Arsenal can emerge triumphant despite Alexis’ exit
|Arsenal have endured a difficult period in January, with the two biggest negative moments standing out being the FA Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest and the imminent loss of Alexis Sanchez to rivals Manchester United.
The Red Devils are set to snatch the services of Arsenal’s two-time FA Cup winner and it’s a massive blow for the Gunners, who have had to endure seeing the likes of Robin Van Persie, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor move from North London to Manchester, although three of those joined Manchester City.
Losing a player of Alexis’ calibre is a massive blow for the Gunners, particularly as they’ve under performed in the Premier League this season and currently stand as outsiders to finish in the Champions League spots, but Arsenal can still emerge triumphant from the situation.
It’s been apparent for a while that Alexis would be leaving Arsenal, as he edged ever close to the expiration of his contract this summer, and Arsene Wenger’s side see to have a plan up their sleeve.
– Source Flickr
New faces on the field
The most significant changes will follow in the January transfer window on the field, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining from Manchester United in exchange for Alexis and the Armenian’s former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks set to join him in North London.
29-year-old Mkhitaryan has struggled to find consistency in the Premier League since joining United from Dortmund in 2016 but his record from the Bundesliga is incredible; scoring 11 goals and providing 15 assists during his final campaign in Germany.
That creativity, partnered with the class of Mesut Ozil, provides a significant boost for the Gunners and their ranks will be more balanced with this addition, whilst it’s exciting to consider the partnership Arsenal may have in attack.
Alexandre Lacazette has struggled this season, though he ended a nine match scoring drought after finding the net against Crystal Palace this season, and partnering with Aubameyang could bring the best out of both the French striker and Arsenal’s new Gabonese recruit.
Movement behind the scenes
The on field business will undoubtedly claim all the headlines in North London but perhaps more important is the work that Arsenal have been conducting behind the scenes in recent months, preparing for life without Arsene Wenger.
Huss Fahmy was appointed head of contracts last year, with fitness expert Darren Burgiss also arriving in North London as director of high performance, but the biggest change has been the recent capture of a new head of recruitment.
Sven Mislintat, the man credited with discovering the likes of Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele, was prized away from the clutches of Borussia Dortmund a few months ago and that relationship has certainly aided Arsenal in the transfer market.
He’s directly playing a part in the moves for Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, whilst he also mastered the deal to bring Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos to the Emirates Stadium last this month. Overall, it suggests a significant change in approach for Arsenal.
The challenge ahead
After a difficult year, the remainder of the season for Arsenal is about consolidation. The Gunners face Chelsea in the second-leg of the League Cup semi-final this week and, although the competition isn’t regarded as significant, winning it would provide a huge boost.
Arsenal must take the Europa League seriously, as they prepared for a first knockout round clash against Swedish side Osterstunds next month, and the Gunners remain amongst the favourites to go all the way in the competition this year.
In the Premier League, Arsene Wenger’s side will aim to embark on a run of form that sees them push their way into the Champions League spots. Whilst it’s a big challenge, the Gunners have not faced too many difficulties in front of goal this season and have scored in nine of their last ten games in all competitions- making them good choices for scoring bets.
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