Unai Emery’s first season at Arsenal was so close to being a big success.
Towards the end of the campaign, it looked as though Emery would guide Arsenal back into a top-four spot with Champions League football.
However, three loses between the 21st and 28th of April to Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester put a big dent in those hopes.
Arsenal would eventually finish the Premier League season in 5th place.
The Gunners had one more shot at CL football last season as they made it to the 2019 Europa League final.
However, Arsenal were hammered 4-1 by fellow Premier League outfit, Chelsea.
Newcastle vs Arsenal
The North London club are now faced with yet another season of EL football.
As a result, Emery will no doubt be keen to finish the 2019/20 season in at least 4th spot.
Arsenal will kick off their 2019/20 Premier League campaign vs Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United on August 11th.
Here is how they could line-up for said game.
Bellerin still out
Starting at the back, with Petr Cech departing Arsenal last summer, Bernd Leno is pretty much nailed on to start for the Gunners vs Newcastle.
The German enjoyed a decent debut campaign for Arsenal that saw him pull off some key saves and make 32 PL appearances.
🤔 Save of the season?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 5, 2019
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 7, 2019
At the right-back spot, Emery would probably want Hector Bellerin in that role.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, the Spaniard has been out of action since last season with it being reported he will not be back in full action till the end of September.
Instead, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to start there, as he has done for the Gunners during much of their pre-season.
Chambers replaces Mustafi
Moving into the centre of defence and one of Arsenal’s biggest problem areas.
Fully fit, Laurent Koscielny is arguably Arsenal’s best centre-back.
However, after not travelling with the club on their US pre-season tour, the Frenchman looks to be on his way out of Arsenal.
Ligue 1 side Rennes are one of the clubs being tipped to sign him.
Plus, like Bellerin, Rob Holding will not allegedly be back fully fit until September 15th, ruling him out of the Newcastle game.
That leaves Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Sokratis to chose from.
Given Mustafi had a rather poor 2018/19 season and has also looked a bit off in pre-season, it is likely Emery will deploy Sokratis and Chambers at centre-back vs the Magpies.
Still two weeks until the season starts and we’ve already seen the reassuring sight of Mustafi calling for offside as Arsenal’s defence falls to pieces pic.twitter.com/syaAbG1OvP
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) July 28, 2019
Tierney to Arsenal
This final spot in Arsenal’s backline could well be taken up by Kieran Tierney.
With Nacho Monreal now 33 and Sead Kolasinac better utilised in back five, Arsenal look to be in the market for a new left-back.
As per the Sun, reporting on Monday the 30th of July, Arsenal are preparing a third bid for Celtic’s Tierney.
That bid is said to meet Celtic’s asking price of £25m.
Should Arsenal wrap up a deal for the full-back this summer, he will very likely be their first choice left-back throughout 2019/20.
The Scotsman has already played over 170 games for Celtic and has both Europa League and Champions League experience.
Torreira back too late?
Moving forward to Arsenal’s midfield. Lucas Torreira has been absent from Arsenal’s pre-season so far due to being on holiday.
Torreira posted some pictures to his Instagram story on Monday showing he is back with Arsenal.
📸 | #AFC
Lucas Torreira is back in London, & training this morning.
IG: [ltorreira34] pic.twitter.com/3hXDIOcgrD
— afcSource™ (@afcSource) July 30, 2019
But given we are rather close to the season beginning, Torreira may not be fully fit for the first game.
Ozil to start?
Instead, Emery could opt for a central midfield trio of Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil.
While Arsenal fans will probably be keen to see new signing Dani Ceballos get a run out, he has only featured in one game for Arsenal so far and it was from the bench.
So, for the first clash of the season, Emery may choose a more well known set up and give Ceballos a bit more time to settle in.
Also, although some Arsenal fans probably won’t be too happy to see Ozil starting, he has had a pretty decent pre-season.
Emery also recently named the German as one of the side’s three captains now Koscielny looks to be on his way:
“We are working now with the captains. They are Xhaka, Ozil and Nacho Monreal. I want to add two more and then I am going to decide the number one, two, three, four and five in the next weeks.” As quoted by Mirror.
Oh yes, Mesut – that’s special 🤩
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 23, 2019
A dangerous attacking trio
Finally, we move to Arsenal’s attack and perhaps the deadliest part of their squad.
Both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had solid 2018/19s
Aubameyang netted 31 and assisted seven across all competitions and took home the Premier League Golden Boot.
Lacazette would score 19 and assist 10 last term.
However, the right hand side of Arsenal’s attack has been somewhat lacking.
Neither Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Alex Iwobi were overly impressive last season.
However, reports emerged on July 30th that Arsenal are set to complete the sigining of Lille winger, Nicolas Pepe.
Arsenal are on course to confirm the €80m club-record signing of Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe from Lille later this week. The 24-year-old winger/forward has arrived in London & will undergo a medical today before signing a five-year contract at the Emirates #AFC #LOSC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 30, 2019
Pepe had an outstanding 2018/19 with Lille, in which he scored 23 and assisted 12 in 41 clashes.
Should Pepe achieve a similar feet with Arsenal, that front three for Arsenal could be deadly in 2019/20.
Arsenal’s predicted XI