Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will know his side have some way to go to be able to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea for the Premier League title.
With suggestions of first-team players moving on to pastures new at the end of the current campaign, a reshuffle of the squad and some fresh faces could be exactly what the north London outfit need as they look to narrow the gap.
Goodison Park Defeat Exposes Shortcomings
A 2-1 defeat at the hands of a struggling Everton side in early December highlighted the issues Arteta is having to deal with at Arsenal. The Gunners, who are currently priced at 6/5 in the English Premier League odds to beat West Ham in mid-December, failed to overcome an Everton side that were on an eight-game winless run before Artetaâ€™s side arrived on Merseyside. EPL tips will have to fathom which Arsenal side will show up week in week out, as the Gunners have proved at times this season they are capable of winning runs.
Arsenal went on a ten-gameÂ unbeaten run over September and October, which led many to believe the Gunners were starting to move in the right direction. However, any notion that the club were closing the gap on the front three was dismissed when that unbeaten run was brought to a shuddering halt with a 4-0 hammering at Liverpool in November. Defeats to Manchester United and then Everton soon followed to leave the Gunners in seventh place and a position that could sum up where this side are at the moment.
Reshuffle on the Horizon
With some players approaching the end of their contracts and others apparentlyÂ eager to move on, it could well be a new-look Arsenal that takes the field for their season opener next term. It certainly looks like there will be new faces in attack, with Alexandre Lacazette being tipped to leave on a free in the summer. Meanwhile, there is more speculation regarding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyangâ€™s long-term future in north London, along with forwarding Nicolas PÃ©pÃ©. At one stage it would have been deemed unthinkable that these players could be moved on, but with the inconsistencies Arsenal have shown at times this season, there might well be departures.
Arsenal are believed to be looking at options in the January transfer window to strengthen their attack, while there will no doubt be plans in place for summer targets. Securing a return to European football will be one of the main objectives for Arteta this season. Being able to offer European action is a massive lure to prospective targets and another campaign without matches in the Europa League or Champions League would be a big setback.
It seems changes need to be made at the Emirates if the Gunners are to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. While the changes might feel jarring over the summer, it could be just what this team needs to help them get back to the top of the English game.