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Twitter @DrewMFarmer

The English Premier League season kicks off on August 13th, and Arsenal will have the unenviable task of hosting rivals Liverpool on opening day. Despite the tough test that awaits them to start the season, and the trip to Leicester City the following matchday, supporters should feel optimistic about the season. The Gunners finished second a season ago, 10 points behind champions Leicester, and with a few tweaks this season already completed, should push for the Premier League title once more.

Arsenal is currently third favourite to lift the title, and come in at 15/4, according to NetBet; where you can use this NetBet promo code for 2016.

Now, Arsenal Vision looks at 5 reasons Arsenal can win the English Premier League in 2016-17.

5. Granit Xhaka

Arsenal, on paper at least, has one of the best midfields in the English Premier League. It is arguably the best assortment of midfielders in the English top-flight. Granit Xhaka’s addition was a brilliant piece of early business by Arsene Wenger, as the Gunners’ £30 million signing is well worth the cash.

Xhaka had a solid Euro 2016 tournament, and surely impressed Gunners’ fans with his performances. During Switzerland’s four matches at the competition, Xhaka averaged 2.5 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match. That was just a teaser for what he can do in Arsenal’s midfield, where he will control the game for the team this season. If Xhaka can improve his disciplinary record, he will be the complete midfield general for Arsenal for years to come.

4. More recruits on the way

Arsene Wenger has been a stubborn manager over the years. Despite having money in the coffers, Wenger has shied away from throwing around cash like the Manchester clubs or cross-town rivals Chelsea.

Could the summer of 2016 be different? Wenger has already spent £30m on Granit Xhaka, and rumours persist he is still hunting for top-quality players. Neven Subotic and Ricardo Rodriguez are both being heavily linked to the Emirates. Last season’s 21 goal Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette could join them as well. All three would massively improve the Gunners. Although questions could be asked about Subotic’s decline in play, Rodriguez and Lacazette would be outstanding signings.

3. Olivier Giroud will get double digits in goals

Olivier Giroud is a top five striker in the English Premier League. Last season the Frenchman scored 16 of Arsenal’s 62 goals. He added a further six assists. He has scored in double digits every season since arriving from France’s Montpellier, and there is no reason he shouldn’t do the same again in 2016-17.

Giroud is having an excellent Euro 2016 campaign with France, and once he returns to the Arsenal fold, should be able to carry over the form that has seen him score three times at the Euro competition this summer. With Xhaka in the centre of the park and Arsenal’s creative attackers still in tow, Giroud should once again lead the side to the top of the league.

2. Petr Cech has a year under his belt

Petr Cech’s Arsenal career got off to a nightmare start last season with a mistake in the Gunners’ season opener against West Ham that cost them dearly. The Czech has now had a season to come to terms with being a member of the side.

This season Cech will have no excuses in goal for Arsenal. He shouldn’t need any this term either. Last season, Cech finished fourth in the English Premier League with 101 saves and posted 16 clean sheets, the most of any goalkeeper in the league. With Xhaka’s arrival and possible defensive re-enforcements, expect even better numbers this term as Cech keeps Arsenal near the top of the league.

  1. No stars have left

There was a time when Arsenal continually lost players to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Barcelona. This season, however, it looks likely that the Gunners will keep all the important pieces the club has assembled in recent years.

Last term’s assists leader Mesut Ozil (19) will be back as the creative spark for Giroud. Santi Cazorla is healthy after missing much of last season with a knee injury. His return will add more depth to the team’s talented midfield. Jack Wilshere, who played a minor role in England’s Euro 2016 campaign, should be fit as well.

With so many midfield options, the Gunners should be just as difficult as ever to defeat. With big names arriving – possibly – and the club’s stars staying, Arsenal should contend for an English Premier League title in 2016-17.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @DrewMFarmer. Check out his latest book, Soccer Travels, in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com.

 

Another season has passed by without Arsenal getting any nearer to a Premier League title that continues to desert them. It is amazing to think that the last time we lifted the trophy aloft as the best team in England was all the way back in 2004 when the “Invincibles” provided us with magical football that we would give anything to see a repeat of. You cannot help but take your hat off to Leicester’s remarkable rise from narrowly avoiding relegation to becoming Premier League champions in the space of just one year, but I felt it was a wonderful opportunity that went begging for Arsenal. It may be the only season in which all of the big guns struggled to impose themselves, and although finishing runners-up may represent an element of progress, it would, in all honestly, mask over what was a rather indifferent campaign; we only came second because Tottenham imploded to wild amusement across our fans, and I believe we dropped points in too many games where Arsenal were expected to produce the goods, yet failed to deliver. Coral may believe we are amongst the strong favourites to compete for the Holy Grail next season and wrestle it from Leicester’s grasps, but it may require numerous changes before I start to believe it will not be unlucky 13 for the Gunners.

It feels like Groundhog Day saying this, but it could be a crucial summer for Arsenal if Arsene Wenger finally opens his eyes and mind to what many fans and pundits can see in front of them. Inconsistency and dropping points might naturally occur from time to time, but the only person that can take responsibility for the lack of strength in depth that always bites us in the backside once injuries and suspensions kick in is the manager. We always pay the ultimate price for not having adequate back-up in numerous areas, and given that it is inevitable that players will endure a dip in form at some point, it serves as a dummy whammy when Arsenal have no-one to step in and produce the goods. Bringing in Granit Xhaka for a deal which could rise to £30 million from Borussia Monchengladbach should represent the start of many new faces arriving in North London, but Wenger’s recent comments that he wants balance with two or three more arrivals has instantly put a dampener on any spending spree that I, or anyone else, was hoping for.

Any suggestion that Wenger would be forced out the door after falling short in the league once again has been almost forgot about, and while I feel that is probably the best decision in the short term, he will have to make changes this summer. This is even more prevalent now managers are grabbing more headlines than players this summer, with Coral installing the two Manchester clubs as favourites to win the league following the arrival of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho at City and United respectively. It is perhaps another reason why I believe Arsenal may rue not seizing the opportunity when the door was left wide open for them to take full advantage, and with Antonio Conte also arriving in the Premier League at Chelsea, we have to get it spot on next season.

 

Leicester ultimately won the league with one tactic that proved incredibly effective from start to finish, but Arsenal need other ideas to compliment plan A; being one of the most eye-catching teams in England is all well and good, but it becomes frustrating to watch when we continue to try passing our way through teams when it is clearly not working. I have no doubt that we have the players to make plan A work, particularly if Jack Wilshere gets himself back to full fitness and stays away from the treatment table, although we need to see more from Alexis Sanchez who never really imposed himself last season. Wenger will surely have to dip into the transfer market again if Arsenal are to assert themselves in the Premier League, particularly in midfield since Tomas Rosicky, Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta have been allowed to leave. A proven goal-scorer upfront would certainly not go amiss, while another centre-back or right-back would ensure we have a team capable of competing. Sourcing players that would slot straight into our team and fit the style of play can only make us stronger, and with many of our title rivals likely to strengthen their ranks even further, I would happily welcome a marquee signing or two to raise my hopes that Arsenal can end 13 long years without a league title.

Arsene Wenger splashed the cash this summer on 23 year old Granit Xhaka, the fee is reportedly over £30m which is a vast amount for a deep lying midfielder, especially given the fact that Arsene Wenger is the one spending the cash. You can't imagine that Arsene Wenger is the type of guy to be spending all his spare cash on online casinos now can you?

Clearly last season there was an issue in that position when the North London side lost the talented Santi Cazorla and it was soon made clear that his compatriot Mikel Arteta was not able to contribute due to injury.

Arsenal fans had been worrying about the consequences of an injury to Francis Coquelin but little did they know that it would be an injury to the man next to him that would cause the most damage.

Partnerships between Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey did not work and even when Francis Coquelin returned he could not forge a successful combination with Aaron Ramsey in the middle of the pitch as neither are players who can begin attacks and find passes in between the lines.

It was only when new mid season signing Mohammed Elneny arrived that our form picked up and it is no coincidence that the Egyptian midfield shares some of the qualities that was previously provided by both Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla.

Arsene Wenger tried playing Elneny as the deepest midfielder a few times towards the end of the season but said a number of times that he saw the hard working former Basel player as more of a box to box player rather than the classical defensive midfielder.

So with Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky departing on top of the obvious midfield issues last season, Arsene Wenger invested heavily in a player who can start attacks yet provide the defensive stability that the defenders behind him will need.

It will be interesting to see who Arsene selects as Xhaka's first choice partner. There are a number of options available to the manager. Aaron Ramsey who has been one of the standout players in a central midfield position during the European Championships for Wales. He has made it clear that the central midfield position is where he sees his future, perhaps the deployment of a natural deep midfielder will allow the Welshman to flourish.

Santi Cazorla is one of Arsenal's best players, the two footed Spaniard provides the team with exceptional technical qualities and as explained above, his absence was a big reason why Arsenal did not compete for the league title last season but given his age and new boy Xhaka providing some of what Santi gave the team I wonder if our little Spanish magician will no longer be first choice.

Jack Wilshere has always been one of Arsene's favourites, injuries have consistently robbed the dribbling Englishman of minutes on the pitch but if he can stay fit, I wonder if Xhaka can turn into just the player Wilshere needs to finally fulfil his potential.

I expect those three players to be top of the list but new boy Mohammed Elneny has impressed since joining the club, his distribution and running power gives Arsene some great options in certain games, especially away from home where we may have less of the ball or against more difficult opponents.

Francis Coquelin is probably the player most in danger of losing game time as he has been directly replaced by Granit Xhaka. The Frenchman's stock has fallen since his rise into the first team. Perhaps he could forge one hell of a tough partnership alongside the new boy in the difficult clashes in the Premier League and Champions League but I'm not sure Arsene will opt for that given our other midfield options.

It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

 

Ten players from the Arsenal squad started the Euros 2016 tournament this summer, and some of the squad’s more experienced players have had a huge impact on the Euros and how their country has performed. From Petr Cech in goal, to Mesut Ozil, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey orchestrating the midfield, the creative, quality players have performed to the best of their abilities throughout the tournament so far.

Although not all ten players are still in the Euros, as the Czech Republic came bottom of their group, they still had a major impact throughout the games they played. If you’re feeling lucky and you think you can guess what the scores of the up and coming tournament games are going to be, then visit the score predictor from Ladbrokes’. We’ve put together a list on how Arsenal’s more experienced players are having an impact on the Euros this summer.

Mesut Ozil

Ozil is one of the most experienced players in the German squad, having 19 goals in 72 caps,m and has been a regular player for the World Championships for a number of years now. He is a regular player in the 4-2-3-1 German formation, and is more often than not the creative playmaker in the team offering a huge number of assists and goals to his name. He was named man of the match after his impeccable game against Northern Ireland and his fine form throughout the tournament so far has proven vital to the German side getting through to the quarter-finals.

Petr Cech

Although the Czech Republic finished bottom of their group after a 2-0 defeat to Turkey, Cech made a huge impact with his impressive shot stopping ability throughout the squad’s games at the group stages. Cech is a legend for his country and he is the most capped player in Cech history having won the Czech Republic Player of the Year award eight times. Although the squad didn’t make it through to the quarter finals, there is no doubt how much of an important player Cech was when it came to having an impact on the Euros.

Tomas Rosicky

Another Czech Republic player that made a huge difference when it came to his country’s midfield. The creative maestro was always going to be an influential player and despite being the country’s oldest player through the tournament, there was no denying how influential he was in mid-field. Although he is set to depart from Arsenal, he will be remembered throughout the club’s history.

Aaron Ramsey

Although only aged 25, Ramsey provides Wales with a lot of big game experience that the team will need as they enter their first major tournament in 58 years. Although he hasn’t had the best season being hampered by injuries and criticised when he has played, there is no denying how vital Ramsey is for the Wales teams’ resurgence. Ultimately he is the perfect type of central attacking midfielder needed to create goals for the team and inject energy alongside Joe Allen and Gareth Bale.

With the fantastic signing of Granit Xhaka we take a look at what a successful summer for Arsenal would look like in the transfer market. Romours are flying round but who are the players capable of improving the team and who is all just hot air from the papers. Will any of the players make it on to the top 5 Arsenal Premier league signings? Read them here! (via @5besttransfers).

3 Potential Arsenal summer signings

Mario Gotze - Personally I'm not buying two things - 1, Gotze wants to stay at Bayern where he's hardly getting a game and 2, that he'd go to Liverpool just to play under Klopp again. I have to remind myself that Gotze is still just 24 (as of 3rd of June) and he still has lots of years left at the top level.

Gotze is the kind of player that would fit perfectly at Arsenal with his fluid style of play. It maybe as an a attacking midfielder rather than as a "false 9" like he plays for Germany currently but he's of the mould of player Arsene Wenger likes.

Gonzalo Higuain - Okay so I could be dreaming here but if we're talking a successful summer at Arsenal a big name striker has to be signed. Its looking increasingly likely that Jamie Vardy will opt to stay at champions Leicester so a top quality striker is still needed (as the main man with Giroud as a back up). Higuain will not come cheap though and at 28 is a little older than you'd like for a big money signing with no Premier League experience but I think he's worth the risk. He's scored goals everywhere he's been and I could see him being a bit hit in the current Arsenal team.

N'Golo Kante - It's well known that Kante has a £20 million buy out clause in his contract at Leicester and the more he plays at the Euros the better value thats looking. I can see a scramble for his signature once the tournament is over and he's the man to act as defensive enforcer for the gunners in my opinion.

Along with these signings I'd expect to see a centre back come in and maybe a left back as cover as well as a couple of youngsters joining the squad.

This summer, some of Arsenal's top players are spread out all across Europe, returning to their home nations to help them try to achieve glory in the 2016 UEFA European championships. Jack Wilshere joins the England side, while host nation France will be enjoying the talents of Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. Elsewhere, Petr Cech returns to the Czech Republic to guard their goalmouth, while Germany will be hoping that Mesut Ozil can take them all the way through to the cup. Gunners fans will also be keeping a close eye on Granit Xhaka as he plays for Switzerland, to get an indication of his form when the new signing comes on board with Arsenal next season.

Top scorers

Of course, Euro 2016 is about which teams do well, but there are also plenty of opportunities for individual players to shine. Many will be thinking about their own reputations as well as their nation's pride, and who can blame them? A good run at Euro 2016 will set the tone for how they're deployed when they return to their clubs, and the top players will also have their eye on the coveted Golden Boot award for the top goal scorer in the tournament. Last year, six players all scored three goals each and shared the title, though Fernando Torres was actually picked for the award. Will it go to an Arsenal player this time? Who knows, but here are some of the players to keep an eye on:

Ones to watch

Switzerland may not be expected to go all the way in the tournament, but Granit Xhaka should still get some chances to display the versatility and physical prowess that should hopefully make him a major asset to the Arsenal midfield next season. The jury's still out whether he'll get a place in the starting XI, and how he performs in Euro 2016 could well be the deciding factor.

Similarly, Jack Wilshere will be out to prove himself on the England team, after spending a long period on the bench for Arsenal due to a broken fibula. He was in some ways a surprising choice for the National side, but certainly proved himself in the qualifiers, as he was awarded man of the match in six of the seven games. Wilshere is obviously itching for action after his enforced lay-off and seems determined to make up for lost time in the tournament.

The big guns

Aaron Ramsey is unquestionably a major asset for the Welsh team. Alongside Gareth Bale, Ramsey is one of the main factors that may lift the plucky underdogs to punch above their weight in the championship. Conversely, Mesut Ozil is a star player on a heavyweight team. Barring any unexpected curveballs, he'll have many opportunities to show why he's regarded by many as Europe's greatest footballer, as Germany head inexorably towards the finals. The Arsenal player of the season stood out in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for Germany, and his breathtaking attacks and genius assists are the stuff of footballing legend.

Fast building up a legend of his own, is Olivier Giroud. The jolly Gallic giant has earned 50 caps for France, and scored 16 goals in the 2015-16 Season for Arsenal. The 888sport blog tips Giroud as an outside chance for this year's Golden Boot, and it's not hard to see why many might consider him a contender.

Not to be overlooked

Of the other Arsenal players in Euro 2016, Hector Bellerin should not be overlooked just because of his relative youth. As a right back, he's a fast and dextrous player in what has traditionally been a weak link in the Spanish formation. And although for obvious reasons he's not in the running for the Golden Boot, Petr Cech is resuming his role as the Czech Republic's vice-captain and remains a solid asset in goal.

It's always interesting to see how Arsenal players do when going into action for their national side in a tournament such as this. Subtle changes in their technique or approach can be endlessly debated, perhaps due to the demands of a different coach or just different cultural conditions. Arguably, European football requires a slightly different approach than the Premier League anyway, something the England team does not always seem to grasp. Differences aside though, the manner in which many of these players perform in the Euro tournament will certainly have a bearing on how they go into the 2016-17 season back home. And in the meantime, we hope to see some stunning displays of footballing versatility from the Arsenal boys, whatever country they're playing for.

Arsene Wenger's reluctance to spend big in transfer windows has been a long-standing criticism of the French manager over the last few seasons, perhaps even more so than Arsenal's lack of title success.

In some respects, when we look back at the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, this reputation is a little unjustified. But Arsenal fans, a section of whom have kept up an almost constant 'Wenger Out!' campaign, will point to their dealings in last summer's transfer market, when the solid but unspectacular signing of Peter Cech was their only senior capture.

So, as they prepare for a new Premier League campaign which comes hot on the heels of one of the most unpredictable seasons of all time, will Wenger roll the dice, or play it safe once again?

While Wenger might be a gambling man in his spare time - for all we know he could spend the evenings enjoying exciting platforms such as
Best Deal Casinos on his PC or tablet - he hasn't shown a propensity for it in his previous spending. Most of Arsenal's big money signings have been proven players rather than unknowns, have wowed us at one of the major tournaments (e.g. Sanchez and Andrei Arshavin), or showed their worth playing for one of Arsenal's rivals (e.g. Cech or William Gallas). That looks set to continue, should last season's Premier League hotshot Jamie Vardy decide to ditch the champions Leicester City for a striker's role at the Gunners.

If Wenger pulls this one off, it will be a huge coup, and surely a tonic for Arsenal fans still smarting from the departures of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United and Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. Vardy is 29, but shows all the signs of being in the prime of his career, and even a productive two to three seasons could give Arsenal the cutting edge they need to finally win the title.

Yes, Vardy is used to playing in Leicester's counter attacking system, rather than Arsenal's possession-based one. But he has proven an ability to work in tight spaces around the 18 yard box, find openings, and rarely needs more than a couple of good chances to find the net.
Other rumoured possibilities include the Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose superb technique and passing would certainly fit in with the Arsenal way, and don't rule out the signing of another striker, whether Vardy arrives or not. Alvaro Morata has been linked, with Theo Walcott said to be a target for Liverpool. Left back Ricardo Rodriguez of Wolfsburg is another name that has been banded about, with Nacho Monreal's performances brought into question at times last season.

Whether Wenger opts for conservatism or cuts loose this summer in the transfer market, the capture of Vardy would make a huge statement, in the same way that Manchester United's marquee signing of Andy Cole from rivals Newcastle did in the 1990s. If Vardy can win just a fraction of Cole's medals at United while at the Emirates, Arsenal fans will be happy.

 

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more