Last season saw Arsenal go through a huge change in terms of management. Arsene Wenger stood down from his role as manager and for the first time in 22 years, someone else would be in charge. The club appointed Unai Emery as the new gaffer as well as bringing in some new players.
Bernd Leno was signed to replace Petr Cech, whilst Sokratis was brought in to shore up the defence. After a good World Cup Lucas Torreira was signed from Sampdoria. He was Arsenal’s most expensive signing at £27 million. Young French midfielder Guendouzi was signed from FC Lorient after several successful scouting missions.
Arsenal hadn’t won the league since 2003/4 so getting off to a good start was very important. The fixture list wasn’t kind to Arsenal and they faced Man City and Chelsea in the first two games. City beat them 2-0 at The Emirates whilst an 81st minute Marcos Alonso goal gave Chelsea all three points, not the start Emery was hoping for.
However, they managed to turn it around and went unbeaten in their next 14 games. This included a 4-2 win over rivals Spurs. Three second-half goals saw them get the three points in Emery’s biggest win to date as the Arsenal manager.
Over Christmas though Arsenals form struggled again. In six games they managed just two wins. They lost 3-2 to Southampton, 5-1 to Liverpool and 1-0 to West Ham all away from home. It was becoming clear that Arsenals away form was an issue for them this season. Aubameyang did score four times over this period and was chasing the golden boot.
Arsenal managed to get revenge on Chelsea after Christmas and beat them 2-0 at home. Two first-half goals from Koscielny and Lacazette were enough. Again though Arsenal’s away form let them down and they were beaten 3-1 by Man City. Sloppy defending saw Aguero score in the first minute and Arsenal were up against it straight away.
But another good run of games saw Arsenal closing in on top four and Champions League football for the first time since the 16/17 season. They managed six games unbeaten, beating Man United and drawing with Spurs on the way.
A top four place was looking like a real possibility with seven games to go but Arsenal’s poor away form returned. They lost four of these games, three of which were away to Everton, Leicester and Wolves. Arsenal ended the season on a high with a 3-1 win against Burnley but finished fifth, one point off of top four. Aubameyang finished the season as the Premier League joint top scorer, with Salah and Mane, which will give Emery something to build on for next season.
The league campaign was a mixed one for Arsenal. They showed at times that they can play some fantastic football but if they want to make a real go of the league they need to learn to play against the very physical teams. Emery will know he needs to add some defenders to his squad but will be hopeful for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
Emery did manage to guide Arsenal to the Europa League final. They faced Chelsea in Baku and had a fantastic run to get there but the final seemed to be one game too many. They were beaten 4-1 on the night. Arsenal did have their chances but most of those came in the first half and they couldn’t keep it up in the second half. It was a disappointing end for Emery but there were still positives to take from the season as a whole.