Team Profile: Arsenal
Sky Sports predicted finish:4th
Next five fixtures:
14th Jul vs Indonesia All Stars (a)
17th Jul vs Vietnam (a)
22nd Jul vs Nagoya Grampus Eight (a)
26th Jul vs Urawa Red Diamonds (a)
03rd Aug vs Napoli (h)
The future of captain Robin van Persie has dominated the headlines but a line is finally to be drawn under the matter with Manchester United on the cusp of securing his services. Another season free from silverware appeared to be too much for the striker, with Old Trafford his next port of call in the pursuit of titles. Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla have been brought in but will need to make an immediate impact in attack given Van Persie's departure.
Arsene Wenger will not deviate from his chosen path regardless of which players he has at his disposal when the transfer window closes. The Frenchman has seen star men depart in the past - such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri - but his on-field philosophy and acceptance of the financial approach adopted by the Gunners remains unchanged. The fluid passing style will remain, but the sniping from critics unhappy over a lack of trophies despite a decade of consistency at the highest level will only be silenced by tangible success.
Key Ins and Outs
- Lukas Podolski - £10.9m
- Olivier Giroud - £12m
- Santi Cazorla - £16m
- Manuel Almunia - free
- Carlos Vela - undisc
- Denilson - loan
After missing all of last season through injury, the talented young midfielder needs to demonstrate he has lost none of the drive and ability which catapulted him to prominence, with October the latest date for his possible return.
The Spain international has made an instant impact on the Premier League and looks to be an outstanding signing by Wenger. Always keen to get on the ball, he will be the focal point for the Gunners' attacking threat.
The most consistent of Arsenal's central defensive options, the Belgium international provides an assured presence at the heart of the backline with his reading of the game, well-timed tackles and aerial prowess.
Last Match vs Newcastle
Sunday 19th May 2013
Strengths & weaknesses
The attractive, attacking style which Arsenal have become famed for under Wenger will once again be in evidence. Opposition defences will have to be on their guard throughout or risk being cut open by the swift passing from the Emirates outfit. The one criticism regularly levelled at the Gunners is that they can often over-elaborate at the crucial moment, while the early absence of Bacary Sagna through injury could leave them vulnerable at right-back.
Wenger has made some very shrewd early additions to his attacking options by bringing in three established internationals, but the thorny issue of Van Persie will continue to be the subject of much debate, even after the season has started. The Gunners boss has a good number of centre-backs at his disposal, but question marks remain over Per Mertesacker and more cover for Sagna could be wise.
What they say
Arsene Wenger - "If you look at debt in football across Europe at the moment it is quite massive and we have to be responsible. We have to be ambitious but also make sure we are not getting in trouble financially."
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - "Podolski is a massive name. He's got 100 caps for Germany which is a massive achievement in itself. Giroud is a very good striker as well. He scores goals and brings quality to the side and that's what we need."
- Theo Walcott - @theo_official14
- Emmanuel Frimpong - @Frimpong26AFC
- Robin van Persie - @Persie_Official
- Bacary Sagna - @Sagnaofficial
- Mikel Arteta - @MikelArteta8
May 23rd, 2013 9:47am
Goals! - Champions League Special
We look back at the best goals from this season's Champions...
Facts and figures
92Arsenal played the highest percentage of short passes in 2011/12, with 92 per cent
45Lukas Podolski scored 45% and assisted 18% of Cologne's goals in the Bundesliga last term
25Arsenal made 25 last man tackles last season, Tottenham had second highest total at 13
24Arsene Wenger's side earned more points from losing positions than any other side last season
5The Gunners conceded five own goals in 2011/12, the most by any PL team last season
I fear for Arsenal. You can't keep losing your best players every year. I love watching them play and Arsene Wenger has done an incredible job, but I think he's got too much on his plate. The pressure is on them and I feel they might not finish in a Champions League place. Robin van Persie pretty much single-handedly got them into third last year and I wonder where the goals will come from without him.