Arsenal have never really been proper Premier League title contenders in the last decade, but this could all change in the 2015-16 Premier League season. There is an air of positivity surrounding the club before the start of this new season. It is certainly surprising considering that the transfer window has been relatively quiet for the gunners. Arsene Wenger has brought in Petr Cech from rivals Chelsea for around £10 million. He is the only acquisition by the club so far.
Wenger has always stressed that it is about quality and not about the quantity in terms of players. Cech’s performances in the Community Shield victory over his former club Chelsea once again demonstrated that he remains a world-class goalkeeper despite being pushed away from Stamford Bridge. The calm and reassuring figure of Cech saw Arsenal scrape out a 1-0 win. For years, the gunners have stuck with the philosophy of playing beautiful football without realising the need for the other side of the coin. League titles are rarely won by just beautiful football.
Arsenal appear to have developed the third dimension and Cech perfectly suits this team. Wenger says that he wants no excuses. He said:
“Even last year we had no excuses, just the fact Chelsea started strongly and we didn’t. And there were reasons, that is for sure. This season it is different.
“I believe they [Chelsea] were more stable than us defensively and they had a good start.
“After six games we were 11 points behind Chelsea and we finished 12 points behind. After six games the decision was made. Chelsea out off the blocks very positively and that made the difference.”
A major problem in recent years with Arsenal has been their inconsistent displays over the length of a Premier League campaign. The back-to-back FA Cup titles has certainly provided this team with the experience of winning the title. Perhaps, this could come handy when the league campaign starts with a home game against West Ham United. The pre-season could not have gone much better for the gunners, who have claimed a win in all of their games.
Still, Arsenal remain short on a few positions and it remains to be seen if Wenger will spend in the final few weeks of the window to sort out this aspect.
Theo Walcott has proven that he is capable of stepping up when required, but the England international needs to deliver more consistently. Now that his future has been sorted out by signing a new long-term contract, Walcott can finally focus on delivering the potential that he clearly had at the time of his move from Southampton in 2006.
Players to Watch: Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Olivier Giroud
Last Season’s Position: 3rd
Important Signings: Petr Cech (from Chelsea)
Key Departures: Carl Jenkinson (loan to West Ham), Abou Diaby (to Marseille), Wojciech Szczesny (loan to Roma), Lukas Podolski (to Galatasaray), Yaya Sanogo (loan to Ajax)