Just over halfway through the Premier League season, Arsenal has been a moderate success. The EPL crown is essentially out of reach, but wasn’t a particularly realistic goal this season anyway. However, a recent, very impressive unbeaten streak and clear signs of improvement under first-year manager Unai Emery have provided reasons for optimism, bot for the remainder of this season and in the next few years to come. For now though, we’re taking the passage of the first weekend of the New Year as a chance to make a few projections about Arsenal’s immediate future.
Hosting The Blues
Arsenal and Chelsea are neck-and-neck in the standings, with the Blues just barely ahead in the crucial fourth place slot. And while the two have played this season, it was so long ago it almost feels like it wasn’t part of the present campaign. Chelsea won that matchup at Stamford Bridge on the strength of a Marcos Alonso goal, taking a 3-2 victory that most would agree was fairly evenly played. The rematch on the 19th at Emirates Stadium will be the most significant match of the season, and if the Gunners are able to pull off the win, they’ll put themselves in the driver’s seat for a top-four finish. It should be a thrilling match, and really could end up being one of Arsenal’s most important ones in years.
Vying For The UCL
Speaking of that top-four finish, vying for a UCL berth will be the theme of the remaining months of the 2018/19 season for Arsenal. And if the club can beat Chelsea this month, it will be time to start monitoring the odds for what should be a closely contested finish. The UK’s expansive online casino network, which relies largely on bonus and game offerings to attract customers, also includes a busy enough sports betting business to provide regularly updated outlooks on all things Premier League. And browsing through these casinos you’ll start to see active odds for top-three and top-four finishes, which should show Arsenal with a reasonable chance at making it into the Champions League once more.
Dissecting specific transfer ideas, even during the midseason window, is always a little bit of a tricky task. So many different football sites and news outlets bat around so many rumours that it’s hard to know what names and connections to take seriously. What seems virtually certain however is that Arsenal will target some stability and talent on the defensive end of the pitch. The Gunners’ 31 goals allowed to date is 10 more than the next most of the four clubs ranked ahead of them, which bodes ill if nothing is done. For this reason we should all be ready to hear about Unai Emery and Co. making some exciting defensive signings this month.
Aubameyang’s Golden Boot Chase
Few would have predicted heading into the 2018/19 season that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would immediately contend for the Golden Boot. While the Borussia Dortmund transfer was expected to provide a spark for the Gunners’ offense, 14 goals by early January has been an unexpected treat. And as of now he’s in a battle with Harry Kane and Mo Salah for the Golden Boot. That won’t necessarily matter a great deal to Arsenal supporters if the team fails to finish in the top four, but nevertheless it will be a fun race to track for the remainder of the season.
A Marquee Destination Again
Maybe the most vague but exciting projection for the remainder of Arsenal’s season is that the club will have a chance to position itself as a marquee destination once again. That may sound silly, given that most footballers in the world would do anything to play for a team of the Gunners’ stature. However, it’s also only reasonable to suggest the club has fallen half a tier below the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea over the course of the current decade. If – and it’s a big if – the team can finish strong enough to push for the top three, with Aubameyang winning a Golden Boot, Emery proving himself in his debut campaign, and Champions League play on the way, Arsenal will look like a rising power for the first time in years.