September 23 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 13°C

Five-day forecast

All Guns Blazing: Arsenal fans should look to Europe this season

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
5:07 PM

As the Islington Gazette’s Arsenal fan column returns for the 2013/2014 season, Alex Bellotti looks at the club’s change in fortunes and what Gooners might expect in the season ahead.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

So the new season is nearly upon us and the mood – in marked contrast to last year – is unprecedentedly positive among Gooners.

Considering that at this point in 2013, our only signing was the much-lampooned Yayo Sanogo (who, by a surreal convergence of stars, I saw knock in four goals on Saturday), surely no one could have prophesied the turn in fortunes Arsenal have experienced in so short a time.

Or perhaps they could. Ivan Gazidis and co often spoke in the barren years after the Emirates Stadium move of how the club was being set up to become a leading force in English football for years to come.

As the trophy drought went on, fans’ confidence in this master-plan gave way to cynicism and accusations of PR spin – often with good reason, I should add.

On the dawn of this new season, however, the recent signing of Alexis Sanchez has backed up the bluster and the renewed excitement was palpable during the Emirates Cup.

There’s a shift in how the club is being perceived, but do our goals shift accordingly in terms of what we can achieve? Personally, I would argue a little patience.

While Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina are all admirably smart buys – in some cases, they are even upgrades on what we had before – they are still essentially replacing players we have lost. The influx of new players this summer hasn’t particularly improved our options in terms of squad depth: realistically, Sanchez and Joel Campbell are the only additions to our number.

With Chelsea significantly strengthened and Manchester City’s title-winning squad maturing without any departures, a Premier League challenge will be possibly even more competitive than it was last year. For me, our most immediate improvement should come in Europe.

There’s no doubt Arsene Wenger feels the Champions League-sized hole in his CV, and with an increasing core of technical, tactically intelligent players, it’s clear he’s out to address the fact that we have underperformed abroad recently.

The Premier League will no doubt be an exciting campaign, but with a higher-quality (if not massive) squad suddenly full of knockout-tournament experience, football on the continent provides an immediate opportunity to show our progress. So let’s just hope we qualify first, eh?

Follow me @AlexBellotti

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More Arsenal news

Local Search 24
Looking for a:
Location:
Search radius:
Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »