At first, Arsenal look to have been revitalised under new manager Unai Emery, but perhaps their lack of depth has hauled them away from competing from the title this season. That said, the new boss has developed the Gunners in making their possession-based play swifter and more direct.
As you kick Emery out of his newly appointed role on Football Manager 2019, can you go even better and claim some silverware in your first season in charge of Arsenal? RealSport gives you all need to know as you set up in North London.
With Arsene Wenger gone, there are no philosophies to follow as Arsenal manager. This is perhaps down to the board now willing to sacrifice an attractive playing style for silverware and qualification back into the ‘Champions Cup’.
It’s a sensible set of expectations issued by the Arsenal board on FM 19, with cup success prioritised over finishing inside the top four. ‘EURO Cup’ qualification will suffice so you will still need to finish fifth, which is no easy task these days as you go up against Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea.
As for the FA Cup, Arsenal have performed well in the competition in recent years, winning it three times in the past five seasons, therefore a trip to the semi-finals will be the minimum target.
The EURO Cup brings your biggest task, where you will need to reach the final of Europe’s secondary competition. You should be able to use your fringe players in the groups, but once the knockouts start, it must become your priority.
The Carabao Cup has now importance, but you will be granted more cash if you aim bigger in the other competitions. Aiming for a top four finish in the league will give you an extra £9 million in your transfer budget, with gunning for the FA Cup final and a EURO Cup victory earning you an extra £1 million each.
There’s a bit more to picking your team in Football Manager this year, with your tactical style dictating which formation you will then pick. If you want to be realistic, you should opt for a ‘vertical tiki-taka’ to stick with Arsenal’s new system of looking after the ball but still moving the ball up the pitch quickly.
If you find the squad doesn’t have the quality to fulfil that, you can slow things down by going for ‘control possession’, try to hit the bigger teams with ‘fluid counter-attack’ or use a bit more width with the conventional ‘tiki taka’.
You can also adjust your mentality depending on the strength and qualities of your opponent. Remember to tweak your player duties to reflect the mentality, otherwise gaps will appear.
Arsenal have experimented with a 4-4-2 diamond narrow formation this season, and if you want to get your best players on the pitch, this is the system to use. It fits the vertical tiki-taka playing style perfectly, but if you want more width, go for a 4-3-3 or 5-2-1-2.
Petr Cech is in goal, with a back four made up Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal. Captain Laurent Koscielny will come in for Mustafi when he returns from injury.
Lucas Torreira operates at the base of diamond, with midfield runner Aaron Ramsey and the powerhouse Granit Xhaka just ahead. Mesut Ozil gets the playmaking role in attacking midfield with deadly duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette linking up top.
On the bench go for Bernd Leno, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck.
Arsenal’s squad is much more balanced than it has been in recent years, with only two world class players standing out from the rest of the squad. Add a couple more and the Gunners can really go for the title.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – CA 4 star (165), PA 4 star (168)
Many suggested the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January 2018 as a panic buy, but his £56 million switch from Borussia Dortmund now looks to be a great piece of business. 26 goals in 42 games for the Gunners is a great return, with Aubameyang playing alongside Alexandre Lacazette up front, as a sole striker or out wide on the left.
On FM, the Gabon star has stats of 20 acceleration, 20 pace and 18 off the ball, taking his CA to 165. This makes him Arsenal’s best player and is just shy of the 29-year-old’s 168 PA, so you need him on the pitch and starting in his preferred striking role.
Mesut Ozil – CA 4 star (162), PA 4 star (180)
Undoubtedly the most frustrating player in the Arsenal squad, after the debacle of a new contract last season, Mesut Ozil now struggles to make the bench under Unai Emery. He is far too good to be outside of the starting 11, but getting the defensive balance with the German playing behind Aubameyang and Lacazette is tricky.
The forwards can drift wide and Aaron Ramsey should run beyond Ozil, so options will be there for him to showcase his 19 vision, 19 first touch and 19 technique on FM. Aged 29, his 162 CA should be much closet to his 180 PA, but there is hope that if you get the former Real Madrid star on form, he will deliver.
Laurent Koscielny – CA 4 star (160), PA 4 star (165)
It’s a surprise to see Koscielny as the third best Arsenal player ahead of the likes of Lacazette, Ramsey and Lucas Torreira but the Frenchman is the closest thing the Gunners have to a reliable defender. The centre back is out injured for the first half of the season so you will have to make do without him, but he will have the effect of a new signing when he returns in the new year.
