Can Arsenal and Arsene Wenger bounce back in the Premier League?

There will have been mixed feelings towards the end of the 2016/17 campaign for Arsenal, with the joy of lifting the FA Cup, slightly overshadowed by the club’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League. After agreeing a new two-year deal at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger will find himself under pressure in his 22nd season with the Gunners, with a return to the top four an absolute must for the North Londoners.

It is not only a return to the top four that Arsenal fans want to see; they want to see their club competing for the Premier League title, which has eluded them since 2004. Last season, the Gunners were way off the pace, finishing the campaign fifth and 18 points behind eventual champions, Chelsea.

Arsène Wenger” (CC BY 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

Wenger’s side are 12/1 to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time in over a decade next season, but punters can take the edge off an unlikely wager with a range of free bets, such as a £20 welcome bonus. Arsenal’s supporters will be hoping that the recent signing of Alexandre Lacazette solves the striking issues at the club, with the Gunners struggling to properly replace Robin van Persie, who left the club back in 2012.

If Wenger’s latest French striker can reproduce his 2016/17 form in the Premier League, Arsenal will be set for an improvement next term. Lacazette scored 36 goals from just 44 appearances across all competitions for Lyon last season, helping the French outfit finish fourth in Ligue 1. The addition of the 26-year-old could prove crucial in Wenger’s bid to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the Emirates, as the signing of the French international is a show of real ambition from Arsenal’s long-serving manager.

Sanchez will again be key for Arsenal next season, and if Wenger has any chance of bringing the glory days back to North London, the Chilean international will be vital. The Gunners will need the forward to rediscover his stunning 2016/17 form and be the talisman at the Emirates Stadium next year.

The rest of the transfer window will also be key for Wenger and Arsenal, with many hoping that the Gunners add steel to the spine of their team, which has proved to be their Achilles heel on so many occasions in recent years.

There is no doubting that the next 12 months are the most important in Wenger’s time with Arsenal, as they could potentially define his time in North London. However, the Frenchman has made all the right noises so far this summer, and the addition of Lacazette should see the Gunners once again compete for a place in the top four.

If Wenger can keep the likes of Sanchez and Ozil in North London, and continue to add players to his squad, there is every chance that Arsenal will be more than a match for some of the division’s frontrunners. The Manchester clubs are once again tipped to set the pace in the Premier League, but the Gunners will be entering the campaign determined to right the wrongs of last season. 

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