In the early 90’s, George Graham’s Arsenal were in full flow – we had the best defence in the country, lead by Tony Adams, and were a tough side that would be hard to beat. Our defence consisted of Mr Arsenal, alongside Steve Bould (or Martin Keown), Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.
The Premier League season hasn’t yet been completed, but already some attention has been switched to the upcoming transfer window.
It has recently been reported that the date the window may open could be delayed until August, which could mean that the season will be ended before players are able to bring in any new signings.
Arsenal will be active in the upcoming window, as Mikel Arteta attempts to build a squad in his image. There will certainly be outgoings, with David Luiz already reportedly set for the exit. But, which players do the bookmakers believe will be moving in the opposite direction over the summer?
Ryan Fraser could be on his way to the Emirates according to the latest odds. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both reportedly interested in the Bournemouth winger, with the Scottish international available on a free transfer when his contract expires.
Fraser has been an integral part of the Bournemouth set-up throughout their stay in the Premier League, and he will likely be an important part in their team as they look to consolidate their position in the top-flight.
The 26-year-old has scored 16 goals in 120 games in the Premier League. He would add a new option for Arteta on the wings, with one of his main strengths being his crossing ability. Throughout his career in the Premier League, he has made 705 crosses, with a cross accuracy of 23%. He has registered 26 assists and has a tackle success rate of 65%. His attitude will be a welcome addition to the Arsenal dressing room and will be an astute signing for the club.
The Gunners are also the favourites to bring in Odsonne Edouard from Celtic. The dialogue between the two clubs seems to be strong after the Gunners previously did business with the Scottish champions last summer to bring in Kieran Tierney.
Edouard has been a revelation since joining Celtic from Paris Saint-Germain, as he has scored 62 goals in 126 appearances in all competitions. This season had been the best one for the 22-year-old to date, as he had scored 22 goals in just 25 starts in the SPL.
The Frenchman is already being linked to a number of Premier League sides, which means Arsenal will likely need to make a big offer to get their man. He also has European experience, which would be seen as a positive by Arteta, as Edouard scored three goals and made two assists in six appearances in the Europa League this season.
The Gunners could yet face stern competition from Manchester United and Everton for the striker.
The name on the lips of all Arsenal fans this summer will be Thomas Partey. Atletico Madrid are reportedly open to doing business with the Gunners for the combative midfielder, but the Spanish side may demand Alexandre Lacazette to be included in any potential deal. Arsenal fans are hoping that he deal can be completed, as he will add some much-needed steel into the Arsenal midfield.
The Gunners may still face competition for his signature, with Manchester United and PSG also showing an interest. The 26-year-old has been an important part of the Atletico team this season, as he has made 34 appearances in all competitions and has scored one goal.
He will help Arsenal improve their defensive record immeasurably as he makes an average of 2.5 tackles per game and 1.4 interceptions.
Arteta will be hoping to improve his discipline; however, as the Ghanaian international has already been booked ten times in La Liga this season.
Here we have it. The transfer window will be a horse race as exciting to watch as the Triple Crown 2020 races. Who will come out on top we don’t know, but we are hopeful that Arsenal makes some key signings to give Arteta the depth he deserves.
Mikel Arteta has enjoyed an incredible run of form since managing to implement his ideas into the Arsenal set-up, and that means that despite mid-season turmoil, the Gunners still have an outside chance of reaching the top four.
Arteta has managed to turn the tide in his favour since a December defeat to Chelsea to end a rocky 2019.
Since the turn of the year, the Gunners have been strong domestically and are yet to lose in the league. In the eight fixtures in the Premier League so far this year, the Gunners have won four and drawn four. That run of form also includes victories in their last three matches against Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham United.
Granted, away firm has been indifferent, with the Gunners yet to taste victory away from the Emirates under Arteta, but the initial signs have been good.
Can The Gunners Still Finish In The Top Four?
Ahead of the Premier League restarting for the Gunners with a trip to the Etihad, Arteta’s side are eight points away from the Champions League places. Fifth may still be enough for sides in the top-flight to secure a place in the Champions League next season due to the UEFA ban that could be hanging over Manchester City.
Arsenal are five points away from Manchester United, who are currently in that spot. In order for the Gunners to get into those spots, they will have to build momentum and go on a long winning run. However, let’s look at how they were before Arteta arrived: basically the Miami Dolphins of the Premier League (one of the worst teams in the NFL if you are not familiar with them).
The fourth spot may be a bridge too far for the Gunners, and with Arsenal having already been knocked out of the Europa League, City’s ban could be a blessing for the Gunners. Fifth could be their best chance, but five points is still a huge mountain to climb with ten games of the season remaining. But, if the Gunners can turn the draws that they have got away from home into wins, then that gap could be bridged fairly quickly.
The fixture list does present some tough fixtures to end the season, with Arsenal having to travel to City and Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners also host Leicester City and Liverpool over the final weeks. Only one of the teams that Arsenal come up against have realistically nothing to play for, as fixtures against Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City, Aston Villa and Watford could also be tricky given that all sides are locked in a relegation battle.
How Important Is Champions League Football?
