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Arsenal FC Club Guide

So, you think that you can do better than Mikel Arteta? Of course you think that, and you are probably right as well. To help you achieve something other than mid-table mediocrity, here’s the Arsenal FC club guide for FM21!

Club history

Arsenal FC were founded in 1886 as Dial Square, moving to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury in 1913.

The club has won 13 league titles, 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields and one European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Arsenal FC overview

Their most recent period of success came under legendary manager Arsene Wenger, who took over as manager in 1996 after George Graham. During his 20 years at the helm the club won the Premier League 3 times, including an undefeated season!

However, the latter years of the Wenger reign and the years following has been trophyless and filled with frustration.

What about now?

This is where you, the new manager, come into the picture. You have just been appointed manager. The fans have high hopes that you will be the “New Arsene Wenger”. As you sit down for your first meeting with the board you are introduced to the Club Vision.

Winning isn’t the only thing that matters. It doesn’t even appear to be a top priority. If you become the manager of Arsenal you are expected to do two things: Play entertaining and attacking football. And develop young players.

You need to do well in Europe straight away, but you’re not expected to challenge for the Premier League title until your third year. This goes hand in hand with the expectation of you signing and developing youngster. In 2022/23 they should hopefully have developed enough to help you on the pitch!

Arsenal Club Guide: Facilities

To aid you, Arsenal provide great facilities, both for the first team players and the Academy. Superb training facilities and excellent youth facilities is among the top ones in English football. Excellent Youth Recruitment ensures that the very best boys will be arriving at the club on intake day, but a an Academy Coaching of only good leaves a bit of room for improvement. But what does the actual team look like?

Arsenal Club Guide: Best XI

The best XI looks a bit lopsided. There’s quality in certain positions, at least going forward, but the feeling is that there’s room for real improvement in some positions, especially at the back.

Arsenal Club Guide: Squad

If we look at the squad overview this notion grows stronger. Going forward this looks like an interesting squad. At the back, not so much. Most of the defensive players are either lacking in quality or old. Some are even both!

Key players

I will focus on three players that are important enough to be classified as key players in my book.

Alexandre Lacazette

A real attacking threat with his acceleration and pace. He can play both as a striker and out on the wing.

Thomas Partey

The new signing Thomas Partey brings stability to the midfield. He is a true box to box midfielder with great work rate and teamwork. He’s not awful with the ball at his feet either!

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabonese international is most likely passing his prime soon at age 31 but he will accompany Lacazette as a real threat at least for another year or two!

Ok, so that’s all in offensive positions. Three key players and another couple of good players behind them. But. Both the defensive line and the keepers could use strengthening, while the squad has plenty of quality going forward. This is where the depth chart comes in handy, let’s use it to find out how it actually looks.

Arsenal FC Club Guide: Squad Depth

This screen might seem a bit cluttered and tough to navigate, but it is very helpful if you know what to look for. Here they basically list the positional depth for every single position, which is the reason it feels cluttered. Your job is to ignore the positions that you don’t intend to use and instead focus on the ones that are important to your tactic. Generally the defense looks weak. No great central defenders or keepers. The feeling from seeing the best XI and squad view still stands. The defense needs improving.


Let’s take a quick glance at the financial side of things at the “biggest team in the world” as the board so delicately put it.

There is no shortage of cash at this club, even though they don’t have one of the biggest treasure chests in English football. With over £130M in the bank you could label the financial situation as secure to say the least.

So, what sort of elbow-room do you have to improve the squad to challenge top duo Man City and Liverpool?


Ok. This is a completely different situation. To make the game more realistic in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, this version of the game leaves a lot less wiggle room to sign players. A lot less. £4.5M won’t get you anywhere. You need to sell in order to get enough money to strengthen the squad!

Before we delve into the transfer market though, let’s see if we can use the academy to find a few more or less hidden gems.

Arsenal FC Club Guide: Youth Squad

This is an overview of the players aged 21 or younger. My first impression is that it’s actually better than I thought. With four 5 star potential players the future is looking fairly bright! The problem is the same as with the senior squad though. Most of the quality is in the attacking players, with central defender William Saliba being the exception. So, what do the best young players look like?

Biggest talents

With Guendouzi away on loan, let’s look at the remaining three 5 star potential players.

Gabriel Martinelli

The young Brazilian could be the perfect player to take over once Aubameyang gets too old. Quick and with nice movement off the ball!

Bukayo Saka

Another pacey attacker, have we heard that before!? Saka will most likely add to Arsenal’s attacking strength in a year or two, but is there a thing as too many attackers?

Emile Smith Rowe

Yet ANOTHER attacking player! There must be something in the water around London.

All in all this is a fairly good squad, even though it’s lacking both quality and depth at the back. An esteemed youth academy filled with attacking talents behind the first team. No real money at your disposal makes things a bit tricky. In order to strengthen the defence the best idea is probably to offload one of your attackers to free up a bit of money.

Recommended signing

Every good rebuild starts from the back, right!? Right! And at the very back we have the goalkeeper. Bernd Leno isn’t a bad goalkeeper and this might not be the obvious position to replace, but I went in this direction anyway.

André Onana feels like a great option. Young and very good, but still with a bit of development left in him! How good is he though? Is he really better than Leno? Is it worth spending money on him?

By comparing the two it quickly becomes obvious that Onana is a real step up in quality compared to Leno. This might be a strategically wise move then! Not only would you get a better goalkeeping bringing stability to the back. You’d also have a solid 1st choice option for many years to come! Now all that remains is the small issue of whether he wants to come or not. Let’s ask his agent!

His agent says YES! Brilliant! Let’s start building a new team with Onana at the back! Now all that remains is to find £40 to £60 million. Maybe you can get rid of Leno and an attacker to get the money!?

Arsenal FC Club Guide: Final verdict

An Arsenal FC save has all the ingredients of a true “Sleeping giant” save:

  • A history full of silverware
  • A frustrating dry spell in the last few years
  • Good conditions for a turn-around
    • Finances in balance
    • Good facilities
    • At least a couple of decent young talents and an excellent Academy

Considering Arsenal’s league finishes in the last couple of years the board expectations seem reasonable. You get a few years to rebuild before you are required to challenge for silverware, which will hopefully give you enough time to turn your prime talents into world class players. Otherwise you may face the same destiny as Mikel Arteta…


Follow me @MikaelinhoFM for more FM21 content or find us on Twitter @DictateTheGame for more Football Manager news and musings.

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Written by mikaelinhofm

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