What can we expect from Arsenal this 2023/2024 season?

Last season, Arsenal rose from the ashes to astonish Europe with their football, and now, in the current season, the Gunners are determinedly seeking a title.

Passion for a club’s colors and what they represent may wane in the summer when the green rectangle lies dormant, and the white lines turn yellow. The beginning of summer marks a crucial period for football enthusiasts, not merely as a sport but as an integral part of their lives, shared enthusiasm, collective satisfaction, and even suffering.At the zenith of summer, when the scorching sun blinds and the sky burns, I see May beginning to bloom the stadiums on the horizon, as it does every year. The start of the preseason matches, culminating in the Emirates Cup, sets the stage for the teams’ preparations.Despite losing some of its past glory, globalization has given rise to new competitions like the Emirates Cup, hosted annually by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London since 2007. This year, on August 2nd, Arsenal faces Monaco in their final warm-up game before taking on Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday, August 6th, the reigning champions of the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League, who recently suffered a defeat against Atletico Madrid (1-2). Monaco, too, suffered a loss to newly promoted Genoa in the Italian Serie A.

The Beginning of a New Arsenal

Last season, Mikel Arteta’s project started bearing fruit after several years of mediocre performance in English competitions. The team struggled to find its identity and offload players who were not finding their form, causing a financial strain as the team failed to qualify for European competitions. However, everything changed last summer when the club decided to invest in experienced Premier League champions who were looking for more prominent roles in their respective teams. Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko took on different roles from their time at Manchester City and became leaders in a young squad (average age of 25). Alongside them, defensive acquisitions William Saliba and Ramsdale provided the team with defensive stability and the ability to build play from the back, something lacking in previous years. Combined with players like Odegaard, Saka, and Thomas, who possess exceptional ball skills, the season looked promising – and it proved to be so.

The “Gunners” started the season in blazing form, and their gameplay was reminiscent of the invincible Wenger era. However, injuries began to take a toll after the World Cup break, and key players like Gabriel Jesus, who ended the season with 11 goals and 7 assists, were sidelined for three months. Despite this setback, the team still led the league until late April when they suffered a defeat against Manchester City (4-1), ultimately conceding the title to them. Nonetheless, their second-place finish marked a significant achievement, with a return to the Champions League after a six-year absence and a solid foundation for the upcoming season.

The Three Fantastic Gunners: A Promising Era for Arsenal

Arsenal’s summer has been ambitious, and the club has invested significantly to bolster its squad. Last season’s roster was short of competing head-to-head with Manchester City for the title. In the winter 22/23 transfer window, they made several valuable acquisitions, including Trossard (€24M) for the forward line, Jorginho (€12M) to provide experience and leadership in midfield, and Kiwor (€25M) to strengthen the defensive line with an eye on the future. This summer, the club has spared no expense, spending a total of €231M on three new arrivals.

The three players joining the Emirates Stadium are Declan Rice (€116M), Kai Havertz (€75M), and Jurriën Timber (€45M).

Declan Rice (24 years old): The former West Ham player and captain has demonstrated leadership and the ability to impose his game in any match. He is known for his versatility, as he can play as a defensive midfielder or in more advanced positions, providing tactical flexibility to his team. Another standout quality is his decision-making with the ball, knowing when to retain possession, distribute, or win back the ball. This is crucial for a defensive midfielder, as it helps control the game’s tempo and prevent dangerous situations. Adding to his extraordinary physical attributes, marking ability, and technical prowess, Rice brings a complete package to the Arsenal midfield.Declan Rice bombshell rocks West Ham with Man Utd, Chelsea among three primed for £100m+ transfer battle

Kai Havertz (24 years old): The German, formerly with Chelsea, needs time to adapt to the team’s philosophy and Arteta’s system. Once he settles in and regains his peak physical form, he will surpass his records in ball retention, with less than seven losses and an average of 62 completed passes per game. He will become an invaluable partner to captain Odegaard, facilitating the latter’s offensive energy. Havertz is not only known for his playmaking ability as an attacker but also excels in creating spaces by dropping back to enable a teammate’s forward movement, adding fluidity to the team’s attacks. His powerful left-footed shot is a weapon, but Arteta is working on improving his right-footed strike to make him less predictable to defenders.

Jurriën Timber (22 years old): The Dutch talent, a central defender and right-back, arrives from Ajax Amsterdam, one of the world’s best football academies, with enormous potential for the future. He is a highly involved player with considerable speed, allowing him to recover positions quickly and close down spaces effectively. Despite not being particularly tall for a defender (182 cm), his aerial ability is impressive, winning over 50% of his contested balls. If he remains injury-free as he did last season, playing all 34 Eredivisie games, Timber will be a valuable asset for the “Gunners,” especially as they compete in the Champions League this year.

With a solid defensive lineup and a midfield reinforced , Arsenal is well-positioned to challenge for the Premier League title, as they did last year. The team’s ambitious summer signings, experienced squad, clearly defined playing style under Arteta, and a hopeful and eager fanbase create an atmosphere of anticipation for magical and glorious nights to come. 

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