The 32-year-old Koscielny has attributes of 18 tackling, 17 bravery and 17 heading on FM, taking his CA to 160. Just five short of his 165 potential, you will want your captain back as soon as possible following the Achilles injury that ruled him out of France’s World Cup winning campaign.
Arsenal have produced some fantastic talent in years gone by, featuring names like Ray Parlour, Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Jack Wilshere. With the Carabao Cup and EURO Cup group stages providing the opportunity to rotate your squad, be sure to give these names some game time this season.
Emile Smith-Rowe – CA 2.5 star (126), PA 3.5-4.5 star (140-170)
Already a part of the Arsenal scene, Emile Smith-Rowe has burst onto the scene this season with three goals in six games across the cup competitions. With a lack of wide options, if you do wish to play with wingers, you may find yourself needing to call upon the England U19 international. The left or right winger offers 17 agility, 16 acceleration and 15 pace which will grow as his 126 CA improves to a potential between 140 and 170. Be sure to make him available for the U23s as well to give him game time and remain sharp.
Eddie Nketiah – CA 2.5 star (125), PA 4-5 star (140-170)
It’s a similar story for Eddie Nketiah, as with only two out-and-out strikers in your first team, could be thrust into action if injuries strike. The forward has already picked up 15 first team appearances after first being opportunities by Arsene Wenger, and with a CA between 140 and 170 on Football Manager you can see why. Stats of 17 acceleration, 16 pace and 15 off the ball take him to a 125 CA.
Konstantinos Mavropanos – CA 2 star (123), PA 3-4 star (130-160)
Despite a defensive injury crisis this season which has seen Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding all on the sidelines, it is a surprise that Konstantinos Mavropanos has not been given any minutes under Unai Emery. There is still hope for the Greek U21 international with his 125 CA able to improve between 130 and 160, with his best abilities 16 strength, 16 jumping reach and 15 heading.
|Scouting Staff||Attack Depth|
|Star Goalkeeper (Petr Cech)|
|Star Defender (Laurent Koscielny)|
|Star Midfielder (Mesut Ozil)|
Team Leaders: Laurent Koscielny (C), Petr Cech (VC), Mesut Ozil
High influential: Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal, Sokratis, Granit Xhaka, Danny Welbeck
Dynamics depict the dressing room atmosphere at your club. Be sure to keep the team leaders and influential players happy, as their morale can affect the teammates around them. Motivate them in your team talks and other members of the squad will get fired up. Equally, disrespect them, and the dressing room may turn against you.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £68.7 million
Remaining wage budget: £510,000 a week
Players to sell
The Arsenal first team squad is small, with just 22 fit players as you start the season, so don’t be too drastic in the transfer market. The only first team player you can afford to sell is perhaps Mohamed Elneny, but only do this if you have already brought in a new central midfielder. The Egyptian can still do a job for your side but now 26, his 142 CA may not hit his 155 PA so he has little benefit to your squad. Look to sell the former Basel man for around £17 million, freeing up £50,000 a week in your wage budget.
The other two players to sell are from your U23 squad. It’s a surprise to see Carl Jenkinson still at Arsenal after loan spells at West Ham and Birmingham, and failing to build on his sole England cap back in 2012. Sell the 26-year-old for £2 million and free up £45,000 a week in wages. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez can also go, with him fetching you close to £5 million and putting £20,000 back in your weekly wage budget.
New transfer budget: £91.7 million
New remaining wage budget: £625,000 a week
Complete central midfielder
If you want to persevere with the 4-4-2 diamond, you may want to another central midfielder to your books, and one can that can do everything in midfield. At the moment, Mesut Ozil creates, Aaron Ramsey runs and adds goals, Granit Xhaka adds a backbone and Lucas Torreira breaks up play as well as starting attacks.
As soon as you lose one of those players you start to look short, and someone who can cover all bases will be a massive asset. Someone who is out of contract at the end of the season is PSG’s Adrien Rabiot, and he has the potential to develop into one of the world’s best midfielders. The Frenchman has a 154 CA on the game which can improve to a potential of 165, and hold stats of 17 passing, 16 balance and 16 composure. Despite just 12 months left on his contract, you will still need to pay £44 million plus instalments for the France international, with the 23-year-old’s wages starting at £52,000 a week.
|Corentin Tolisso||23||Bayern Munich||France||152/ 165||£31m||£121k|
|Saul||23||Atletico Madrid||Spain||157/ 169||£39m||£205k|
|Kevin Kampl||27||RB Leipzig||Germany||150/ 150||£26m||£60k|
|Giacomo Bonaventura||28||AC Milan||Italy||150/ 155||£24m||£64k|
Left winger for formation change
With your budget, you perhaps only have enough to make one signing in the summer so if you do want to change your formation, you will need to bring in a left winger. Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck are your only trustworthy options in there, so look for some more class in the transfer market.
