Last season ended on a sour note for Arsenal as they lost heavily to Chelsea in the Europa League final. In fact, the only good thing that happened for the Gunners all season was basically becoming finalists in Baku.
They came 5th in the Premier League, got kicked out of the FA Cup in the 4th Round, reached the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, and were runners-up in the Europa League. While these quasi-achievements may give an impression that the club is growing, Arsenal fans have not been pleased.
That Arsenal got as far as they did was, in essence, the handiwork of the best strike-partners in the Premier League today. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette had a hand in a grand total of 65 goals in all competitions. (Aubameyang: 30 goals, 7 assists)(Lacazette: 18 goals, 10 assists)
In other words, there weren't many problems in the final third. The midfield, while weak at times, had a hand in feeding the forwards effectively to ensure that the goals kept coming in. The main problem, Gooners would tell you, was the defence.
Arsenal scored 73 goals in the Premier League, bested only by Liverpool and Manchester City. However, they conceded 51 goals, making them one of the leakiest defences in the top 10 positions on the table.
Major reinforcements are needed in Arsenal's defence, but after spending €80 million on Nicolas Pepe, it is unlikely that they can afford any top defenders. While recent transfer rumours have the Gunners linked with defenders like Kieran Tierney, there is a chance that Unai Emery might have to make do with what he has.
So let's take a look at Arsenal's best possible backline this season, based on their current squad.
Goalkeeper - Bernd Leno
The 27-year-old German joined the squad at North London just over a year ago, and his debut season has been, well, not bad.
Conceding 42 goals in 32 games in the Premier League, he managed 8 clean sheets. Though his stats put him at conceding over a goal per game on average, he did not make that many mistakes. In reality, the back-three or back-four - depending on Emery's tactics per game - should take most of the blame.
Either way, Bernd Leno has shown great composure and ability between the sticks, and Gooners can expect this to continue. He's likely to feature heavily this season, especially with Petr Cech's retirement. Thankfully for Emery, Leno is only 27 years old, which means he's just about to hit his peak as a goalkeeper.
While last season, Cech was left to feature in most of the Europa League games, it is likely that Leno would be in charge this time around.