Champions League football is important to all the teams in the top six, but Arsenal needs the competition more than most. The financial restraints that are on the club are still huge, which means the qualification for the Champions League will give Arteta some much-needed cash to spend.
In order to compete over the coming seasons, Arsenal will need to invest in their squad, as the sides around them are getting stronger with every passing window.
There are also new sides coming into the competition, with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City both looking likely to be in the mix again next season.
However, the most important aspect of qualifying for the Champions League will be the players that the club will be able to attract.
The biggest names demand to play in the competition, which means that the Gunners could also need the top-tier European competition in order to persuade Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to stay at the club.
The Gunners captain is the most important player at the club, and if they happen to lose him, then Arteta will be forced to start from scratch in his plans to make Arsenal competitive again.
As speculation about Willian’s next club continues, Arsenal have emerged as contenders to sign the Chelsea star when the transfer window re-opens.
Willian is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season, with north London rivals Tottenham currently the bookmakers’ favourites to sign the 31-year-old on a free transfer.
However, Spurs are not the only club to have shown interest in the Brazilian in recent weeks, and the Gunners are second favourites with a number of bookmakers at time of writing in their ‘Willian Next Club market’.
Transfer specials are always popular with football fans at this time of year ahead of the transfer window reopening at the end of the season, with many taking advantage of various free bet offers for football transfers as seen at FreeTips.com.
Willian’s agent recently admitted there is uncertainty over the winger’s future. Responding to speculation about his client’s next move, Kia Joorabchian told talkSPORT: “I think all free agent players are in an awkward situation because do you sign a new contract, do you extend for a month, do you extend for a longer period?
“I think that will be something that will just play itself out closer to the time.”
Whether the odds on Willian to Arsenal shorten in the coming weeks ahead of his contract expiring remains to be seen.
Willian is not the only player being linked with the Gunners, however, with former Liverpool ace Philippe Coutinho also backed for a move to Emirates Stadium.
After dazzling at times with Liverpool, Coutinho has been strongly linked with a return to the Premier League after a tough couple of years in Spain and Germany.
The 27-year-old scored 21 goals and had 11 assists to his name in 76 games for Barcelona, but failed to make a good impression with the club’s supporters.
During his time on loan at Bayern Munich, Coutinho has scored nine goals and made eight assists from 32 appearances.
Barca are ready to accept a loss on the Brazilian, who cost them over £120million in 2018, and Chelsea are favourites to be his next club.
Although recent reports in Spain claimed Chelsea were close to agreeing a deal for the forward, a deal is yet to be struck.
Everton and Newcastle are also reportedly interested in signing the former Inter Milan ace, but as speculation the player’s future continues, Arsenal are second favourites with some bookmakers at time of writing, according to the latest ‘Philippe Coutinho next club odds’.
Coutinho to Arsenal is currently as short as 6/1 with some bookies despite being 16/1 elsewhere, which may make it a good time to take advantage of the free bets available on transfer specials as seen at FreeTips.com.
The Arsenal side of 2003/2004 is quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest in Premier League and English League history – going through a 38 game season without losing a single match is something no other team has managed to do, and despite those with an agenda trying to make out they weren’t one of the best sides ever, there is no doubting that sides place in the history books.
But I would say that the Arsenal team of 2001/2002 was even better.
How is this possible you ask? Consider the following points:
- Regarding our nearest rivals at the time Manchester United, The Invincibles team we drew 1-1 at home against them and then drew 0-0 away. In 2001/2002 season, we beat them convincingly 3-1 at home and then won 1-0 away (Wiltooooord!)
- In The Invincible season, we scored 73 goals. In the 2001/2002 season, we managed to score 79.
- In the 2001/2002 season, we had a peak Dennis Bergkamp, who scored 14 goals (his highest total since the 1997/1997 season). In The Invincibles season, he only scored 5 times.
- Our attack was more lethal in the 2001/2002 season, with Henry, Bergkamp, Kanu and Wiltord scoring a combined total of 69 goals. In The Invincibles season, that total was 51. We had more attacking options in 2001/2002 that the opposition couldn’t handle.
- In The Invincibles season, we won the Premier League. In the 2001/2002 season, we won the double.
- Defensively we were much stronger in the 2001/2002 season as well – we had Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Sol Campbell and Matthew Upson as our central defensive options. In The Invincibles season, we had Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Pascal Cygan and an ageing Martin Keown.
- There is no doubt that in the 2001/2002 season we had a better Ashley Cole, Lauren, Patrick Vieira, Edu, Ray Parlour, Freddie Ljungberg, Dennis Bergkamp, Sylvain Wiltord and Kanu who all statistically did better than they did in The Invincibles season.
And finally to finish, we have to consider the strength of the league at in both of those seasons.
The fact of the matter is the Premier League in the 2001/2002 season was much tougher to win, as shown by the number of points gained by the Top 4 sides in those seasons. The gap between 1st and 2nd was only 7 points, and the difference between 1st and 4th was 16 points.
In The Invincibles season however, Arsenal won the league by 11 points and 4th place were were a massive 30 points behind!
So what are you thoughts on this topic? Do you agree? Leave your comments in the section below!