Premier League Countdown: Arsenal facing fight for top four finish
The new Premier League season is now only five days away, so it’s time to think about how the upcoming campaign will shake out.
In the build-up to the new season we’re profiling each of the 20 top-flight clubs, from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion.
Our next team in the spotlight is Arsenal…
The 2016-17 season didn’t really go to plan for Arsenal.
Yes, they won the FA Cup, but that was overshadowed by uncertainty over manager Arsene Wenger’s future and failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 21 years.
As soon as Wenger had signed a new two-year deal, fresh speculation abounded over the futures of star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
While it looks as though the pair will remain at the Emirates for the upcoming campaign, nothing is set in stone.
The good news is that Alexandre Lacazette has signed from Olympique Lyonnais and should provide a more consistent goal threat up top.
The Frenchman hit 36 goals in 44 appearances for Lyon last season and has looked promising in pre-season.
Central midfield and centre-half remain problem areas for the Gunners, however.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are both getting older, but at least Rob Holding looks promising if the youngster is given a chance.
In the middle of the park Arsenal still lack the N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic or Fernandinho type figure that wins you titles.
The North Londoners are often accused of having a soft core to the side and Wenger has done nothing to dispel that with his summer business.
Arsenal – 2017-18
Key arrivals: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac.
Key departures: None.
Man to watch: Alexis Sanchez
Title odds: 11/1
Best bet: Arsenal Top 4 finish @ 10/11
We say: The Gunners may have added a big name to their striking line-up, but elsewhere on the pitch they’re still lacking. The defensive line isn’t strong enough and the Gunners still lack a midfield enforcer consistent enough to take control of the big games. Making the top four could be a struggle again for the North Londoners.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing