3 reasons why Arsenal will challenge for the Premier League title

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Its been a few weeks since the 2018 FIFA World Cup has ended, and in less than a fortnight from now, another mega footballing event that has long been earmarked in the English calendar will begin.

Like every other club, Arsenal too are busy playing the pre-season games and one can make out the change in attitude of the players under the new boss Unai Emery.

The long-standing Arsene Wenger left the club in a precarious situation as the team finished outside of top-four in their second season running; however, if the recently concluded ICC game against PSG is any indication, the Gunners seem to have moved on.

On the pitch, Emery calls the shots now and one can rest assured that Arsenal would no longer be a predictable side. But for fans, nothing without the title would suffice, which brings us to that obvious question, whether they can bid for the Premier League title that has eluded the North London club for years!

Well, there are reasons to believe they can. Let’s have a look at what those are:

#3 New acquisitions at the back

Arsenal’s defensive frailties under Arsene Wenger are well documented. While they boasted of world-class defenders like Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny at the back, as a unit they have always failed to keep regular clean sheets and the later’s proneness to injuries has only complicated matters time and again.

Last season, only champions Manchester City and 4th-placed Liverpool scored more goals than Arsenal, yet the Gunners finished sixth from the top, largely due to the number of goals they conceded.

But things are expected to be better this time around with the arrivals of centre-half Sokratis and right-back Stephen Lichtsteiner into the fold. Both are hugely experienced and can bring that calmness at the back which was missing all these years.

While Sokratis will lead the centre of the defense, Lihtsteiner can deputize Hector Bellerin on the right side and with Bernd Leno on goal, Arsenal look ready for the Premier League.

If the forwards can deliver the goals, one could only imagine what they can achieve with this solid-looking defense.

#2 Midfield Resolve

Lack of resolve in the midfield department has been a lingering problem for Arsenal which has often put the back-line under enormous pressure.

Wenger’s answer to such a problem was Granit Xhaka, but the Swiss international is not a natural defensive midfielder and couldn’t live up to the demands of that position. This meant the opponents had an easy passage to their defensive area and the Gunners struggled each time they did so.

Emery was quick to address this problem with the signing of Lucas Torreira. The Uruguan excelled at the base of Oscar Tabarez’s diamond formation, especially in the 2-1 win over Portugal.

His primary job was to provide cover for the back-line and link-play between the defense and the players further up the pitch. Torreira, with his aggressive style of play, would fit perfectly into the current Arsenal side and that’s before we even get into his technical and passing skills.

In addition to Torreira, Emery has signed another young defensive midfielder, Matteo Guendouzias his back-up man who has already made a strong case for selection in the first XI, having impressed in the pre-season.

So it’s safe to say for the first time in years, Arsenal’s midfield looks sorted and there is every possibility they would give the top teams a run for their money in the upcoming season.

#1 Players well-rested

The Gunners, over the years, have always had a large representation in international tournaments. However, this year, a very small contingent of players from the club participated in the recently concluded World Cup.

The likes of Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil and Mohamed Elneny who are expected to make the first XI, returned home early owing to their country’s poor show in the mega tournament, meaning they would be fresh and raring to go.

  Only a few like Torreira, Xhaka and Lichtsteiner have had a longer stay in the tournament but that shouldn’t be an issue considering Emery has most of his first choice players available for pre-season.

While players from other big clubs are dealing with fatigue and injuries coming off the World Cup, Emery has no such issue to worry about. Given that the new boss has had more time with his squad this summer, Arsenal are in a good position to make a strong start to the season.

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