We’re all looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the 2018/19 season for Arsenal Football Club, and while some are dreading what’s to come given the uncertainty of the situation, there’s no real reason to be worried. Sure, things may not necessarily be an instant success under the leadership of Unai Emery, but this is going to be a process. Arsenal fans can’t expect things to change overnight, and because of that, we need to start thinking about what the priority is going to be for Emery’s first season in charge.
With so many competitions to compete in, it’s going to be interesting to see how the new gaffer manages his resources. Obviously, Arsene Wenger had to deal with the same kind of situation many times, but Emery has a lot on his plate considering he’s going to be managing an English club for the very first time.
Spoiler warning: this is the priority. It has to be. Above everything else, Arsenal can’t really afford to lose too much ground on the teams around them, because the level of quality is growing with each and every passing season. The likes of United, Tottenham, City, Chelsea and Liverpool are always going to strengthen, and while we did hate when the Gunners considered fourth spot a trophy, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League by entering the top four would be a decent achievement.
Throwing all of your eggs into one basket with the Europa League isn’t always a guarantee of success, and we saw that a few weeks back when Atletico Madrid knocked them out at the semi-final stage. We’d argue that Arsenal should play their youngsters throughout the group stage, and then if they manage to progress into the knockouts, that’s when they should start to implement a few first-teamers. From that point on, whatever they do can be considered a bonus.
While the cup competitions shouldn’t be seen as the main priority, it’s still important for the Gunners to try and show up in at least one of them – and the FA Cup is clearly the better of the two. Over the last few years Arsenal have had a phenomenal record in the FA Cup, and if they’re able to get to the latter stages as they so often do, then it’ll be seen as a strong first season for Emery if they can also land a spot in the top four.
We’re going to make this short and sweet because that’s just how it needs to be: the League Cup won’t do anything for Emery, other than give him another chance to give the youngsters a run-out. He needs to be told from the word go that he can’t and shouldn’t risk his big stars in this competition, because there’s no real incentive in comparison to the FA Cup.
What should be Arsenal’s priority?