Pre-Season Preview: Arsenal


Unai Emery’s arrival was meant to be a new beginning for Arsenal last season but after not securing Champions League football in May, the Gunners are looking to do much better in 2019/20.

Unai Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger as boss of the Gunners following a two year spell at PSG last summer with the Gunners finishing fifth behind London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in his first season whilst also guiding the club to the Europa League final. Only it was a step too far as Chelsea ran riot with a second half performance resulted in a 4-1 victory for the Blues in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The FA Cup and EFL Cup saw Arsenal lose to top six rivals in Manchester United and Tottenham in the fourth round and quarter finals in just over five weeks.


It’s been an interesting summer of transfers to say the least for Arsenal. There were reports that the Gunners only had a reported £45 million budget to spend with this summer but its now widely believed its double that.

Dani Ceballos joined on loan from Real Madrid for the season with Nicolas Pepe joining from French Ligue 1 side Lille for a club record £72 million and William Saliba also signed from Saint-Étienne with the 18 year old returning back to his former team for the season as part of the transfer deal with Arsenal.

David Ospina left for Serie A side Napoli whilst 21 year old defender Krystian Bielik also decided to depart Arsenal in order to sign for Championship side Derby County at the price of £10 million.

Laurent Koscielny departed Arsenal for French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux on Tuesday in a £4.6 million deal after nine years at the Emirates Stadium whilst Carl Jenkinson also departed for Championship side Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.

First Six

11th August – Newcastle United (A)

This is a tough opening test for Unai Emery’s side. On paper, Arsenal should comfortably put the hosts away but with Newcastle, you never know what your going to get.

17th August – Burnley (H)

This first home tie of the season could be the easiest three points for Arsenal to gain in August and I do expect them to put Sean Dyche’s side to bed with a victory over them quite easily.

24th August – Liverpool (A)

Going to Anfield and picking up points has been hard for Arsenal over the last few years with it being four years since Arsenal last managed a win over Liverpool and its been seven since they last won at Anfield.  So I’m gonna put this down as a Liverpool win and quite comfortably I’m afraid.

1st September – Tottenham Hotspur (H)

Tottenham’s last visit to the Emirates back in December resulted in a 2-0 victory as they progressed into the EFL Cup semi-finals, however the last time they won in a league tie at the Emirates was back in November 2010. Will home advantage work out for Arsenal here again? I do think so this time around.

15th September – Watford (A)

Arsenal are on their travels again up to Vicarage Road to take on Javi Gracia’s Watford. Since 2015, this will be the Gunners’ tenth encounter with Watford with the hosts managing three victories and only one of those has come at Vicarage Road. For many Gunners fans, Arsenal should be coming away with three points.

22nd September – Aston Villa (H)

This game comes after Arsenal’s first Europa League group stage game of the season and with this being held at the Emirates, I do expect this to end up as a win for Arsenal but by all means, I expect Villa to give Emery’s squad a good run.

Emery On Signing Players Achieving Targets

“We have good competitive players to achieve or try to achieve our target this season and we are going to be looking at something if we can sign someone, but with this idea. Only, and only, if we can improve.”


For Arsenal fans, their expectation will simply be of that to qualify for the Champions League this season over anything else so obviously a finish in the top four will be required for that goal to be achieved or if not, a run to the Europa League final and winning the competition would do the job instead.

Expected starting XI

Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette.


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Photographer who's gone everywhere from covering non-league football to covering England internationals. Occasionally write but mostly at football matches with a camera and mono-pod.

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