Mikel Arteta is an incredibly consistent performer at the heart of the Arsenal midfield. Named as the Gunners skipper for this season, he is expected to be a regular starter as the team's anchor man. Although he is very disciplined and an intelligent passer, there are concerns over his ability to cope with powerful opponents. Arteta will turn 33 this season, and he is starting to show signs of weariness during games. Arsene Wenger will need to make sure he rests the Spaniard throughout the season in order for him to retain a good competitive level.
Mathieu Flamini is a steady performer but lacks the technical skill that typifies the rest of the Arsenal midfield contingent. That can be a good thing: His no-nonsense style provides a handy contrast to the elaborate playmaking of his colleagues. However, he can occasionally slow down Arsenal's slick passing game.
Aaron Ramsey was Arsenal's outstanding performer last season, and there is no reason to expect that to change in 2014/15. Unlike many of the Premier League's stars, he was afforded a rest this summer due to Wales' failure to qualify for the World Cup. He has returned fresh and raring to go and began the season with a late winner against Crystal Palace. Ramsey missed four months of last season with a troublesome thigh problem, so he will hope to make a more consistent contribution to the campaign this time around.
This is a big season for Jack Wilshere. He can no longer use persistent injury problems as an excuse: He needs to deliver on the field. His first battle is to win a regular place in the team. With Aaron Ramsey in such outstanding form, it is difficult to see precisely where Wilshere fits in. When he does play, he offers energy and creativity. However, he needs to learn to keep it simple. At times he can look like he's trying too hard to do something impressive, when the easy pass is the better option.
Talent-wise, Abou Diaby is an A-Grade footballer. However, horrendous injury problems have robbed him of years of his career. Unfortunately, he can no longer be relied upon to contribute regularly to the Arsenal cause. Diaby is an intriguing wild card, but nothing more.
Zelalem is a creative midfielder of huge promise. However, his teenage body is some way from being ready for the relentless physicality of the Premier League. His chances to shine are more likely to come in the cup competitions and even then he may have to accept a place on the bench. Zelalem needs patience: His time will come, eventually.
It's something of a surprise to see Francis Coquelin included in the Arsenal squad for this year. After a loan spell with Freiburg in 2013/14, few expected him to return to north London. However, the club's failure to recruit the anticipated holding midfielder means Coquelin gets an unexpected opportunity to play back-up to Arteta and Flamini. He is likely to be little more than a stop-gap until Arsenal sign a superior defensive midfielder.