Premier League Preview Number 4: Arsenal

14 August 2009


Biggest Ins: Thomas Vermaelen has been the only signing for Arsenal this summer. He should nicely fit the role Kolo Toure had before departing for Manchester City.

Biggest Outs: Obviously the two biggest losses are those to Manchester City in Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure. Toure started the most games at center back last season while Adebayor, pouting or not, was still a major scoring threat. Toure has been replaced; Adebayor however has not.

Easiest Month: March. After hosting Burnley, Arsenal travel to Hull City. West Ham United visits the Emirates before Arsenal end the month at Birmingham City. This should be a ten to twelve point month. I expect a clean sweep.

Toughest Month: February. The month starts with a trip to Stamford Bridge before Arsenal host Liverpool. The month ends with Sunderland and a trip to Stoke City, where Arsenal lost 2-1 last season. I expect this to be a three to five point month.

Five Questions About Arsenal This Season
1) Will Arsene Wenger bring anyone else in before the August transfer window closes? Wenger keeps saying he is happy with what he has, and I can’t fault him for that. However, I am surprised that he isn’t thinking of at least one more signing before the summer is out.
2) Could this be the season Carlos Vela breaks out at Arsenal? This summer, Vela has shined for the Mexican national team. With Adebayor leaving, he could possibly be in the mix to start up front. If not, I expect to see him in some sort of super sub role.
3) Can Walcott secure the right midfield role on an every game basis? Last season he played fifteen games on the right, the most for anyone at the position. If Walcott can settle in for 25-30 games, it should set Arsenal’s midfield in stone.
4) Can Almunia or Fabianski keep goals out of the net? I know that sounds like a stupid question, but of the top four teams, they allowed thirty-seven. The only teams outside the top four to allow less were Everton (they allowed thirty-seven as well) and Fulham (who only allowed 34). Almunia and Fabianski seemed to, at the most unwanted times, leak goals that should have been saved.
5) Can Arsenal win more way from home? Last season they had seven draws away from the Emirates. If they can turn a few more of those into wins, they might have a chance to keep up with the title race.

My Ultimate Reality: I expect to be slated for picking Arsenal fourth, but I honestly feel of the ‘top four’ they are the most likely to slip out. They have a tricky Champions League qualifier against Celtic (I do expect them to get through…but it won’t be easy) and if they are not in a good position coming out of that, I could see one or two more sold. I think Wenger is starting to wear down in the Premier League, something that not winning the title will eventually do. With two good teams pushing them all season, I expect them to stay in fourth if only because Wenger has proven he knows how to stay inside the top four.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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