Last season saw Arsenal have the worst start of the season. The knives were out for Arsene Wenger, and those fans who for years were screaming "in Wenger we trust" were beginning to allow doubt shake their certainty. Arsene's owl like vision to perceived wrongs and bat like blindness to blatant Arsenal wrongdoing is legendary. His single-mindedness and myopia, the discerning Arsenal fan feared, is perhaps expanding to all areas of his management. He lost his talismanic captain Fabregas and Samir Nasri and never looked like replacing them in the summer.Player losses and injuries left Arsenal at the bottom half of the table for the first few months of the season. However, a stable mid-season and a strong finish revealed something about this Arsenal side. People forget that Wenger is experienced and there are still world class players and great young players in the side. The following points are a few reasons why this season could end Arsenal's trophy drought.
Wenger has been bold for his standards this transfer window . Podolski's international pedigree, Giroud's great season with Montpellier, but most of all the transfer record signing of Santi Cazorla is a good reason to be optimistc. Cazorla is the finished article, a rarity for Wenger and is the perfect replacement for Fabregas. He is more versatile, athletic, creative and quick. This is the kind of signing that Arsenal needed years ago. A quality signing to complement promising youth. With the possible addition of Nuri Sahin who will play creative role from deep, they could have an extremely exciting midfield. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Sakho, a player who could be the final piece to complete Arsenal. He would provide a real competition for the starting line-up and could allow Vermaleen to cover Gibbs when Arsenal are stretched.
Wenger never accepted the adage that squads win championships.Wenger's vision of squad depth was that his first eleven, themselves young and developing players, are to be backed up by even younger and inexperienced players. His squad was thin and the very young players would play in almost every game thus risking injury. Some arsenal fans saw the 8-2 thrashing against man united as a blessing in disguise. "Maybe now Wenger will see" they thought and perhaps this season proves that. Walcott, Gibbs and Wilshere have all had their development hindered by injury. With genuine competition, Arsenal wouldn't "need" these players as urgently as they did before. Competent, high quality cover is what Arsenal lacked. With 3 completed signings 3 long-term injured players to come back Arsenal will have the requsite depth to compete. It is this argument Wenger will use to keep Van Persie. Wenger has also suggested not selling him and that could very well be what happens.
One year older
Last year was Schezney's first full season for Arsenal and all in all he had a good season. He is more experienced with over 50 more games and we can see a more confident keeper overcoming a needed learning curve. Walcott's trajectory of improvement is evidenced by opta stats placing him as the 3rd most effective midfielder in the premieship. He has improved in virtually all areas of the final third he will be 23 this season and is very experienced. Oxlade Chamberlain's introduction last season was very encouraging and his experience with the national side too will provide competent depth. Koscielny has finally adapted and had a good campaign last season and Barcelona's shameless courtship of Alex Song should indicate his worth.
Assuming that Robin Van Persie is staying and a real competent centreback is bought and better luck with injuries Arsenal could surprise many this season and mount a serious title challenge.