Is this Arsenal's best chance to get back to their former best?
Analyzing Arsenal's best league season finish for three years
With only two games left for the season, Arsenal is all set to finish third in the Premier league, making it their most succesful season in recent years specially after their performance in the first half. Also, after a long time, Arsene Wenger has finished a season with no speculation about his future even though Arsenal has not managed to win any major trophy this year so far.
That said, they have made it to the finals of the FA Cup and are set to play Aston Villa on 30th May.
The last few months have produced some great results for the Gunners and Wenger has already mentioned the importance of avoiding the Champions League play offs. The squad looks better than at any time in past few seasons, and a few more changes here and there could see them win a Premier League title next season.
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez on the wing has given Arsenal the 'X' factor they needed. The Chilean has been really impressive since arriving from the Catalans and has scored 24 goals this season, featuring in almost all the matches for Wenger. He has been too good at times, beating defences with his pace and skills. The former Barcelona player was the lone fighter for Arsenal until the return of Mesut Ozil from an injury which kept him out for most part of the season.
Ozil looked a completely different player after the Christmas break. The German finally looks like settling into the Arsenal system and next season could be a big one for him if he is able to stay away from injuries. Wenger would be hoping that Ozil takes his recent form into the next season as his creative presence in the centre is very important for the Gunners.
Cazorla has been a revelation this season
One player who has been a complete stand out this year is Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard who is already 30 looks in the form of his life. He has been used in a more defensive role by Wenger after the injuries to Wilshere and Arteta. He has created chances for his teammates from behind to which other teams had no answer.
Francis Coquelin's emergence in midfield has certainly provided a better option than Flamini to the manager.
With Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey also coming back from their injuries Arsenal's midfield looks very strong. A possible arrival of Sami Khedira or Ilkay Gundogan will be a big boost.
Any new signing would mean the departure of either Flamini or Arteta or both. Arteta, who was named the Arsenal captain for this season, has missed out majority of the season due to injuries.
Wojciech Szczesny has looked a shadow of the promising goalkeeper who won the golden glove last season. His mistakes cost Arsenal some important points and was eventually dropped on the bench. David Ospina showed some promise since replacing Wojciech but if Arsenal wants to compete for the title they need a top goal keeper. They have been linked with experienced keepers like Iker Casillas and Petr Cech and with both ready to leave their clubs a move can be expected.
Arsenal’s defense looks good but they need a 30-goal striker
The resurrection of Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny has given some joy to Wenger. The Arsenal defence has been very good in the latter half of the season. Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers have shown plenty of promise and look ready to serve the club for a long time.
Debuchy, who was brought in to replace Bacary Sagna, missed most of the season with injury but looked good every time he stepped on the field. The big German Per Mertesacker has taken up the captaincy in the absence of Arteta but is ageing. He was outrun by the strikers on a few occasions and Wenger might plan to buy a younger replacement for him.
The real problem for Wenger should be the striker. Danny Welbeck who was bought from Manchester United this season showed some early promise but lost his form soon forcing Arsene to play him on the wing. Injuries didn't help his case either.
Another player who is quite used to getting injured is Theo Walcott. The England player was out for 10 months, missing the World Cup in Brazil and the complete first half of the season. Even after his return he has only looked a shadow of his former self. He has lost some pace and looks out of sorts.
Wenger has always rated Walcott very highly and would be hoping for some good performances from him next season.
The Arsenal boss has also always backed Olivier Giroud to be a world class striker at Arsenal, but the French forward has not been able to repay his faith since his arrival at the Emirates. Giroud has not been able to perform against the bigger clubs and that has cost Arsenal some important points.
Wenger might be tempted to bring in an already established striker, and a move for Karim Benzema or Alexandre Lacazatte cannot be ruled out.