nice’s Jean Michael Seri would be a good start – along with the new boss instilling a tougher mentality to the squad.
Away losses this season against the likes of Stoke CIty, Watford and Bournemouth show just how much of a soft touch Arsenal have become and that needs to change if the club is to start challenging for honours once again.
However, reports that the Gunners have a transfer budget of around £60 million are a major worry and Wenger could well have timed his exit to perfection.
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