2015/16 Finish: 2
Last year was yet another where Arsenal finished above Spurs, securing the second spot the final week of the season. Mesut Ozil played phenomenally, but Giroud disappeared for weeks at a time. It was a season that the Gunners had a legitimate chance at the title, but when they needed to win, they just couldn’t do it.
Transfers In: Granit Xhaka (MF), Takuma Asano (FW), Rob Holding (DF), Kelechi Nwakali (MF)
Xhaka is the interesting signing this window. He’s 23 and loaded with potential. Unfortunately, he has yet to live up to the hype. But it’s possible that he hits his stride with Gunners and if that happens Arsenal becomes a much more dangerous side. Asano is another young player that could find a spot in the future. Holding, 20, is coming over from Bolton. He’s a center back who recently won Bolton’s Player of the Season award. Not bad for a 20 year old.
Transfer Out: Mikel Arteta (MF), Mathieu Flamini (MF), Tomas Rosicky (MF), Isaac Hayden (DF), Wellington Silva (MF), Daniel Crowley (MF), Ryan Huddart (GK), Jon Toral (MF), Wojciech Szcyesny (GK), Stefan O’Connor (DF), Julio Pleguezelo (DF)
This transfer window sees the departure of two long time Arsenal players, Arteta and Rosicky. Both players have been plagued by injuries the last few seasons, but in their day were two of the squad’s best players. They have also earned respect throughout the footballing world. Arteta will move to Manchester City as a coach under Pep Guardiola. While Rosicky’s future is less clear. But one thing is clear, they will be missed within the Arsenal organization.
Crowley, Huddart, Toral, Szczyesny, O’Connor, and Pleguezelo all leave on loans.
Key Player(s): Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is a world class playmaker, and easily Arsenal’s best talent. He’s done it in every the Bundesliga, La Liga, and the Premier League. His vision and control make him a constant threat in the midfield. His movement is excellent as well. People seem to have difficulty understanding his game, constantly calling him lazy, but he’s always one of the busiest players, often leading the side in distance travelled. I expect more of the same from him this year.
Predicted 2016/17 Finish: 5
Even with Ozil, Arsenal are still missing a striker. Giroud is good, but not good enough. He hits lulls too often, where he can go numerous games without finding the back of the net. That’s not good enough for a team trying to earn a title. They’ve also struggled to find an acceptable partner for Laurent Koscielny in the back. As a result, we don’t see them finishing higher than fifth this season.