Arsenal are one the biggest clubs in England and are renowned for playing a stylish brand of football. However, success has eluded them in the last decade. Arsene Wenger has come under increasing scrutiny over the years for his failure to win trophies and sign the players that will bring back the glory years of the late 90s and early 2000s, but a second placed finish last season suggests they’re not too far off the top. Perhaps with a new manager at the helm and some fresh ideas, they’ll be able to take the next step.
Upon welcoming you to the club, Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis will outline three philosophies that you’ll be judged on:
- Play possession football
- Play attacking football
- Develop players using the club’s youth system
In addition, the Arsenal board will outline the following minimum expectations for the season to come:
- Win the Premier League
- Reach the FA Cup final
- Reach the Champions League quarterfinal
Transfer budget: £39.4m
Wage budget: £2.9m (current spend: £2.4m)
Arsenal's squad is generally pretty strong, so other notable names include Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla. Jack Wilshere, too, is on loan and has a first-team role to play.
A new signing at the club, having been signed from Valencia in the summer for £35m. He is very similar to Koscielny, only with better ball-playing skills with Passing (13) and Vision (12). At 24, Mustafi has his best years ahead of him and should develop into a very good ball-playing defender. However, keep in mind that with the preferred move ‘marks opponents tightly’, he could be susceptible to being dragged out of position by clever forwards.
The only natural central attacking midfielder in the squad is Mesut Özil. The German had a stellar campaign last season and possesses world class attributes: First Touch (19), Passing (19), Technique (19), Anticipation (18), Composure (18), Decisions (19), Flair (19), Off The Ball (20) and Vision (20). Özil is the perfect playmaker and should be the centrepiece of the entire team. Extending his contract beyond 2018 should be a matter of priority.
The obvious standout player here is Alexis Sanchez who has been one of Arsenal’s standout performers in the last two years. Alexis is the complete attacker, combining technical ability (dribbling 18, technique 17) and speed (pace 16) with phenomenal work rate (19). He’s natural as a left winger, but could well be your best option at centre forward as well. His contract expires in 2018, however, and is something that should be renewed urgently.
The Arsenal acadmey isn't a prolific producer of talent, but they do have a number of prospects within their ranks. Other names include Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles
At 18-years-old, Reine Adelaide already possesses good vision (13), technique (13), dribbling (14) and composure (13). He’s also quick (pace 14 and acceleration 14) and likes to cut inside from the left wing. He has four star potential and could be your next left-sided inside forward.
Reiss Nelson, Arsenal’s 16-year-old attacking midfielder, has the potential to be one of the best players at the club. He can play either on the right or left side of attacking midfield and is best as an inside forward. At such a young age, he already has a competent level of flair (15) and determination (14), which will aid his future development. He also has good technique (13) and can dribble (13) and finish (12).
Bellerín has already established himself as Arsenal’s first choice right back, but he’s still only 21-years-old and his best years are ahead of him. He has the potential to achieve average ratings of 7.9 and over each season because of his fantastic speed (pace 20 and acceleration 20) and work rate (16). His crossing (13) and dribbling (13) also mean that he can bag numerous assists for you. First and foremost, though, he’s a defender, which is reflected by his tackling (15), marking (13) and positioning (13).
Given their personnel, you should opt to play in Arsène Wenger’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, in the way set out in the above screenshot. This should get the best out of your two key players, Özil and Sanchez. You have a variety of options for the midfield two and attacking midfield three, so there’s plenty of opportunity for rotation.
Arsenal are strong technique-wise and rank highly for passing and vision so you should look to play retain possession, play short passes and run at defences, as the Gunners do in reality. Playing with a ‘control’ mentality will also aid this. Utilising a deep-lying playmaker should be effective within this tactic. However, make not that against stronger teams you should look to employ a ball-winning midfielder, such as Francis Coquelin. Playing out from the back, too, will work given the strength of your ball-playing centre backs and fullbacks.
|High levels of teamwork||Low agression and commitment|
|High number of youth prospects||Poor depth at left back|
|Spare wage budget|
|Good transger budget|
|Impressive technical abillity|
|High passing ability|
|High work rate|
Key areas to strength are up front and in the left back position. Make note that your 'keeper is ageing and a young replacement should be sought out.
Priority should be signing a good alternative striker to Sanchez or Olivier Giroud. Arsenal were linked with Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and he is worth pursuing on the game. He is strong, quick and a good finisher, which will work well with Arsenal’s style.
Arsenal need to upgrade in the left back department and Alex Grimaldo or Ricardo Rodriguez could be useful options here. Grimaldo will likely be the cheaper of the two options and he’s younger, hence there’s more room for development.
Whilst Petr Cech is a fantastic ‘keeper, he’s 33-years-old and a replacement should be found sooner rather than later. Look to Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma as a young, cheap back-up for a season or two before taking over the reigns from Tech. At 17-year-old, he can protect your goal for years to come.
Players no longer needed
Although Theo Walcott has impressed in reality, his attributes on FM17 make for far less impressive reading and his £140k p/w wages are a huge drain on resources, so you should look to let him go.
You can also look to offload Carl Jenkinson or Mathieu Debuchy (but keep one as Bellerín’s back-up), Wojciech Szczesny, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo.
Have any other tips for Arsenal? Let us know in the comments.
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