Arsenal’s first season since Wenger’s departure was not necessarily as rosy as some fans might’ve imagined. Finishing fifth, they struggled to find consistency under Unai Emery.
From an FPL perspective, the majority of Arsenal’s assets were eclipsed by the prolific form of Liverpool and Man City players, along with a host of more affordable emerging talent found in the likes of Wolves and Bournemouth. Their defence, in particular, was all too easy to ignore.
Nonetheless, Arsenal’s attack was profitable for FPL managers. The potent combination of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette saw the former top the FPL points table for strikers, edging out the more popular Sergio Aguero with 205 points.
If the Gunners can improve on last season, there might well be some value in their squad. Our Arsenal FPL Team Guide for the 2019/20 season should help you to identify that potential value.
What style of football do Arsenal play?
With their plans for the upcoming season pretty much being dependent on winning the Europa League, Arsenal now have a dilemma in terms of squad building. With gaps in the team in areas such as wide-attack, centre back, goalkeeper and attacking midfield, the North London side could well look to play in a similar way to last season.
That approach is hard to explain in simple terms but, to quote Emery himself, it is “to be a chameleon” of sorts. That means being adaptable, flexible and versatile towards the opposition in front of them. This is illustrated by the multiple systems that the former Sevilla and PSG manager has employed, including:
The reactive style of play has received a mixed response from fans, particularly given that Arsenal under Wenger were a team that dictated style, not mimicked it.
It had mixed results too. Arsenal went 22 games unbeaten at the start of the season, but had a disappointing end to the season that included three defeats on the trot to close the 18/19 campaign.
Noticeable patterns of attacking play within Emery’s system were his usage of wide combinations and rotations from overloads and low cutback crosses. This sees the high-positioned full-back, winger, ball-near midfielder and sometimes the striker (depending on whether it’s two-up-top or a lone striker) create triangles to create moments of isolation such as a switch of play to the open flank or to progress forwards with intricate passes and runs.
Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi were a big part of Arsenal’s chance creation within these areas. Meanwhile, Alex Lacazette’s movement to drop towards the ball and pull the opposition out of place to create more gaps for Aubameyang to exploit has contributed towards Arsenal’s attacking moves, as highlighted with the Gabonese forward’s 22 league goals last season.
Arsenal do not have a gospel method of build-up play but usually opt to play out from the back to cut through the opposition. With that said, they’re capable of playing long and direct too, with the aim of winning the floating second ball through the pressing of Granit Xhaka and/or Lucas Torriera.
Arsenal’s defending has been highlighted under both Wenger and Emery over the years, most noticeably for its fragility and lack of leadership. The Gunners look to play with a high line with the ball, but the absence of defensive quality in 1v1 situations is painfully clear. Their counter-pressing leaves a lot to be desired too, lacking the fluidity of Manchester City or Liverpool.
This upcoming season will be interesting to analyse for Emery’s side. You get a feeling that their summer signings will set the tone for how they’ll do for next season. This can be said for any team, but it feels more striking in Arsenal’s case.
With the emphasis on wide play, a winger who can create, score and stretch play seems paramount. The arrival of a new, preferably younger centre back to replace the ageing Lorient Koscielny must also be high on the shopping list.
Last season’s key statistics
Home advantage is a big factor in the likelihood of a club scoring or keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal took this to another level with 58% of their goals and, very worryingly, 87.5% of their clean sheets coming at the Emirates last season.
They also ranked worst for individual errors (28) and 15th for shots on target conceded – 101 more than Man City. Unai Emery’s high line, high press, high-risk strategy is a work in progress and has the potential to translate to FPL points.
But at the moment, selecting one of his players is enough to bring on a migraine.
Arsenal FPL fixture difficulty
The table above shows the fixture difficulty of Arsenal’s opening six matches, as determined by our clean sheet tracker and attacking tracker. These difficulty trackers are based on last seasons home/away specific performance statistics.
Who takes penalties for Arsenal?
According to our data, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is designated penalty taker for Arsenal. The backup penalty taker for Arsenal is Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal FPL price changes
Mesut Özil was Arsenal’s biggest FPL price decrease compared to last season. The midfielder has dropped £1.0 and can be obtained for just £7.5 in 2019/20. Elsewhere, four defenders each dropped by £0.5, these include Laurent Koscielny (£5.0), Konstantinos Mavropanos (£4.5), Nacho Monreal (£5.0) & Sokratis (£5.0).
Only three players increased for Arsenal for the upcoming Fantasy Premier League campaign. Midfielder Alex Iwobi is now priced half a million higher, along with defenders Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (who’s position changed from midfielder to defender this season).
Which Arsenal players to pick on FPL?
There will naturally be a gravitation to Arsenal’s two forwards, Aubameyang and Lacazette, who scored 371 FPL points between them last season. These two players have been Arsenal’s FPL stars – partly due to their impressive returns and partly due to a lack of returns elsewhere in the team.
Much of Arsenal’s FPL value in other positions will be determined by their defensive improvements in the 2019/20 season. If they can emulate their 2018/19 home form on the road, there’s plenty of value to be found in that backline.
The standouts include Kolasinac (£5.5m) who is always an attacking threat, and the nearly-forgotten Hector Bellerin (£5.5m) who, when fit, is surely a premium asset in any FPL side.
The midfield lacks any real standout options, but Alex Iwobi (£6.0m) showed promise last season, scoring 99 points in under 2,000 minutes. It’s hardly ground-breaking, but if the winger can find consistent minutes, he’ll be a rare budget attacker in a top six side.