Why Arsenal Can Win the Premier League Title Next Season

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2014

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal makes his point during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park on December 29, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Although Arsenal's title challenge for 2013/14 is now a thing of a past, there is hope that the Gunners will be able to mount a more sustained push for league honours next year. 

A glance at the league table shows that, even after their traditional spring collapse, Arsene Wenger's side are not that far behind, trailing leaders Liverpool by just seven points. A handful of reversed results could see them fighting it out at the very top of the table, rather than waiting to secure fourth.

There is the basis of an excellent team there. Wenger will know he needs to go out and make additions in the transfer market this summer.

Arsenal would benefit from adding a reliable goalscorer, and it appears as if the manager will have to replace Bacary Sagna, who seems set to leave on a free transfer.

However, talking to John Cross of the Mirror, Wenger stated that he does not expect a complete overhaul:

It will be busy, but the main thing for us will be to keep the stability because we feel we are close. We want to add something that makes us even stronger, but, number wise, it will not be massive.

There's no doubt that the Gunners have quality. If Arsenal can manage a full season with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott consistently fit and available, they will be a threat to anyone.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott during an Arsenal training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League group F match against Napoli at London Colney on December 10, 2013 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Gett
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Injuries have certainly played a part in Arsenal's demise. An overhaul of the club's physiotherapy policies, and a fair bit of luck, could push them even closer to the top of the table.

However, if Arsenal are to emerge as champions in 2014/15, there is one crucial area they must improve: results in the big games.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  Per Mertesacker of Arsenal applauds the crowd after victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on April 28, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Gett
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Speaking to Amy Lawrence of the Guardian, centre-back Per Mertesacker seems in little doubt as to where it went wrong for Arsenal:

We were top of the league for a long time and everyone dreamed of maybe getting the title. But it takes more than just to stay top until the winter period. We couldn't afford those away games against big teams.

We didn't deserve to be in the first three. That is something for next year that we have to manage much better than this year. The early away games killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.

Mertesacker is right: Arsenal must learn those lessons, and quickly. The heavy defeats at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea were hugely costly. Not only did they rob Wenger's team of nine points, but each game was followed up by a draw, allowing another six points to fall by the wayside.

On top of that, there's the undoubted damage the thrashings did to Arsenal's confidence. Having lost 6-0 at Stamford Bridge, both players and fans had the conviction sapped from them.

Arsenal need to get over the psychological hurdle that continually causes them to stumble on the big stage. Adding some silverware, in the form of the FA Cup, could provide a decisive boost.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report’s lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.