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Arsenal 2018/19 preview: Staff Predictions

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Where will Arsenal finish in Unai Emery’s first year at the helm?

Arsenal FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One
A new season. Anything can happen.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Every year at TSF, we staff make predictions on how we think the season will shake out. Every year, most of us are at least a little bit wrong. Fortunately, it’s not like everything you put on the internet is archived by Google or Facebook or some random guy and stays around forever so that people can check back, see how wrong you were, and make fun of you for it, right?

Usually when you make predictions, you’ve got a decent amount of baseline information to work with — that’s not Arsenal this year. Having never really seen Arsenal’s players functioning in Unai Emery’s system, it’s tough to say whether the new manager will get more out of them, whether his system will be an utter disaster, or where things might fall in between. But just because we care about you, reader, we’ve gone ahead and taken our best shots.

Let us know how YOU think the season will play out in the comments!

PDB

Arsenal to finish: 5th
Title: Manchester City
Top four: City, Liverpool, Spurs, United
Relegated: Huddersfield, Fulham, Southampton

Arsenal are basically a new team this season. The thing about new teams is that there’s a breaking-in period, and while I’m not sure I buy the hype that the Premier League is the Best League In The Universe, I will agree that from top to bottom it’s probably the most competitive. That means there’s no off weeks, and Arsene’s teams were known for brainfarting their way through a few games a season in the last several seasons. If Unai Emery can eliminate that tendency, Arsenal might surprise some people, but unless the leakiest defense among the top seven teams in the Premiership last year tightens up, it will be another Europa League finish this season.

Aaron Lerner

Arsenal to finish: 2nd
Title: Manchester City
Top 4: City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs
Relegation: Huddersfield, Cardiff City, Southampton

I think this will be the most exciting season Arsenal have had in years. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 10 goals in 13 appearances last season and that was with little familiarity with his teammates. Now that he’s had time to develop chemistry, can I interest you in a full season of Mesut Özil putting him through?

If you missed my midfielders preview, I think Mesut Özil will have a BIG season — like breaking Thierry Henry’s single season assist record of 20 BIG. And if Aubameyang and Özil get it going, production will increase all the way down the lineup. You know, rising tides, all boats, and whatnot.

This season’s Arsenal squad reminds me a fair bit of Liverpool last year. Potentially shaky goalkeeping, question marks at the back, and a ton of attacking talent. Liverpool were fun to watch last year, and Arsenal will be fun to watch this year.

Scott Willis

Arsenal to finish: 3rd
Title: Manchester City
Top 4: City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham
Relegation: Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town

Arsenal will re-claim their rightful spot in the top four (third place) and finish above Tottenham. Manchester City will repeat as Champions but this season it won’t be a run away title race with Liverpool providing a challenge. Chelsea and Manchester United will both finish outside the top four, in fifth and sixth respectively. At the bottom of the table, Huddersfield will not be able to repeat their miraculous task of staying up and will be joined by Cardiff and Bournemouth in relegation to the championship.

Tony D (06n0le)

Arsenal to finish: 4th
Title: Manchester City
Top 4: City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal
Relegation: Southampton, Huddersfield, Cardiff City

With a new coach and a new identity, Arsenal will be a team reborn. The players seem much more relaxed than in seasons past — just look at all the videos of dancing, joking, and general merriment at practice.

That said, there will be some growing pains. After a noticeable roster shakeup and the late inclusion of the post-World Cup players, it will take a few weeks for the squad to find their sea legs and for Emery to find the lineup that works best. The offense will hum through the striking tandem of Aubameyang and Lacazette, whose bromance has blossomed this summer. The defense will be improved, but not to a degree that will make them title contenders.

Although they will fall short of a St. Totteringham’s Day for the third straight season, Arsenal will finish in their rightful CL-qualifying place and win the EL title while their cross town rivals will finish empty-handed once again in their shiny new toilet/stadium.

Joe (3k)

Arsenal to finish: 2nd
Title: Liverpool
Top 4: Liverpool, Arsenal, City, Chelsea
Relegation: Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town, Fulham

Liverpool left last season on a melancholy-soaked high with Mohamed Salah going down in the Champions League final. With his return and their transfer window, they should be in prime position to jump out in front before Boxing Day.

As for Arsenal, WE ARE VERY GOOD AND WE ARE GOING TO STRAIGHTEN THINGS OUT AT THE BACK AND ORGANIZE THE ATTACK. THAT IS ALL.

City had a historic campaign last year, and that almost always leads to a breakdown the year after. Look for an injury or two to frustrate Pep as that backline devolves into the focus of the blame (and fairly so).

And does Chelsea look like a top four side going into the season? No. But if you thought I was putting Sp*rs or Mourinho’s side in here, you thought wrong.

Kate (astronomer17)

Arsenal to finish: 3rd
Title: Manchester City
Top 4: City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea
Relegation: Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town, Fulham

Because Unai Emery and a fair number of our defenders are new to the club, Arsenal will have a bit of an adjustment period to get through and will probably get off to a slow start. They’re quite set on the other end of the pitch, though, between Aubameyang, Özil, Lacazette, and Ramsey, so if they can make it through the first few weeks of the season without too much damage, they’ll certainly be able to get back into the Champions League places at the end of the season. Once the centerbacks get themselves sorted out, Arsenal will be a formidable team. Furthermore, Emery will address Arsenal’s perennial midseason problems and find a way around the winter slump.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will just manage to beat Liverpool to the title, by two points or some such tiny margin, Manchester United have a typical year three Mourinho meltdown and fall all the way to sixth, and like Joe, I refuse to put Spurs in my top four and they will therefore finish in fifth.

Michael (MChrisman)

Arsenal to finish: 3rd
Title: Manchester City
Top 4: City, Liverpool, Arsenal, United
Relegation: Southampton, Cardiff City, Wolves

Too often over the last decade, we knew exactly what Arsenal were coming into a new season and so did the rest of the league. This season Arsenal are a relative unknown, with a new manager for the first time since 1996. The players have had an aura of excitement throughout their first preseason with Unai Emery, and I think there is enough uncertainty with the rest of “Top 6” clubs that this is the perfect time for Arsenal to grab that coveted Champions League spot back. Who knows what Chelsea’s squad will be, Spurs have signed no one and begin their Stadium Debt Era, and United is in year three of Mourinho (my favorite of the Mourinho managerial timeline).

Arsenal finished 12 points off the top 4 last year, going 19-6-13 (W/D/L) in 38 matches. In 2018, we did not secure away points until the last match of the year vs Huddersfield Town. It was bad — a combined score of 15-6 including away loses to the likes of Bournemouth, Swansea, Spurs, Brighton & Hove, Newcastle, Manchester United, and Leicester. Arsenal won 3 out of a possible 21 points in the second half of the season away from the Emirates. This has to be addressed by Emery for Arsenal to finish higher than last year.