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Premier League team guide: Arsenal in the spotlight
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Leo Munro
LiveScore
Eddie Nketiah will be hoping to boost his goal tally this term after signing a new deal with Arsenal
Eddie Nketiah will be hoping to boost his goal tally this term after signing a new deal with Arsenal

After their first season without European football since 1996, Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League to secure a Europa League spot for 2022-23.

There is still work to do for Mikel Arteta as the Gunners have been too inconsistent since Pep Guardiola's former assistant took charge in December 2019.

This could be a make-or-break season for the Spaniard as further failure to qualify for the Champions League or win silverware will dial up the pressure at the Emirates Stadium.

Last season: Fifth

The 2021-22 campaign could not have started any worse for Arteta's men. A 2-0 loss at newly-promoted Brentford on the opening day set the mood for August.

By the end of the month, Arsenal had lost all three of their Premier League games, were bottom of the league and had not scored a single goal.

Wins against Norwich and Burnley gave the Gunners a much-needed boost before they beat Tottenham 3-1 in the North London derby.

Having finally found form, Arsenal sat in fourth place by mid-December, six points clear of Tottenham and only three behind Chelsea.

However, a run of late defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton — followed by further losses to Tottenham and Newcastle — saw them surrender their top-four place to bitter rivals Spurs.

New faces

New recruit Gabriel Jesus will make Arsenal more potent in the final third next season
New recruit Gabriel Jesus will make Arsenal more potent in the final third next season

It has been a busy summer at the Emirates Stadium with four new faces arriving — headlined by the £45million capture of former Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian, 25, will be expected to become the out-and-out No9 the Gunners have lacked. He only scored eight league goals last season but 58 strikes in just 99 top-flight starts are an indication of his ability.

Following Jesus from the Etihad Stadium is full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, 25.

The Ukrainian arrives in North London in search of regular football and will give the injury-prone Kieran Tierney competition for the left-back slot.

Arsenal's other major summer addition is Fabio Vieira, 22. The former Porto attacker cost £29.2m.

The Portuguese playmaker can operate on the left or right but, by his own admission, prefers to play centrally as a No10.

US international goalkeeper Matt Turner will provide backup for Aaron Ramsdale after joining from New England Revolution while Brazilian youngster Marquinhos, 19, has been picked up from Sao Paulo.

Potential line-up

4-2-3-1: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus.

Having settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation, Arteta now has to find a way to balance his side while keeping an array of attacking talent happy.

There is nothing too controversial at the back where Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu have overtaken Bernd Leno and the returning Hector Bellerin in goal and at right-back respectively.

Gabriel will partner White at the heart of defence while Zinchenko could overtake Tierney as the first choice at left-back.

At the base of midfield, Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey struck up a good understanding last term.

Further forward is where it gets interesting. Bukayo Saka has made the right-wing spot his own while Jesus will lead the line.

Gabriel Martinelli and vice-captain Martin Odegaard could complete the side but Vieira and Eddie Nketiah will compete for minutes.

Star man: Bukayo Saka

Versatile youngster Bukayo Saka is vital to Arsenal's attacking play
Versatile youngster Bukayo Saka is vital to Arsenal's attacking play

In 2021-22 Saka went from exciting young prospect to key man for the Gunners.

He bounced back from Euro 2020 penalty heartbreak to record his highest-scoring Premier League season yet, bagging 11 goals — two from the spot — while providing seven assists.

This was a big increase on Saka's already impressive 2020-21 campaign in which he struck five times in the league and set up three for his team-mates.

The winger, 20, who can also operate at full-back or in central midfield, will relish the chance to play with new signing Jesus and it would be hard to bet against Saka boosting his assist numbers.

Up-and-comer: Charlie Patino

Charlie Patino, 18, shot to prominence when he came on as a substitute in Arsenal's 5-1 Carabao Cup quarter-final demolition of Sunderland.

With his side 4-1 up, Patino was given an opportunity by boss Arteta and took it in the best way possible.

Given just 10 minutes to impress, Patino scored the fifth in stoppage time. He was rewarded with a start in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest.

With central midfield a weak point in Arsenal's squad, Patino could make the step up to fill that void for the Gunners in 2022-23.

The boss: Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta will be hoping to secure Champions League qualification with Arsenal in 2022-23
Mikel Arteta will be hoping to secure Champions League qualification with Arsenal in 2022-23

Despite avoiding a third consecutive eighth-place finish, there will still be pressure on Arteta after the Gunners missed out on the top four.

Arsenal's last major honour was the FA Cup in 2020. So a third consecutive trophyless season could see Arteta's position come under scrutiny by May.

Last season, the Spanish tactician oversaw impressive victories over Chelsea, Tottenham and top-four rivals at the time West Ham.

However, five defeats in their last 10 games cost Arsenal and will put extra pressure on Arteta to deliver Champions League football.

The Europa League is an opportunity for the former midfielder to showcase his managerial ability against some of Europe's best — and perhaps clinch more silverware.

All information correct as of 3pm, July 20, 2022

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