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English Premier Opening Preview: Who Will Prevail?

Arsenal scraped through to the third Champions League qualifying place by the skin of their teeth on the last day last season, a massive 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs – a gap too much for a club of Arsenal’s stature. It’s not going to be any easier this term but Arsenal seem to be better prepared this time around having done their transfer dealings quickly before the start of the Premier League season. But of course, Arsenal’s summer would be incomplete without one of their top players seeking to leave and the Robin van Persie transfer saga has overshadowed what has been a very good transfer window so far for the Gunners.

Robin van Persie has only a year left on his contract and his refusal to extend it means Arsenal would most probably cash in on their captain if the club’s valuation is met. With the acquisitions of Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski, Arsene Wenger seems to have a contingency plan in place should the Dutch finally leave.

Arsenal look stronger this term than the last one taking into account the quality of their signings. Santi Carzola for me was the best player in La Liga outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Lukas Podolski is a German international with over a 100 caps and at just 27 years, he can only do better while Oliver Giroud scored 21 goals as Montpellier pipped big-spending Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title last season. These players will improve the Arsenal squad no doubt and if the Gunners can keep their captain, they will be set to finally end their trophy drought. With a fit Robin van Persie in the squad, I can say Arsenal might win the Premier League title but without him, they will probably make do with either of the domestic cup competitions.

In defence, the promotion of Steve Bould to the position of assistant manager could prove to be one important and inspired move. The Arsenal Legend should help plug the holes in an Arsenal defence that let in 49 goals last season. The full-back positions that proved problematic in the last term haven’t been really addressed. Bacary Sgana is expected to miss the start of the season while Kieran Gibbs’ injury record isn’t exactly what a title-chasing side needs. It’s not doom and gloom though as Andre Santos and Carl Jenkison are available to fill in from time-to-time. The Arsenal defence for me is all right, at least until injuries start creeping in. With Steve Bould around, let’s see the improvement, if any, that will materialize.

What do you think?

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