Arsenal: Realistic Goals for the 2013-14 Season at the Emirates
Arsenal's season isn't over yet, but Arsene Wenger is sure to have one eye on next season.
The Gunners have gone through an ultimately disappointing 2012-13 season, but there are plenty of realistic goals for the club moving into the 2013-14 season.
Among the top concerns for Arsenal fans, and one would hope for the board as well, would be to win some silverware.
A big signing or two would also be a welcome sight in some fans' eyes.
Here are some realistic goals for the Gunners heading into the 2013-14 season.
Better Record Against "Big Six"
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They've played nine of their 10 games against these other sides, with one home game remaining against Manchester United.
Out of these nine games the Gunners have two wins, two draws and five losses. That's eight points in nine games.
Liverpool is the only team below Arsenal, but that's been the case for the last few seasons. They're also the only team with less points than the Gunners against the other "Big Six."
At home, the Gunners recorded one win, one draw and two losses. Their away record was one win, one draw and three losses.
Neither record is good enough, especially at home.
Whether their ultimate season goal is a title challenge or a top four spot, the Gunners need to do better against these teams next season.
Champions League Qualification
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Arsenal may still make it into the top four this season, but things won't get any easier in 2013-14.
The teams below them, namely Everton and Liverpool, and certainly the teams above them, won't make it easy.
There's also the possibility of Newcastle repeating their 2011-12 feat, especially considering that their January signings had a whole pre-season with the squad.
Better performances against the top teams will be an important factor.
Arsene Wenger has stressed time and again the importance of a top four finish, which will certainly be a goal again next year.
Make It To a Cup Final
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The last time the Gunners were in a cup final was the 2011 Carling Cup Final against Birmingham City.
We all know how that one ended.
While the renamed Capital One Cup isn't the grandest piece of silverware available, reaching the final, and hopefully winning it, would give the Gunners a winning mentality.
A Champions League final appearance may be too high of a target but the FA Cup would be a great goal.
Once the club gets to the final the goal should be, of course, to win it regardless of the opposition.
Getting there is the tricky part.
The Gunners will have to balance a good run at the FA Cup with Champions League qualification, but it can be done.
Clear Out the Deadweight
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There are eight senior players in total who have no future at the Emirates.
It may be hard for Arsenal to get rid of certain players on that list, but it's not impossible.
Some are currently on-loan, like Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson, while others, like Sebastien Squillaci and Andrei Arshavin, have spent considerably more time on the bench than on the pitch this season.
Two of those eight players will be easier to get rid of than the others.
It's highly unlikely that either player will be receiving a renewed contract when the season ends.
Keep Hold of Top Stars
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The continuous departure of their top stars each summer has left Arsenal a much weaker team than they should be.
Gooners worldwide will be hoping their side can hold onto the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere when the season ends.
Olivier Giroud's comments, here on ESPN.co.uk, show that the same thought echoes in the players' minds as well.
It is hard to see anyone leaving given that no individual is having a particularly outstanding season, but anything is possible.
These players may not attract attention like Cesc Fabregas did before his move, or seek silverware elsewhere like Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri, but some may at least consider a move.
It will be up to Arsene Wenger to hold onto these players and strengthen the squad.
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Whether through restrictions by the board or through his own stubbornness, Arsene Wenger has failed to fully strengthen Arsenal in the last few seasons.
He did address one area of weakness during the January window, with the transfer of Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal.
Central midfield, central defense and the forward positions could also use strengthening if the Gunners really want to challenge for silverware next season.
There's certainly no shortage of transfer rumours involving the club.
According to the Daily Mail, Swansea defender Ashley Williams is a target for the Gunners, and they may face competition from Liverpool for his signature.
Whether these exact players arrive or not, the Gunners do need to change some personnel during the summer.
Arsenal does have a solid mixture of veterans and youth, but with some players constantly under-performing it's time for a change.