Premier League Contenders Part I : Arsenal

ArsenalArsenal FC is the third-most successful team in England and one of the five clubs to have won lifted the Premier League trophy since its inception in 1992. The Gunners have won the Premier League three times, all under current manager Arsene Wenger; however their last triumph came ten years ago in the 2003-04 season when they remained unbeaten throughout the season.

Having spent nearly two decades with the north-London club, Arsene Wenger became the Premier League’s longest-serving manager after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson last year. Yet in spite of his immense experience, the 64 year old Frenchman’s job came under severe scrutiny last season as the wheels came off his team at critical junctures of the campaign. The Gunners were on pole position at the midway-point to grab the Premier League title, yet they squandered it all away in the latter half as they struggled to finish at what has become their customary fourth spot. However, Wenger did manage his side to FA Cup glory, Arsenal’s first piece of silverware in over eight years and that has helped calm matters down besides giving a massive boost of confidence to his young team.

Over the years, Wenger’s faith in youth has remained unchanged; but what has changed is that he no longer shies away from paying the big bucks to bring in star players. After spending a club-record £42 million for Mesut Ozil last season, Wenger has followed it up with the £35 million signing of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona this summer. The Chilean forward was in fabulous form for his country at the World Cup in Brazil and is arguably the most exciting import into the Premier League this season. Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, another impressive performer at the 2014 World Cup has also joined the Gunners from French side Nice.

Meanwhile Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen are the most notable names amongst a host of exits from Arsenal. After spending seven years at the north-London club Sagna joined Manchester City on a free transfer. To fill the void, Wenger has brought in Sagna’s fellow French international Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United for £12 million. On the other hand club-captain Vermaelen had been unable to hold onto a regular starting-place for the past couple of seasons due to recurring injuries. The arrival of the young and promising centre-back Callum Chambers from Southampton would hardly have made it any easier this season. The 28 year old Belgian international was only too glad to give his career a new lease of life when Barcelona came knocking with a £15 million move.

Despite losing these two key members of the squad, Arsenal still always have a talented team full of quick, technical and attack-minded players. For the first time in quite a few years, Arsene Wenger has managed to hold on to his best players during the transfer window while adding further talent to the squad. This has certainly helped the continuity of the team as can be evident from the 3-0 drubbing of Manchester City in the Community Shield. But Arsenal’s chief weakness lies in their naivety – their lack of experienced campaigners with bags of mental stamina has often led to their downfall and not much has changed in that respect.

Paranjoy Goswami

Paranjoy Goswami

Has been an avid sports buff for over two decades. With tremendous proficiency on the international sports arena and a zest for writing, he currently pursues a full-time career as freelance sportswriter.
Paranjoy Goswami

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Paranjoy Goswami

Has been an avid sports buff for over two decades. With tremendous proficiency on the international sports arena and a zest for writing, he currently pursues a full-time career as freelance sportswriter.

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