Premier League: Opinion - Arsenal's predicted starting XI for the 2019/20 season
Arsenal had a disappointing end to last season when they lost to Chelsea in the Europa League and finished 5th in the Premier League. Unai Emery's first season in charge was hardly memorable, but the team did show positive signs in flashes. The biggest problem in the team was a stark lack of consistency and that has been the main reason for their downfall.
However, those days are done and dusted and its time for a new season to take shape. Every team starts with a clean slate and so will the Gunners. Emery made some smart additions to the team this summer and the pre-season performances have been decent as well. Emery will have a picture forming of his first team for the upcoming season, and today, we discuss Arsenal's predicted starting eleven for the 2019/20 season.
Goalkeeper - Bernd Leno
The German custodian joined Arsenal last summer and had a pretty decent debut season. He managed to register 8 clean sheets, even though Arsenal were poor in defense. Bernd Leno was assured when called upon and showed composure at the back that was not justified by the faltering Gunners' backline. The German did not make too many mistakes and with Peter Cech retiring in the summer, he is set for an even bigger role for his club.
Leno has been impressive in pre-season too and he is the first choice goalkeeper in this Gunners team.
Right-back - Hector Bellerin
The Gunners do have one of the fastest right-backs in world football at their disposal and last season, Hector Bellerin was one of Arsenal's better players. He is blessed with speed, which suits Unai Emery's style of play very well, but the Spaniard is also very assured at the back. His tracking back and tackling make him a very dependable person on the pitch.
Bellerin missed the majority of last season due to a cruciate ligament rupture picked up halfway through the season. Before that, the Spaniard was fabulous for the Gunners, registering an 80% tackle success rate and picking up 5 assists from 19 appearances in the Premier League. He averaged 41 passes and more than 1 interception per game in the league. This season too, Bellerin should be one of the first names on the team sheet and is expected to return from injury by the end of September.
Left Back - Sead Kolasinac
The Bosnian made 24 appearances in the Premier League last season and picked up 7 assists. Sead Kolasinac was a consistent performer at the left-back position last season, regularly joining in attack, while also staying composed at the back. While there are still areas in his game that need improvement, especially tracking back, there's no denying that the Bosnian is Arsenal's best bet at the left-back position.
Kolasinac is a fast, attack-oriented full-back who loves going forward. He is not the most gifted in the final third, but his effort and desire is commendable. Last season, he had a tackle success rate of 62% and averaged 40 passes per game in the Premier League. This season too, Emery will have high hopes from Kolasinac.
Another contender for the role could be Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, who is linked to Arsenal.