After four games of Premier League action, Arsenal are just about positioned where the majority of fans would’ve expected them to be. They fell short against Chelsea and Manchester City to kick off the season, and it’s hard to criticise them all too much for that. Those two sides are set to contend for the title whereas Arsenal are still in the rebuilding phase, with the real news being that they’ve won back to back games against West Ham United and Cardiff City – scoring six goals in the process.
As we look ahead to the future, and by that, we mean the immediate future, it’s interesting to think about where Arsenal could find themselves in just a few weeks time. It’s going to be a crucial period for Unai Emery as he’s forced to deal with competing in three different competitions, as the League Cup and Europa League kick into action.
With so much intrigue surrounding the club right now during the Spaniard’s first season in charge, we thought we’d take a look at what we can expect from their next six games. Some seem as if they’re going to be trickier than others, but all of them pose different challenges to the Gunners.
Arsenal have managed to build on their win over West Ham last week by defeating Cardiff City in Wales by 2-3 on Sunday. Given that there were five goals scored in this game, there were a lot of discussion-worthy moments at both ends of the pitch as the overall positive impression has once again been marred by several unnecessary details, details we’ve unfortunately grown accustomed to seeing.
Cech’s brainless moment
A lot has been said about Petr Cech being uncomfortable with playing out from the back, and the experienced shot-stopper has gone one step further in proving his critics right, at least on this particular issue. Cech is a class goalkeeper, but it’s very hard to explain what happened on the stroke of seven minutes.
Arsenal were able to overcome a lot of challenges yesterday as they defeated Cardiff City 3-2, giving Unai Emery his first away win as a boss in the Premier League. It was extremely touch and go at times but, for the most part, it felt as if Arsenal were starting to put the necessary pieces in place that would help them find success at the highest level. Of course, there’s still a long way to go on this journey, but this is a good step forward for them.
Mesut Ozil seems to be a player that divides opinion amongst Arsenal fans. The playmaker missed last weekend’s 3-1 win over West Ham reportedly due to illness. However, he had been substituted in the previous game a 3-2 defeat at Chelsea.
A lot was made of his absence, with speculation that he has fallen out with Gunners boss Unai Emery, which led to his absence against West Ham. Ozil will start today’s game at Cardiff and will be hoping to produce the sort of performance that will silence his doubters.
On Sunday afternoon, Cardiff City host Arsenal at the Cardiff City Stadium, as the Gunners look to record back-to-back league victories.
Cardiff has yet to record a victory on their return to the Premier League, picking up just two points from their opening three top-flight games this season. The Bluebirds suffered a 3-1 home defeat in midweek in the Carabao Cup.
Last time out in the Premier League, Neil Warnock’s side picked up a goalless draw at Huddersfield. The draw means that the Welsh side has failed to score in any of their three Premier League games so far this season.
Unai Emery spoke to the press earlier today (Friday), focussing on the upcoming game away to Cardiff City on Sunday.
Asked about the progress that was clearly noted by the media in the West Ham win, the Arsenal manager agreed the team is making progress. He revealed that he liked what he was seeing in the last 20 minutes, but also that there were moments in the game when his players lost control for a while. He stressed that there is still a lot to be done, and that only three games have been played so far.
Later today, Arsenal will find out who they will play in the group stages of the Europa League. The Gunners will fancy their chances of winning Europe’s secondary competition this season after making it to the semi-finals last season.
Europa League experience
Although the Europa League is not as high profile as the Champions League, it is still a big trophy to win. The Gunners biggest achievement in the European game remains winning the Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1994.
However, the north London’s club trip to the last four of the competition last season means they now have experience of advancing to the latter stage of the competition.
Arsenal signed Germany international goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of £22million. The 26-year-old was expected to replace veteran stopper Petr Cech as the Gunners first choice at the start of the season. Instead, the German has started the Gunners three Premier League games on the substitute’s bench.
Convinced he made the right decision
Leno is convinced that he made the right decision to join the Gunners this summer. He told Sport Bild: “I am convinced that my change was the right decision,”
“I’m not crazy. It may take a few weeks or months, but my time here will come.”
It’s time to take another trip down memory lane and for this entry, we aren’t going all too far into the past with a look at Arsenal’s game against Newcastle United three years ago. At this point the ‘Wenger Out’ chants weren’t quite as loud as they’d get in a few months time, but still, they were pretty notable. The Gunners had an uneven start to the season with one win, one draw and one loss, and while Newcastle certainly posed a threat to them, it was seen as a very winnable fixture.