By GunnerTico, Blog Team Member and Spanish correspondent.
So the 2007 – 2008 season is finally over, and at the end we were not able to get the much desired silverware. We played well, very well but could not deliver when it really counted. It was a season full of flare, full of the beautiful Arsenal passing game but it was also full of injuries and full of disappointment. So what should we expect next season ?
First of all I still believe in Arsene Wenger and in Arsenal and I believe we are on the verge of a very good season:
First of all we need to recognize the improvement our team had last season, the statistics show that it was a big step in the right direction:
First of all we ended up the season with 83 points, which is not only 15 points more than previous season but the third highest quantity of points earned by Arsenal since the 97 – 98 season. Just to give you all an idea in the last ten seasons in the EPL 83 points would have been enough to get us the trophy in four occasions (97–98 , 98-99, 00-01 and 02-03). In terms of goals we were able to score 74 meaning 1,95 goals per game which is better than what we did in the 97-98 and 03-04 seasons (The Invincibles). We had a top three goal scorer in Adebayor with 24 goals and got 19 assists from Cesc Fabregas (EPL leading goal maker).
In terms of goals we could even improve next season, mainly because we might have more players adding to the team in this regard, I expect Vela, Theo and Nasri to contribute in the two figures region and Rosicky and Van Persie will score more than last season, so even if Adebayor does not score as many goals as this last season we should actually do pretty good.
One area that will be improved next season is defense, Arsene knows it and will take corrective actions. This will be the key factor to assure more points from the tough games we know we are going to face.
We should also realize the next season we are going to have a more mature team and if (as we all are expecting) Arsene adds 2 – 3 players to the squad we will have more depth to cover for fatigue and injuries.
Competition is not going to be any softer next season, and not only from the big four, it is expected tougher competition from sides such as Everton, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, which is something that we have to consider, but not only for Arsenal but for Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool as well. Therefore points will be taken from main competitors, it is up to Arsenal to make the most out of it.
Truth is we can honestly expect our team to challenge for the EPL title next season, which should be our main focus. I am really excited about next season.
Champions League and Cups:
These are tough competitions and could be decided on a single game. I am not expecting much on this area but a long run on both the FA Cup and UEFA Champions league is expected.
The Carling Cup could prove interesting as well since it seems we are going to have a strong young side to play (Barazite, Randall, Vela, Theo, Nasri, Traore, Nordtveit, Denilson, etc).
However our main focus has to be the EPL with the UCL coming second.
Current squad and New Players:
We all know our biggest asset right now is Cesc Fabregas, he has been delivering for our club for some time now and had an excellent season being main goal provider, young player of the season and part of the EPL team of the season, he was a key player in the first part of the season. Cesc could only get better after last season and could also have a great Europe 2008 tournament. Cesc will be pivotal in our chase for silverware.
Key players like Robin Van Persie and Rosicky are expected to play a more important role next season, since it is expected for them to remain fit for most of the season, at least they will play more games than they did last one.
Everybody is talking about new players, and to be honest with you I am very excited about some of them, being Nasri the main one so far. It seems he has the technical skill required to play for Arsenal and could become an attraction itself. I have the feeling he will not only make it at Arsenal but will become a favorite for the fans from the very beginning.
A strong defender is also expected, many people wanted Micah Richards but it could also be Richard Dunne or L. Thuram, but whoever comes to Arsenal will be providing more options to AW in an area that was the weakest link last season. I am also very excited about this because if we could strengthen our defense our chances to lift the trophy (mainly the EPL one) will be a lot higher.
There could be another signing in the form of a striker or a midfielder, knowing AW it is very hard to guess who is gonna be but as mentioned before this is also gonna be a good reason to be excited about next season since there are a few very interesting options out there.
In the end I truly believe next season is gonna be a great season for us and cannot wait for it to begin.