The 2015-16 English Premier League season will always be looked at as a lost opportunity for Arsenal.
With many traditional powerhouse clubs struggling and the Gunners leading the table in January, their lead fell due to poor performances in the second half of the campaign.
The North London side eventually finished as league runner-ups, 10 points behind surprise champions Leicester City.
Manager Arsene Wenger has drawn the ire of many supporters for not making the best of this title chance and not making the types of transfers that will properly strengthen the squad moving forward.
TACTICS & TRANSFERS
Arsenal are often lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, with a 4-2-3-1 variation. Wenger likes to keep two defensive midfielders in front of the backline and use wide play to create space in the attack.
French striker Olivier Giroud had another productive year, with 16 EPL goals last season. However, the club is looking to the transfer market for additional weapons at the top of the lineup.
Several names have been rumoured recently, with Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette leading the charge. Both would provide excellent options for Wenger moving forward and possess more mobility than Giroud.
Leicester City star midfielder Riyad Mahrez has been another target as well, but recent reports seem to point otherwise for the Algerian international and Lacazette. Adding Mahrez to a midfield with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil would certainly be a way to see goal production increase for the team and any forward playing with them.
Even if any of these transfers do not go through, the addition of talented Swiss international Granit Xhaka should pay immediate dividends in the Gunner midfield.
After a strong season with Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga, Xhaka brings his skill on the ball and excellent vision to the Premier League.
Bolton Wanderers defender Rob Holding was also added and is expected to provide depth to the backline for the upcoming campaign. The 20-year old has shown incredible potential and his development will be important for Arsenal in the coming years.
Perhaps the greatest area that will need to be addressed is Arsenal’s tendency to falter towards the end of a season.
Over the past decade, many EPL title chances and Champions League knockout rounds have seen Arsenal fail to rise to the occasion.
Former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness took a different angle when discussing the squad with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry last year, stating that the club needs more of an edge in their attitude.
Whatever the reasoning, there appears to be a yearning for strong leadership from members of Arsenal. While this may not be the strong suit of the current players, it certainly seems to be an intangible that needs more effectiveness.
Arsenal have finished in the top 4 of the English Premier League each season for the past 20 years, and that is an impressive mark of consistency in many ways.
Arsene Wenger has kept his squad competitive and picked up many wins along the way.
But with the current squad and general malaise that can be a part of their play, expect to see Arsenal hoist the 4th place trophy once again in 2016-17.