Arsenal may have won the FA Cup again last term but the season is likely to be remembered for more unsavoury scenes, as many fans protested against manager Arsene Wenger.
The long-serving French boss was rapidly approaching the end of his contract in North London and there were major questions, and concerns, as to whether he’d sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium- with many seeking changes.
In the end, Wenger was awarded a new two-year deal and the signs have been relatively good so far- with the Gunners capturing Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette earlier in the window to strengthen their squad ahead of the new campaign.
However, Wenger admitted mistakes were probably made last season as he continuously refused to clarify his position- which led to continued speculation, protests and frustrations. Speaking to the club’s official website, he said:
“For me it will be a change because it was a bit eternal, a repetition of the press conferences about that. Maybe I made a mistake and allowed that to happen because I didn’t commit early enough.”
“I think at some stage I did not think it would be a handicap for my commitment and it was not. But it was a bit of a handicap because it created a climate of insecurity and a lack of clarity about my person that maybe did not help at some stage.
“I believe everyone is focused on the new season and giving absolutely the best, so overall that is what we want as we go into it.”
“We basically had three seasons last year: the first part was very positive, the second part was very negative, and the third part was very positive. I believe it is important that we analyse well what happened to us, and where we can improve – and then transfer the optimistic final part of the season into the new campaign and start in a very strong way.”
Crucially, Wenger showed a willingness to change towards the back-end of the campaign and Arsenal enjoyed significant improvements playing with a three-man defence, including a dominating performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Arsenal are likely to stick with this set-up for the forthcoming season and the addition of Lacazette gives them the top-class striker they’ve lacked ever since Robin van Persie jumped ship.
However, the success of Arsenal’s summer will certainly hinge on the futures of their key-players, as Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil have all entered the final 12 months of their contracts.
Ozil stated last week he intends to stay at Arsenal but Alexis’ position is a real concern as he continues to grab headlines, whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain also faces similar speculation amidst reports linking him with numerous Premier League sides.