Arsenal fans are right to be buzzing after club’s brilliant business, but Man Utd and Chelsea must be fearing the worst

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YOU can hear them.

Arsenal fans.

Arsenal finally secured a centre-back after signing David Luiz on deadline day
The Gunners broke their transfer record to sign forward Nicolas Pepe for £72m
Getty – Contributor

Excited, confident, Arsenal fans.

Not so much because they think Unai Emery can get the Gunners back in the title equation. At least, not yet.

But because they have looked at what Emery has been able to do this summer, peered across at Chelsea and Manchester United in particular – and are convinced a top four spot is there for the taking.

And, in truth, it is hard to blame them.

After all, when they heard Emery had just a £45m war-chest for the summer, it did not seem enough.

Instead, by some smart work, intelligent thinking, and shrewd sales, nobody is moaning now.

Arsenal already had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who scored 50 between them in all competitions last season.

But then they added Nicolas Pepe (23 for Lille last term), Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid and Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli.

Pace out wide. Quality through the middle. Goals. And that’s before, perhaps, the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan can get focussed.

Had Arsenal not been able to do their deadline day business, bringing in Kieran Tierney and David Luiz, for an outlay of £33million, to bolster a potentially porous back division, it might have been different.

After all, there is little point in building an attack that can hurt anybody if you are wide open at the other end.

But those last purchases have strengthened Emery’s rearguard, at the point where both Chelsea and United look vulnerable.

Chelsea’s situation is not entirely under Frank Lampard’s control – although the new manager did sanction the surprise Luiz sale.

But the Fifa transfer ban, which pre-dated Eden Hazard’s departure to Madrid, leaves Chelsea weaker than they were – even if the club’s belief in their academy products is well-founded.

Hazard’s statistics over the past few years tell a story that cannot be denied.

Last season alone, with 16 Prem goals and 15 assists, he topped the combined charts.

Olivier Giroud may have to step up to replace Eden Hazard next season

He had double-figure goal returns in six of his seven seasons at Stamford Bridge.

And he was, always, Chelsea’s go-to player. Their out-ball. The man you had to double-mark, leaving space elsewhere.

Lampard has to find that creative spark, now, from elsewhere, a combination of Willian, Pedro, new recruit Christian Pulisic (signed in January, so able to join the squad), Ross Barkley and, when they are fit, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, parhaps the emerging talents of Mason Mount.

But he still has find a way of filling the goal-scoring void as well.

That puts pressure on Tammy Abraham, the player the board want to deliver, and Olivier Giroud. Unless Michy Batshuayi can make a return from the Chelsea wilderness.

As for United, there is puzzlement, disbelief, concern and anger from the fans.

Mainly targeted at Ed Woodward, sure. But some pointing in the direction of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as well.

Old Trafford supporters were delighted by the acquisitions of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. They do not care what the prices were.

But after a summer dominated by two players who wanted to leave United, enthusiasm does seem in short supply.

For now, at least for a few weeks, Paul Pogba remains at United. But many will wonder if the Frenchman is there is body but not in spirit.

If that is the case, it will only end in tears. Remember, Jose Mourinho believes Pogba’s attitude was the biggest problem in his United dressing room last season.

And while plenty of supporters are able to process the departure of Romelu Lukaku (money DOES matter to fans when it’s coming in!) to Inter, some are asking where the goals will come from.

Marcus Rashford’s best campaign to date, last term, saw him bag 13 goals.

Last season was also the worst of Lukaku’s career in England. He scored 15.

Anthony Martial has been at United for four seasons. His total for the club is 48 goals, only six more than Lukaku managed in half the time.

Solskjaer needs his faith in Daniel James and Mason Greenwood to be realised, and swiftly.

He needs Martial and Rashford to have the best seasons of their careers. He needs Alexis Sanchez to rediscover his mojo, Juan Mata to prove age is just a number. And Pogba to want to play.

Many will suggest that is the equivalent of drawing a royal flush when the deck is stacked against him.

Emery, by contrast, knows that is the defensive recruits can bolster his side’s solidity, they WILL score goals. Lots of them.

Maybe enough to even overhaul bitter foes and close neighbours Spurs.

After all, it was only that late season collapse which prevented “St Totteringham’s Day” being celebrated in May.

Unai Emery has given Arsenal fans something to be excited about this season
Getty – Contributor


For some Gooners, getting above Tottenham is all that matters.

Not Emery or the money men, who know that missing out on Champions League football now costs around £50m per season.

There is growing expectation at The Emirates that the door is now open. It is down to Emery and his men to walk through it.

Frank Lampard enters the season having only managed to make one signing this summer
AP:Associated Press
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally secured the record breaking £85m transfer for defender Harry Maguire
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