Arsenal’s first season under Unai Emery was promising early on but, in the end, it fell short of its expectations. The club had an interesting season as they made their way into the Premier League without Wenger for the first time in 23 years, which divided opinions throughout the season. But what does the future hold for the Gunners in terms of a Champions League spot? According to Timeform, these are the factors Arsenal need to think about if they want to compete in the Champions League next season.
Once a Staple in the Champions League
Financially speaking, Arsenal have slipped behind their rivals, with three years out of Europa League football. The Gunners weren’t able to secure the players they wanted or needed in the transfer market in the same way they could just a few years ago, which further reduced their expectations in terms of success. This summer, Arsenal will be bringing in at least one winger which should take the pressure off Lacazette and Aubameyang in the goal-scoring department, but the true target will be securing a Champions League spot for next season. With midfield stalwart Aaron Ramsey lost to Juventus on a free transfer, Arsenal will need to hold on to Aubameyang who has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League.
How Can Arsenal Secure a Champions League Spot?
Those who finish in the top four places of the Premier League have long been given a spot in the upcoming season’s Champions League and the emergence of Manchester City and Tottenham over the last decade have seen the elite teams of this division expand to six. But as league leaders Manchester City anxiously wait to see if they’ll be able to compete in the competition next year, with potential exclusion from UEFA competition, the spot could be handed to the Premier League’s fifth-placed team.
The appointment of Raul Sanllehi, an influential voice within the ECA, was in part to ensure that the Gunners didn’t lose out to be in with a chance when changes to the current format are made. But even if they do remain as Europa League over Champions League regulars, they need to strive to win matches and progress throughout the tournament to ensure their UEFA ranking stays strong. Arsenal conceded 51 goals last year, so if they want a Champions League place this season, they need to improve their defence to prevent repeating the last year.
The club need to be more deliberate with their spending too, in order to improve on Emery’s first team. If rumours are to be believed, Arsenal have little to spend so they either need to go with a long-term, youth-focused strategy that could pay off in the future, or they need to look for players who are in their prime who would provide an instant benefit to the squad with the hopes of getting back into the Champions League as quickly as possible.