Premier League: What to Expect from the Top Six in 2018/19
The Premier League season kicks off on 10 August and, with the World Cup behind us, we may once again turn our attention to domestic football.
With managerial changes, stunning transfer recruitment, and an aura of eager anticipation, here's a look at how the Top 6 are shaping up so far, and what we can expect from them this season.
Arsene Wenger stepping down at the end of last season marked the end of an era for the Gunners. They embark on the same conquest as they always have, only this time they have a new leader.
Unai Emery leads this Arsenal side into the new season, and he will be eager to replicate the success that he achieved at Sevilla where he won three Europa League titles in as many seasons.
Arsenal were guilty of making the same old mistakes in previous seasons, and Emery’s recruitment this season has looked to put that to an end. Wenger took measures to add potency to his attack last season, with Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining the club.
He also persuaded Mesut Ozil to renew his contract, and the quartet will be looking to unleash havoc on Premier League defences this season.
The coup of Bernd Leno and Sokratis from the Bundesliga highlights the fact that Emery won’t be tolerating any slackness or lethargy, with Petr Cech showing some signs of ageing, and Shkodran Mustafi’s transfer fee being brought up on regular intervals towards the end of last season, owing to string of casual defending and high profile errors.
The pair will have to be at the top of their game if they are to cement their spots in the XI this season around.
The capture of Lucas Torreira represents a major upgrade in the middle of the park, for Granit Xhaka was as close as Arsenal got to an out-and-out defensive midfielder. Their setup employed two central midfielders in a holding midfield role but neither were defensively too proficient, meaning Arsenal were caught out quite often.
Torreira plugs that gaping void in central midfield, with a very good skillset of winning the ball and passing ability. The one drawback with him is his lack of aerial ability, and teams are likely to employ the long ball tactic against Arsenal to get in behind their midfield.
Arsenal were usually either breathtakingly intricate or comically errant. There’s nothing in between. Emery will be looking to wipe out the latter half from this very promising Arsenal side and, if he is able to find the balance and the ideal set-up early, Arsenal could be on their way back to the Champions League.