Arsenal come into the year with many questions surrounding the club. I’ll be discussing what to expect from Arsenal in the Premier League, as well as offering some insight into where you can find some FPL value within the squad.
Unai Emery is in the 2nd year of his tenure at the Emirates and new players are likely to join the club to add some much needed depth, with expectations as high as ever this year.
After failing to make the Champions League for the 2nd straight season, the club needs to improve and finish in the top 4 to make any significant progress in this post Wenger era.
Expected Line-ups and Formations
Below is what I think the lineup will look like the 1st week of the season.
We saw a mix of formations and systems used by Emery last season (4231, 3412, 4312), but I expect him to try to move to the 4231 as this is his preferred formation.
The starting 11 for this season will be similar to what we saw last year at times. Lacazette will be the lone-man up top, while Aubameyang will play a little more free on the left hand side.
Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles will serve as wing backs delivering balls into the box.
Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are still out with significant injuries, but once they are back fit, I expect both to start.
The rumours regarding Wilfried Zaha joining the club would automatically catapult him into the starting 11, should he sign, removing Mkhitaryan most likely.
Arsenal’s other target is Kieran Tierney, the 22 year old Scottish International who plays left back for Celtic. He provided 5 assists for the team in the Scottish PL last year and is highly regarded as a quality left back for his age.
If Arsenal’s line-up stays unchanged then look for the following to take set-pieces again this season:
Corners: Xhaka, Özil, Mkhitaryan
Free-kicks: Xhaka, Özil, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan
Penalties: Aubameyang, Lacazette, Özil
Arsenal were able to score 13 goals off set-pieces, with Aubameyang converting 4 out of 5 goals from the penalty spot.
First 10 Fixtures
Arsenal have a tough schedule in August and September, but if they can get a couple victories from the get go, I believe the Gunners can start strong.
Newcastle (a); Burnley (h); Liverpool (a); Tottenham (h); Watford (a); Aston Villa (h); Man Utd. (a); Bournemouth (h); Southampton (a); Crystal Palace (h).
The most difficult test will be against reigning Champions League winners Liverpool in GW3 – this game will show whether or not Arsenal are ready to take the next step under Unai Emery.
FPL – Players to Consider
Arsenal do have a few players that can offer FPL managers positive value to their teams.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is at the top of my list for player value in FPL. He scored 22 goals and added 5 assists in 36 games for the Gunners, as he shared Golden Boot honours with Mohamed Salah and Sergio Agüero.
Aubameyang has pace and is difficult to track for defenders as he uses his agility and stamina to get behind the back line.Embed from Getty Images
He is also capable of providing teammates with the ball as he and Alexandre Lacazette created a great relationship on the pitch.
Lacazette displayed a lot of promise last year under Unai Emery’s tutelage.
At times he played as a lone striker, but he and Aubameyang proved to Emery that the 2 of them together fair much better than when they’re apart!
He tallied 13 goals and 8 assists in 35 appearances for the club. Only Callum Wilson and Raheem Sterling had more assists as a forward in the Premier League. He possesses great strength on and off the ball and finishes his chances with accuracy.
Finally, I think Hector Bellerin could be another player to watch once he returns from injury.
Last year he only appeared in 18 games but still managed 5 assists, which tied the most assists he’s had in one season. He was on course to break that if he managed to keep himself fit but unfortunately for him and for Arsenal, he was unable to steer clear of injury.
I predict a big year for Bellerin, make sure you keep an eye on him when he returns.
If everyone stays healthy and if they can add a couple new pieces, I believe the Gunners have a great shot at finishing in the top 4.