If you add on some bonuses, you may be able to sneak in Hirving Lozano into your budget, especially after selling some players. The winger can be picked up for as little as £17 million from PSV Eindhoven, with his wages starting at just £15,000 a week. The 22-year-old Mexican has wages of 17 flair, 16 acceleration and 16 decisions to his game, with his CA at 148 which can rise to a potential of 160.
|Hirving Lozano||22||PSV||Mexico||148/ 160||£11m||£15k|
|Diego Perotti||29||Roma||Argentina||148/ 154||£23m||£89k|
|Yannick Carrasco||24||Yifang||Belgium||151/ 164||£35m||£170k|
|Vitolo||28||Atletico Madrid||Spain||156/ 158||£38m||£185k|
|Yacine Brahimi||28||Porto||Algeria||150/ 156||£19m||£40k|
|Stephan El Shaarawy||25||Roma||Italy||150/ 156||£25m||£64k|
Arsenal are among the worst out of the big clubs when sorting out contracts, with the disputes with Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and now Aaron Ramsey all coming in the last two seasons. Five players have deals running out this season at the Emirates, and although you may wish to leave this to your director of football, just be sure you get Ramsey’s sorted, with the Welshman in real life expected to join Juventus for free at the end of the campaign.
Other players with deals running out are Nacho Monreal, Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Danny Welbeck. Try to renew them all to avoid a crisis next season.
Arsenal are a big club and don’t spend as freely as many of the other sides in the Premier League top six, meaning their finances are looking rosy. Your overall balance is set to increase, as is turnover.
Expenditure may also be on the rise, but with the club’s profit continuing, although fluctuating, you should be in a good position in the years to come. Getting back into the top four would surely see this rise.
Wages are remaining consistent, but the big news is that your transfer budget will increase over the next few seasons. In 2021, you should have £212 million at your disposal.
Challenge once again
Even before the season began, few regarded Arsenal as a Champions League contender, with the Gunners perhaps the weakest side out of the top six. Even after a strong start to the campaign, backed up by wins over Tottenham and Chelsea hasn’t changed the public opinion.
It will not be easy as Arsenal manager, due to an overall shortage of quality in comparison to your rivals, but if you sign well over the next two seasons that could change. The Gunners are probably three players away from being a title contender, so see next season as the one to fire them back into the top four. Could you go even better and claim a first league title since 2004 for the Arsenal?
Full Arsenal Player Ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Petr Cech||36||GK||SK||Defend||3.5 star||155/ 182|
|Hector Bellerin||23||DR WBR||WB||Auto||3.5 star||151/ 162|
|Sokratis||30||DC||NCB||Cover||3.5 star||154/ 154|
|Shkodran Mustafi||26||DC||BPD||Defend||3 star||145/ 161|
|Nacho Monreal||32||DL||FB||Auto||3 star||148/ 148|
|Lucas Torreira||22||DM CM||DLP||Defend||3 star||146/ 165|
|Aaron Ramsey||27||MC||Mezzala AP||Support Attack||3.5 star||149/ 161|
|Granit Xhaka||25||MC||CM DLP||Support||3 star||146/ 160|
|Mesut Ozil||29||AMC||AP||Support||4 star||162/ 180|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||29||STC||PF Poacher AF||Attack||4 star||165/ 168|
|Alexandre Lacazette||27||STC||AF||Attack||3.5 star||151/ 161|
|Bernd Leno||26||GK||SK||Support||3.5 star||154/ 163|
|Rob Holding||22||DC||BPD||Defend||2.5 star||136/ 155|
|Sead Kolasinac||25||WBL DL||Wing back||Support||3 star||144/ 155|
|Mohamed Elneny||26||MC DM||DLP||Defend||3 star||142/ 155|
|Henrikh Mkhitaryan||32||AMC AMR||AP||Attack||3.5 star||156/ 165|
|Alex Iwobi||22||AML||IF||Support||3 star||143/ 158|
|Danny Welbeck||27||AML||IF||Attack||3 star||142/ 160|
|Stephan Lichtsteiner||34||DR||FB||Support||3 star||144/ 159|
|Ainsley Maitland-Niles||20||MC||Mezzala||Support||3 star||139/ 156|
|Matteo Guendouzi||19||MC||B2B||Support||2.5 star||133/ 155|
|Emile Smith-Rowe||18||AML AMR||Winger||Attack||2.5 star||126/ <140|
|Laurent Koscielny||32||DC||CD||Defend||4 star||160/ 165|