A Top Four Finish Shouldn’t Be Good Enough For Arsenal

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“Arsenal – Emirates Stadium” by Paul Hudson (CC BY 2.0)

During the lead up to the 2018-2019 Premier League season, Arsenal have been making moves to fortify their squad to improve on a disappointing performance last year. Many have even said that a top-four finish could be on the horizon. But given the club’s history and the quality of players that they are bringing in, shouldn’t a top-four finish be anything but good enough for Arsenal?

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Unai Emery’s start as Arsenal manager is the fact that he is building the team to have some substance. Arsenal have tried to be a stylish team in the recent past, but have had a hard time without the necessary grit to make that style work. Emery has made some deals to bring in players who have that grit to go along with the flair that Arsenal have been known for.

This is a great move by Emery and is a bit surprising given his recent history at Paris Saint-Germain. Emery and the leadership at PSG believed in signing as many high-priced players as possible without regard to their toughness. That led to the team folding like a house of cards whenever faced with adversity, especially when in the Champions League against the elite teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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“Jack Wilshere watches the goal replay” by Ronnie Macdonald (CC BY 2.0)

Arsenal have also done a nice job of getting rid of some of the dead weight from the team as well. One of the highlights of their purge was the loss of Jack Wilshere. Wilshere hasn’t done much of anything for the club despite all of the hype surrounding him early in his Arsenal career. With his move to Fenerbahce, Wilshere can attempt to rebuild his career while Arsenal can attempt to get back to their former glory.

With all of the moves that Arsenal are in the process of making, they should again be one of the favourites in the Premier League. Betfair football odds should reflect this shift in Arsenal when it comes to individual matches, as the team will be superior to most of the opponents that they face over the course of the 2018-2019 Premier League season. This is in spite of them sitting as 30/1 outsiders for the title.

But being superior to most of the teams in the Premier League isn’t the same as being better than all of the teams in the Premier League. And that is where Arsenal’s priority should be. While the team has been comfortable with their status as a top-four team under Arsene Wenger, it is time for them to start a new chapter in the club’s history. That can start with a top-four finish in Emery’s first season at the helm, but it has to progress beyond that status in a hurry.

A failure to be more than a top four team in the near future can be incredibly damaging to the success of Arsenal in the long term. Turning supporters who have become jaded during the Wenger era off even further by failing to achieve under Emery would be disastrous. And a failure to recognise that could be even more dangerous.

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