Season of Surprises – Crystal Ball 20/21…. Asking the GT readers (Part 1)
For the first time in a generation I’m very excited about an Arsenal season.
Fans feed on belief and Mikel Arteta is obliging.
To preview the season, I thought it would be fun to ask the Gunners Town readers for your opinion on a handful of interesting topics.
Some questions are more standard. Some give you a chance to show off.
I’ve given my thoughts, but this is more for you.
Feel free to leave your comments below or on Twitter for all to admire 😊
It’s May 2021. Season is over. Which position did Saka play in more than any other?
I started with this one because it’s a fun brain ache! Not easy. I can see so many options and left wing back keeps screaming at me. I’m going to stick my neck out and say attacking midfield.
I think behind the scenes last season he was being groomed for this position. He will rotate with Willian.
Who are you most excited about?
If we sign Thomas Partey which I think we will, he would edge these two… Saliba firstly as I’m ready again to be nervous that Real Madrid will buy our world class talent. I think he will quickly show that he is a generational talent.
Secondly and equally, Willian.
I think many have low expectations as they see his age and the conversation ends.
I think he will create a truckload of chances as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 against weaker teams, as he did for Chelsea from the right.
I believe he’s been pining to play centrally but not been given the chance and will flourish due to pent-up frustration.
Which formation will we deploy as our default? Second choice?
I think we start the season with the 3-4-3 as Saliba adapts to the league. We also lack midfield numbers so a 2-man midfield makes sense until we sign two more.
I think the hope is to go 4-3-3 against tough opposition and 4-2-3-1 against weaker opponents.
What will be our most common line up?
4-2-3-1 but only just. It may take until November to switch from 3-4-3 as the adaptation for those young defenders and those likely signed at the end of the transfer window will slow our preference down.
What are you most excited about?
Surprising everyone including Arsenal fans.
I think we will make larger strides than most Arsenal fans anticipate and certainly compared to how non-Arsenal fans see us.
This season should be another transition as Arteta’s first full season and with what I believe will be a 50% new starting line-up.
Few will be shocked if we win one or more of the cups. Our specialty.
Many will be shocked that we will compete for the majority of the season.
Secondly, I think we will lead the way tactically. Another surprise. It’s already started happening. How to play the big teams.
I think we will see the most fluid, flexible, hybrid team in the league. The signs are already there, and it’s been part of a quiet foundational shift without optimal pieces.
The third surprise will be the contribution of Mo Elneny.
Who will have the most assists?
Willian and Pepe will contest with the Brazilian winning out.
Who did we sell by the end of this window?
Who do we sign this season, January included?
Beyond current signings …
Dumfries loan with obligation
Patson Daka from Red Bull Salzburg for £25M in January.
A frighteningly fast and efficient striker. Potentially a similar attainable level as Erling Braut Haaland.
Dani Ceballos makes the permanent switch.
Nketiah goes on loan, along with Nelson.
Which month was our best?
September or May.
I think we start the season on a winning run due to the energy created from last season. I think we sit pretty at the top of the league by the end of the transfer window even though we’ve had a hard run.
I also think we end strong, solidifying a CL spot.
Our biggest on field improvement was?
Dominating midfield again giving ourselves the opportunity to dominate games. The arrival of Partey and Aouar balances our midfield and allows them to play with more freedom.
Chance creation is significantly higher due to ‘second season Saka and Pepe’ added to Willian.
I’ve got a sneaky feeling that ESR or Nelson will blossom in this area too.
Surprise of the season?
I’ve used that word earlier so rather than repeat myself I’ll go for a player.
I think Dani Ceballos will be our player of the season.
He seems so highly motivated by Arteta and the opportunity to play in the Euro’s.
I think we will make his loan permanent in January.
I’ll add that fans will be exposed to the hidden gem of the Arsenal Academy. The one that may surpass all that went before… Charlie Patino.
How far do we go in the Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup?
Win Europa League
Qtr Final in FA Cup
Win Carabao Cup
Does any of our squad make it into England’s Euro squad?
There is always a turning point in a season. What’s yours?
After taking 6 months to adapt, Aouar finds his form and propels us to a Europa League win and impressive league finish.
There is always a scandal. What’s our biggest scandal?
After years of wondering if UFO’s are real, we find out they are as Mesut Ozil finally leaves the club after being captured by aliens. He is saved by Mathieu Flamini’s bio-chemical company somehow and returns to earth claiming that he’s still owed 1 more year at Arsenal.
After a 3-year legal battle, he finally leaves after somebody finds a better use for the canons outside the Armoury.
Part 2 will be up shortly…
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.