After numerous reports of former captain Mikel Arteta being the frontrunner for the vacant manager job at Arsenal, the plot has twisted again and now it’s Unai Emery who seems destined to replace Arsene Wenger in the Emirates dugout.
But regardless of what the name of the new manager will be, there will be challenges for him to face, difficulties to overcome. The job is set to be anything but easy as the new hierarchy at the club is being established with the manager having significantly less say in decision-making than had been the case with Wenger in charge.
First of all, there will be the problem of putting a decent squad together, ready to fight with relative success on several fronts. At the moment, only the front line seems formidable and able to their job properly. However, the man in charge will have to find a way of getting the likes of Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey to perform more consistently, and the finishing skills of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will surely blossom.
During the days of Lacazette’s injury absence in the second half of the season, Aubemeyang’s ineligibility to play in the Europa League had brought up the issue of having Danny Welbeck as the third-choice striker. Even though he wasn’t too bad, Welbeck’s limitations became painfully obvious. The next season should be a different story in that aspect as Aubameyang will be at the manager’s disposal and the only way for Welbeck to be the lone striker will be if both of those ahead of him are injured at the same time. Possible, but not too likely.
But the real challenge will be bringing the other side of the pitch up to a satisfactory level. The current crop of defenders (and defensive midfielders) have displayed serious inability to cope with quality opposition attackers. In 2017/18, the Gunners conceded seven goals in two games against Liverpool, nine in three games against Manchester City, and five in two games against Manchester United. In the first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, they failed to hold on to a 1-0 lead at home with the visitors a man down for almost the entire game. In the second leg, Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann caused them all sorts of trouble.
Even without any specific in-depth analysis of the defence, it’s clearly not good enough, and with Laurent Koscielny probably out for the rest of the year, it’s not likely to get any better unless significant changes are made. And that’s where the trials and challenges of the new manager, whoever it is in the end, will mostly lie. If the reports of a £50million transfer kitty are true, it will make matters even more difficult.
The support and patience of the fanbase as well as the club will be of immense importance.