As the season draws ever-closer, we here at the Center Circle are going to start looking at what each of the top teams in the EPL are looking at this season. Arsenal will be hoping that this season will be the end of their trophy drought that they have suffered through since 2004. The closer we come to the EPL season, the more frustrated the Arsenal faithful become with Wenger and the lack of activity that their club have spent in the transfer market.
Despite nearly everyone that watched Arsenal last season (fans included) moaned about their need for better defensive pieces and a new keeper, they had one of the best defensive records in the EPL. Because of that, Wenger has not brought in any defensive additions and it seems unlikely that he will add any before the window closes. In fact, Arsenal have shipped out a few defenders on the transfer market instead of bringing new ones in. Although last years concerns were a bit unfounded from a statistical standpoint, it seems unlikely that Arsenal can be as defensively sound this season now that teams have a good scouting report on Mertesacker and co.
The Arsenal midfield will be an interesting mix of scoring talent and creative talent. If Wenger chooses to put anyone besides Wilshere out on the pitch when the English midfielder is healthy, then we might should fire Wenger on principle. Mikel Arteta will also be hoping to extend his top-level career for another few seasons with this campaign probably determining where he spends the rest of his career. Although I have never felt that Ramsey was Arsenal level talent, their depth will probably demand that he spends a fair amount of time on the pitch. For 13/14, the midfield is really full of players hoping to extend their career with the Gunners or eventually end up getting transferred out of London.
Arsenal’s attacking force had the third best scoring record in the Premiership last season and they will hope to continue being impressive in the attacking third this season. Podolski, Giroud, and Walcott will be hoping to constantly impress so that they have receive constant selection from Wenger. Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping to make himself a regular in the starting 11 and become the next great English winger. There is the possibility of them adding Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, but I will not be adding his input until he makes the transfer official.
Wenger is going to be on the outs if he is unable to bring success to Arsenal this season. Another fourth place finish will be unacceptable for the Frenchman and the Arsenal faithful are growing increasingly restless with the water-bottle kicking manager. He will also come under increased scrutiny if the supposed $140 million that had had available for this transfer window remains largely unspent. For Arsene, only narrowly missing out on a major trophy will be good enough for him to retain his job…sadly, I do not think the Gunners can pull that off without some serious talent influx late in the transfer window.
Predicted best case scenario: Arsenal are able to convince Liverpool to sell Luis Suarez and they ride a late season push to third place. Wenger still loses his job and the summer of 2014 sees Arsenal go crazy buying players and a new coach. They win a trophy within three seasons after Wenger is fired.
Predicted worst case scenario: Arsenal completely whiff on the Suarez transfer and finish the season battling for fifth. However, the late season battle proves too much for the Gunners as they slump to a horrible 6th place finish, falling behind rivals Tottenham and Suarez’s current club, Liverpool.