2015 was a good year for Arsenal. The Gunners claimed a second successive FA Cup, qualified for the Champions League and reached the knockout stages, and they enjoyed strong Premier League form that saw them end the 12 months at the summit of the table.
However, manager Arsene Wenger will be determined to ensure that 2016 is every bit, if not more, successful. In this piece, we identify three major targets for Arsenal to aim for in the next calendar year.
Win the Premier League title
Arsenal know they have a superb opportunity to win the Premier League title this season. The Gunners have not finished top of the table since 2004, when Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ pulled off the remarkable feat of an unbeaten season.
Twelve years on, everyone around the club senses a unique chance to claim English football’s most coveted trophy. The likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have faltered badly, while even Manchester City have struggled for consistency. Despite a host of injuries, the Gunners will feel that this could be their year.
If Arsenal can claim their first title of the Emirates Stadium era, it will be a huge moment in the club’s history and one of Wenger’s finest hours.
Concede less than 30 goals
If the Gunners want to win the title, they’ll need a solid defence. In the past, their back line has proved to be their undoing.
This season, their defensive solidity has been improved by the addition of Petr Cech, whose calm authority has been invaluable thus far. That much was evident in the recent win against Newcastle, when several crucial stops enabled Wenger’s men to escape with a 1-0 victory.
Thus far, Arsenal have conceded 18 Premier League goals in 20 games. However, it’s worth pointing out that four of those came in a single diabolical game, away to Southampton.
Back in 2014/15, the best defence in the Premier League was that of Chelsea. They conceded 32 times and ended up as champions.
It’s not unrealistic to believe that Arsenal could finish the current campaign without conceding more than 30 goals. If they can achieve that feat, they will stand a terrific chance of ending the campaign as champions.
Acquire another marquee star
Not all of these targets are on the field. For Arsenal’s continental reputation to keep growing, it’s essential they continue to attract elite-level talent.
Over the last three summers, Wenger has convinced a trio of world-class players to move to north London. First came Mesut Ozil, prised away from Real Madrid for a club-record fee. Next was Alexis Sanchez, snatched from Barcelona when they needed to raise funds to acquire Luis Suarez. Most recently, Cech arrived from Chelsea to claim the goalkeeping position as his own.
It’s important Arsenal continue that influx of quality. The most obvious ways are in which to attract a marquee player who is in attack: Wenger seems to have been chasing a top drawer striker for several seasons now, and 2016 could be the year he finally gets his man.
If Wenger can find an upgrade on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, Arsenal will be in an even stronger position by the time 2016/17 rolls around.