Ex-Blackburn Rovers striker and BBC Sport pundit Chris Sutton has given his verdict on how he thinks Arsenal’s season will pan out.
Chris Sutton isn’t convinced that Arsenal have what it takes to surpass Manchester City in the Premier League title race this season.
Speaking to BBC Sport, the former Chelsea and Celtic forward said, “I’m not reading much into the Community Shield, which sparked Arsenal’s wild celebrations – I got a lot of abuse on Twitter for asking if they had won the World Cup. I have them down to finish second but I’m not as convinced by them as some people are. They fell away badly at the end of last season and they still don’t have enough quality to topple City.”
Arsenal showed that they could go toe-to-toe with Manchester City on Sunday, when they beat Pep Guardiola’s side on penalties to win the Community Shield at Wembley. However, few would suggest that that match was representative of either side at their best, or fittest.
Mikel Arteta’s side enjoyed the victory, though, and may feel that a psychological hurdle was overcome, having only previously beaten Manchester City once in their last nine attempts.
Arteta has also invested heavily this summer to bridge the gap on the reigning Premier League champions. The likes of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber certainly add the extra depth and quality that was missing as the Gunners’ title tilt faltered towards the end of last season.
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A huge challenge ahead for Arsenal
No one doubts that Manchester City will be a major force once again this time around. Guardiola is relentless in his pursuit of success, but it remains to be seen how his team will cope without the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez to call upon.
Spirits are high at the Emirates Stadium, and Arteta will be confident that Arsenal can compete until the bitter end this time around. The Spanish coach and his players will be determined to prove Sutton’s pessimistic prediction wrong.
However, they will need to hit the ground running, and the new arrivals must bed into Arteta’s system quickly if they are to stand any chance of going one better than last season and achieving their ultimate aim.