Can Arsenal win a trophy this season?
The 2016/17 Premier League campaign was a disappointing affair for Arsenal, but the start of the new season gives them the chance to erase those memories. Their failure to qualify for the Champions League was expected to galvanise players and manager for the 2017/18 season, and this is what seems to have happened.
Manager Arsène Wenger was under pressure after last year, and while the start of the season showed familiar hang-ups, the team’s response from the Liverpool game suggests that things are moving in the right direction. Gunners fans will hope that they can keep this up over the course of the whole campaign to avoid another disappointing season.
Summer transfer window
Key to Arsenal bouncing back in 2017/18 was their activity in the summer transfer window. They have certainly been boosted by the signings of Sead Kolašinac and Alexandre Lacazette, but some fans will question whether it will be enough to challenge for a trophy this season.
Lacazette was seen as the marquee signing, at £46.5 million from French side Lyon. The striker has started well and currently has four Premier League goals to his name while showing signs of a promising partnership with Alexis Sánchez. His goals will be vital if the Gunners will win any silverware this year.
More so than any new signings, the major issue for the manager was holding onto key players Mesut Özil and Sánchez. Despite many being divided on whether Arsenal should fight to keep these players, there is no doubting their game-changing influence, which is vital for a successful season.
Signs of improvement
If there was one thing that you wanted to see as an Arsenal fan in 2017/18, it was the side starting well. A real response was called for not just from the players but also from the manager. Wenger had come in for a lot of criticism last year due to his lack of a plan B and tactical inflexibility, so he was under close attention from fans to see how he would change things.
To be fair to all involved at the club, they have begun the season well and currently sit in fifth place in the table. With 13 points, they are six points off both Manchester clubs, but no Premier League title can be won before Christmas, and so there is plenty of time to close the gap. The games against the other “top six” clubs will be vital for Arsenal’s domestic campaign, but their record against these clubs has been pretty poor in recent years.
What can Arsenal realistically hope for this season?
When you compare Arsenal to the Premier League big guns, it would seem that the domestic cup competitions are their best chance for silverware this season. The Premier League is the one that all fans would love to win, but when you look at the squads of their main rivals, it may be a stretch too far.
Many believe that Wenger should take a leaf out of José Mourinho’s book from last year and go all out to win the Europa League. Not only would this deliver a major trophy, but it would also guarantee entry back into the Champions League for the following year.
Arsenal have made a pretty good start in the Europa League, most notably with a hard-fought away win over BATE Borisov, which has left them with two wins from two. The real challenge in this competition will be when the Champions League teams drop into the competition, but so far things are going as planned.
With the success that Wenger has enjoyed in the FA Cup, Arsenal will be hopeful of winning it for a third consecutive year.
The Carabao Cup is a competition that Arsenal can realistically look to win this season. With the depth of their squad, Wenger can afford to field experienced players such as Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker and so there is a good chance that Arsenal will go the distance.
What do the bookies say?
If there is one way to gauge Arsenal’s chances of winning a trophy this season, it is to look at the odds that the bookmakers are giving them. Many of the best UK betting sites have Arsenal down as the favourites to lift the Europa League trophy, but not much faith has been put into them winning other competitions.
Arsenal look set for an improved campaign
Taking into account the response to last season over the summer and their start to this campaign, it seems that Arsenal are set for a better season this year. With Lacazette finding the net already and big players such as Sánchez staying put, it would appear that Wenger will put the Gunners back where they belong and lift another piece of silverware.