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Arsenal, a frustrating but promising season

A failure for some, a success for others: the 2021-2022 season provokes mixed feelings among Arsenal supporters, who finished 5th in the Premier League, two points behind eternal rivals Tottenham, 4th and therefore qualified for the next Champions League campaign. After starting their year with three defeats in a row, including a scathing and worrying one on the lawn of Manchester City (0-5), the Gunners would probably have signed for such an outcome at the end of the season. More than the outcome of this frustrating exercise in England, we must take a closer look to analyze the London club’s season.

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The biggest spender in the 2021 summer transfer window across the Channel (€165.7 million), Arsenal had exposed itself to strong criticism in view of the investment made for little-known players like Takehiro Tomiyasu (€18.6 million) , Nuno Tavares (€8m) and Albert Sambi Lokonka (€17.5m) or not really confirmed, such as Ben White (€58.6m) and Aaron Ramsdale (€28m), with the exception of Martin Ødegaard , definitely recruited from Real Madrid for 35 M€. The summer strategy ultimately paid off for Edú, the technical director, and his team.

Expenses justified… after the fact

The Arsenal goalkeeper quickly pushed Bernd Leno to the bench, establishing himself as one of the best in his position in the Kingdom and earning valuable points for his team. The former Sheffield United, with his atypical style, made everyone agree. A finding also observed for Benjamin White, who has formed a stable and solid hinge with the former Lille Gabriel, proving his value both defensively and with the ball. Behind, the Japanese Tomiyasu quickly won the hearts of the Gunners, with his aggressiveness and his energy spent without counting on the right.

While Martin Ødegaard gained momentum, made significant progress on the pitch and in the game, even finishing the season with the captain’s armband around his arm, Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga left the Emirates public on their toes. hunger. The Portuguese left side and the Belgian midfielder have not been able to show regular performance, confirming that their need to grow is perhaps more important than for some of their teammates. Regularity is also what Mikel Arteta’s men sorely lacked this year to claim better at the end of the year.

A very young and therefore irregular team, but promising

Able to stand up to Manchester City in the game (without admittedly imposing themselves), or even to afford Chelsea and Manchester United, for example, at the end of the season, the Londoners fell in an incomprehensible way against well-established formations. weaker ones, like Southampton and Brighton. A season made up of ups and downs, this can be explained with regard to the workforce, which was the youngest in the English championship this year (24 years and 308 days of average age for the starting XI, more than a year behind Brentford, second in this ranking).

If the project led by Mikel Arteta, in whom the board has renewed its confidence by extending it until 2025, follows its course and there have been many positive signals this year, Arsenal supporters may however regret the too friable strategy of their club during the winter transfer window. Ainsley Maitland-Niles (loan, AS Roma), Calum Chambers (free, Aston Villa), Sead Kolasinac (free, OM), Pablo Mari (loan, Udinese) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (free, Barça) have all left the Emirates this winter without a name coming to replace them. Thomas Partey’s injury, in particular, certainly hurt at the end of the season, but the breathlessness of the executives may also have weighed in the balance.

An offensive sector to be reinforced as a priority

The damage is done, and all eyes are now on the future. While Arsenal will return to the Europa League in 2022-2023, after a year without Europe (a first for 25 years), a lot of work awaits the Gunners in the summer transfer window. If the future of Mohamed Elneny has been decided. The Egyptian, author of a good end to the season, extended. Alexandre Lacazette is expected to leave Arsenal freely this summer. Also at the end of his contract on June 30, Eddie Nketiah should, after ending the season as a cannonball, sign a new 5-year lease with the Canonniers. Still, at least one or two attackers will have to come and strengthen this team and support the young Nketiah, whom OM and OL wanted to recruit.

The Gabriel Jesus (Man City) track remains the hottest. The names of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Moussa Dembélé (OL), Tammy Abraham (AS Roma) or even Jonathan David (LOSC) are also mentioned. In the midfield, Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton) and Youri Tielemans (Leicester) could come to swell the ranks of Arsenal. Behind, if Cédric Soares could leave the club and that it would therefore be necessary to find a replacement for him, the case of William Saliba still remains to be settled. Aaron Hickey (Bologna) is one of the players who interest Arsenal, where the summer promises to be once again very hectic.

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