Arsenal is an interesting team to talk about this year. Now they have a consistent goalkeeper and are trying to piece together a whole team, and are doing everything in their power to compete this year. The full time keeper is looking like the big man from Poland, Wojciech Szczesny who started 15 games last year. He is relatively unproven but he has a bit of experience from last year. The attack is boasting a few new names and so too is the defense.
The main worry that a lot of folks have is that these new guys will not be able to handle the weight of succeeding in the Premier League. Arsenal’s team is so young that you would be hard pressed to find a player that is over the age of 30. Some people consider that a good thing, but it may not be a good thing for this season. Too much youth on a team with this much weight on its shoulders may cause them to collapse. Andrei Arshavin, who is 30 years old, will be leading the team and trying to keep things held together from his midfield position. As he usually does we can expect to see him netting a few goals as well.
I am going to look at both sides of Arsenal’s youth; they have so much raw talent and so much room to grow. Players like Gervinho (24), Carl Jenkinson (19), and Aaron Ramsey (20) will find themselves in starting positions and even though most of these players are unproven, their raw talent can get them far. Arsenal’s attack is another strength of theirs and van Persie will be expected to score early and often in the League. Last year, van Persie scored 18 goals in 19 starts and with Gervinho as his wing man we can only expect more goals to be scored.
Andrei Arshavin is arguably one of the best in the Premier League and will hold a very large leadership role for the Gunners, not something he is not accustomed to however. Bacary Sagna will be the heart of a defense that features players like Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs. Although he is a new player Wojciech Szczesney is looking like he will do a great job in England’s top flight. He started 15 games last season and now that he is going to be taking the pitch full time he will be a lot more comfortable in the back. Szczesney has had a great offseason and has earned some good results for Poland this summer too.
Arsenal does have a few weak spots on their team. The defense is one of them, primarily because they cannot find a consistent back line. Bacary Sagna has excelled more often than not but the fact that Arsenal continues to mix and match their back line does not create an atmosphere for a good defense. Having an inconsistent defense that makes silly errors is the worst possible situation to put a brand new goalkeeper in to. Unless the back line shapes up quickly you will see Szczesney facing a lot of shots.
Youth as a whole, although already mentioned as being a strength, can still possibly be a weakness for the Gunners. If you look at teams like Manchester United and Chelsea you see players who have been with the club for an extended stay and have a decent amount of Premier League experience. But when you look at Arsenal, all you really see is a very young inexperienced batch of players mixed in with the likes of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie. I still think this year is going to be more of a rebuilding year than anything for Arsenal, but they are a big name club and even a rebuilding year at the Emirates will probably warrant a top 4 finish.