Search

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

17:07 06 August 2014

Arsenal

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

EMPICS Sport

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.

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

0 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.

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

Latest Islington Sports News

38 minutes ago
Nathan Sowter has become a regular member of Middlesex's T20 side. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leg-spinner Nathan Sowter is seeking to play his part in a rare Twenty20 double for Middlesex this season.

Yesterday, 17:35
Danny Arnold during his run to the junior ABA final with St Pancras ABC. Pic: Dieter Perry

Former St Pancras ABC star Danny Arnold has been tipped to become a professional champion by the club’s trainer CJ Hussein.

Tue, 18:35
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette

Lyon have refuted reports that they have received a second bid from Arsenal for star striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Tue, 07:30
North London players celebrate a wicket from Jordan Gregory in their five-run win against Brentham. Pic: Max Flego

Captain Sam Bardon has urged North London to maintain the impetus of their seven-match unbeaten run as they prepare to face the top two sides in Middlesex County League Division Three.

Mon, 07:14
Middlesex's Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan feels Middlesex’s impressive County Championship form has been a key factor in their recent improvement in white-ball cricket.

Friday, July 22, 2016
Dominic Ogbechie was given the Outstanding Individual Boy award at last weeks Camden Sport and Physical Activity Celebration night. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Already standing 6ft 1in tall at the tender age of 14, Highgate Harriers’ Dominic Ogbechie clearly has a knack for defying gravity – and the sky is the limit for the prodigious teenager.

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Eoin Morgan batting for Middlesex

Middlesex overcame Surrey in front of a record crowd at Lord’s to strengthen their hopes of reaching the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals.

Thursday, July 21, 2016
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll. Pic: Paolo Minoli

North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll has entered his name into the Middlesex County League’s record books after scoring a century and taking eight wickets in a stunning individual display.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now