Since the season of the Invincibles in 2004, Arsenal have been always the bridesmaid and never the bride. In an unpredictable season, Arsenal finished second last season after many, many years of scraping into the top 4 by the skin of their teeth. The fact of the matter is that if Arsenal had a top striker last season, they would have pipped Leicester to the league title. While a striker should be the top of Arsene Wenger’s shopping list to improve their Premier League odds, here is how the rest of his squad measures up.
Experienced first choice Petr Čech is a safe pair of hands, and bar any injury, should be available to play every minute of the league campaign. The former Chelsea no.1 won four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups, three Community Shields (one with Arsenal), one Champions League and one Europa League, is the most decorated goalkeeper in the League and heavily reliable as a result.
Backup goalkeepers Wojciech Szczęsny has gone out on loan and David Ospina is only likely to be used in domestic cup matches, however if Čech should get injured, there may be concerns about the ability of Ospina to fill in for him.
This is where Arsenal have looked particularly weak in the start of the season. The challenge for Wenger has been to find a partner for first choice Laurent Koscielny, who was rested on the opening day. 21 year old Calum Chambers partnered new signing Rob Holding (20) in the opening fixture and were easily found out as young rookies. There have been rumours of centre-back targets including former Manchester United player Johnny Evans. If Arsenal have any serious ambitions of winning the league this year they need to invest in a strong centre back to partner Koscielny and protect Petr Čech. Shkodran Mustafi could well be the answer now that he has passed his medical and the deal is official.
Without question, the strongest part of Arsenals squad. Nobody assisted more than Mesut Özil last season, if he can repeat that again this year they’ll be on the way to promising things. They will rely heavily on Alexis Sánchez and Aaron Ramsey, although there are always concerns about the fitness and ability of Jack Wilshere. Old guard Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomáš Rosický have been cleared out to make room for key signing in the summer was Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach who needs to live up to his £30million price tag, and quickly.
They key problem area for the Gunners over the past few seasons and they have been without a regular goal threat since the sale of Robin van Persie in summer 2012. Olivier Giroud has been Arsenal’s first choice since the 2012-13 season, although there is no doubt over his finishing, his highest leagues goals is 16, which simply isn’t consistent enough. Arsenal fans may well feel they’ve signed a crocked player in Danny Welbeck, formerly of Manchester United, who has spent most of his Arsenal career injured and only contributed 8 league goals in two seasons. Wenger will be hoping that Lucas Perez adjusts to like in the Premier League quickly. Perez and Mustafi have taken Wenger’s total spending this window to £100 million, more than Arsenal have spent in many years.