Arsenal FC: Eight Predictions For Arsenal This Season
Arsenal's first game of the season against Liverpool is fast approaching, less than a week away now, and with Arsenal's team basically finalized (although to many fans' dismay), it is time to think about what you should expect from the upcoming campaign.
Here are 10 predictions of what will happen this season for Arsenal!
Nasri Will Have A Breakout Season
The script is written for Nasri to have a breakout season. After not even being included in the preliminary 30-man roster for France's World Cup team, he has spent the off season dramatically improving his game.
Anyone who has seen even one of Arsenal's preseason games can see the fire in his game. He has hit the score sheet in four of Arsenal's six games this preseason, scoring a total of 5 goals.
Now I usually try keep it in perspective that it is simply the preseason, and form and results often have no correlation to the beginning of the season. However Nasri's form has been fantastic i almost every game he has played. He by far and away has been the most improved player this off season, and everyone can only hope his form carries on into the start of the season.
He is now fully adapted to the Premier League, and is a fixture in Arsenal's starting XI. The only possible bump in the road is now that Fabregas has returned, meaning Nasri will resume his role on the wing, where as during most of the preseason he played the number 10 role, sitting behind the striker(s).
Narsi could easily be Arsenal's player of the season, and if he stays fit for more of the season, it would be too far of the mark to see him make the EPL team of the year. Expect many more goals and assists from Nasri this season.
Wilshere WIll Be Loaned Out In January
Almost identical to last season, Jack Wilshere has had a fantastic preseason, and is quickly becoming the "Emirates Cup Star." For the third successive season Wilshere has begged the question, is he ready for the first team at Arsenal?
The answer: Not yet (...I feel like we have heard this one before)
Wilshere had a hugely successive loan with Bolton last season, however, Bolton is not Arsenal. Wilshere will fall down the pecking order yet again during the beginning of the season, and find it very hard to get and quality playing time- unless there any injuries.
There is too much quality at Arsenal to find a constant spot for Wilshere on the bench. He has become a bit taller this season, but still needs to bulk up for the English game. Arsenal are still unsure where they would even play Wilshere this season, although we know his future lies in the middle of the pitch, is it best he is left on the wing, or should he start learning his true trade now?
Either way Arsenal have no shortage of attacking players, let alone wingers. Wilshere still needs more experience with first team football, and I expect shortly after Christmas, Arsenal will send him on another loan deal to a club similar to Bolton.
What Wilshere needs to do:
Show Arsenal that you can have another successful loan spell at an EPL club and hold down a starting position. Maybe even more importantly, Wilshere needs to stay fit during this time as well. If he comes back at the end of the season will two successive, successful loan spells, he can make a much more convincing argument to Arsene Wenger to give him more oppertunity in the first team for Arsenal.
Until then, I feel it is Carling Cup games, meaningless Champions League games, and garbage minutes in the PL.
Koscielny Will Struggle This Season
Surprising? I know. As I said earlier, I try not to judge too much on preseason performances, or player's form. It is after all, only preseason.
If you look back two years, Laurent Koscielny was playing for French Ligue 2 side Tours. He then made a solid move up to Ligue 1 club FC Lorient last season. He has played one season in a top flight club, and although he was rather impressive, he still lacks a lot of experience to be starting CB at Arsenal.
He has not received his first full international cap for either France or Poland (he has dual citizenship) as well. Which also means he lacks experienced on those "huge crowds and massive pressure" type of games.
Many fans are expecting him to have a similar campaign to Vermaelen's breakout season last year. This is not going to be the case. Vermaelen came from a much more prestigious club in Ajax, and had gained a vast amount of first team experience in both the club and international level. He also captained the Ajax team before he moved to Arsenal, and is the current captain of the Belgium national team as well.
Koscielny is not very strong, and although he claims to embrace the "physical" aspect of the game, he is not very good at it. He does have the speed, and skill to play for a team like Arsenal, but he will need to bulk up a bit, and get used to the speed of play in England.
I feel he will need some time to adapt the English game, and towards the end of the season, you should start to see the reasons why Arsenal payed so much to get him.
Walcott Will Have An Above Average Season
Theo Walcott, once dubbed "The Future of England" has slowly fallen down the pecking order- not only for England, but Arsenal too. Theo Walcott suffered an injury-ridden, roller coaster season last year. He was shockingly cut from England's World Cup roster, and forced to watch the biggest tournament in the world from home.
Walcott was heavily criticized last season for his poor crossing, and having no "end product" to his game. Blessed with pace second to none, Walcott could beat any player to ball down the wing, but as soon as he forced to cross it, 7 out of 10 times it wouldn't reach the intended player (or any player for that matter).
Last season he seemed to lose confidence in himself during games, often refusing to take players on and always playing within himself. This season he is out to prove all his critics wrong.
Similar to Nasri's case, Theo has been using the extra time after being cut from England to improve his game, but he has not had the same results. Although there has been some improvement, this is still much work to be done.
The best news Walcott received this summer was when Joe Cole signed for Liverpool, because if he had signed for Arsenal, playing time would have been hard for him to come by.
If he can manage to stay fit this season and finally get a regular run of games in, he should start to regain his form. His pace frightens any defense, even Messi said that. Once he gets his crossing down, he could easily climb as one of the best wings in all of Europe.
Bendtner Will Be Arsenal's Top Scorer
The most challenging prediction each season is how many games will Robin van Persie play. The number is usually between 20 and 30 games a season, if Arsenal are lucky. Arsenal have learned to rely on their other strikers to help replace his missing goal scoring touch.
Love him or hate him, Bendtner has always been able to score goals for Arsenal. Sure his finishing can be dreadful some games, but whenever Arsenal play with him as their striker, there can be no denying that he always gets a handful of great chances to score each game he players.
Towards the back end of last season, Bendtner was often the only fully fit striker on the roster, and although many times it wasn't pretty (game against Wolves rings a bell), he got the job done, and in this business, that is all that counts. He has scored numerous clutch goals and delivered when Arsenal needed him most.
Although the arrival of Chamakh makes life a bit more competitive for him at Arsenal, Chamakh isn't a known for being a huge goal scoring threat. If Bendtner manages to make a full recovery from his current groin injury, and can stay fit this season, he has a huge opportunity to become a main goal scoring option at Arsenal.
Arsenal have had a history of having numerous players score over the course of a season- last season I believe 16 or 17 different players scored for Arsenal. With that in mind, