Premier League restart preview No 1: Arsenal | Nick Ames | Soccer


What did the suspension of the league look like on March 13? If Mikel Mikel Arteta’s positive test for Covid-19 at the end of March 12 had led to a series of events that were going on quickly and ended the league hours later. We will never know how important this has been to public health at large; For their part, Arsenal was already on red alert after several players were forced to isolate themselves, leading to the postponement of their match at Manchester City the day before. Throwing it out as the last twist in a turbulent season seems a bit fuzzy, but Arsenal was already at the point where we were wondering what might happen next.A campaign that began with the hijacking of cars by Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac continued with the disorderly disappearance of the mandate of Unai Emery and the extraordinary fallout from Granit Xhaka. The appointment of Arteta was more positive and the results, if not always the performances, improved significantly. Before the stoppage, an eight-game unbeaten streak in the league had raised hopes of a late recovery for European spots. But the way they left the Europa League for a mediocre Olympiakos reminded us that, according to everything about their past 12 months, all bets are closed on what will happen next.

And now? Fortunately, the Coronavirus Arteta case was mild and he was soon back to work. In some ways, the hiatus has been a blessing: Arsenal have played 15 games in two and a half months since arriving and there had been little time to communicate their ideas at length. The players were instructed on football and cultural issues, individually and collectively, before the training restarted and Arteta spoke of the need to “have a lot of thinking about all the departments we have in the club.” As long as Lucas Torreira and Kieran Tierney have ten days without incident, Calum Chambers should be the only long-term injury to restart football. But the uncertainty remains. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka have not yet been linked to new contracts, while Arsenal hope they will not need to ask their team for new financial sacrifices after a 12-salary drop , 5% was badly accepted by the majority.

What must be done to succeed at the end of the season? There is no dance around him: the stakes may not be higher for Arsenal in the next 10 games. If qualifying for the Europa League, at a minimum, was imperative before the ravages of Covid-19, it’s hard to overstate how problematic a failure would be now. A payroll of £ 230 million is, with or without the agreed reductions, impossible to maintain if they fail and there will be other problems if the 2020-21 season goes off without a crowd; the day’s revenues were £ 96 million in 2018-2019. There is a reason why Arteta admits that there are “one, two, three different scenarios” for which he must plan in advance. It is therefore essential to pick up where they left off, and what a boost it would be if they could claim a scalp early in Etihad. In March, Arsenal were looking for ways to win close games, and that talent must simply continue through the summer. The shape of their medium-term future depends on it.

Did the players and staff behave during the lockout? There have been exasperating gaps. David Luiz, Nicolas Pépé, Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette were all convicted of violating social distancing rules in April and Lacazette, whose long-term position seems clearly uncertain, was questioned by the club last month after apparently was filmed inhaling nitrous oxide.

Little-known / community heroes? Arsenal’s work in Islington continues to give them enormous credit. As soon as the foreclosure was imposed, they made major donations to local charities and offered a range of assistance to schools, youth and NHS staff. They helped deliver 15 tonnes of emergency supplies for the coronaviruses, including 30,000 meals, throughout the borough.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang resumes training at the end of May. Photography: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty Images

Key player in the run-in? There are no questions. If Aubameyang shoots, then Arsenal still has a chance. He rediscovered love under Arteta, who is cautiously optimistic about talking about a new contract. A late crucial defeat against Olympiacos was deep, but it was mainly visible for its rarity.

End of season forecast Sixth place and qualification in the Europa League, perhaps with a victory in the FA Cup. But will that be enough to prevent the vultures that revolve around Aubameyang, Saka and more of their young stars?

Remaining calendar (all BST hours): Wed June 17 Manchester City (a) – 8:15 p.m., Sky Sports Sat June 20 Brighton (a) – 3 p.m., BT Sport Thu June 25 Southampton (a) – 6 p.m., Sky Sports Wed July 1 Norwich (h) – 6 p.m., BT Sport To confirm Wolves (a), Leicester (h), Tottenham (a), Liverpool (h), Aston Villa (a), Watford (h)


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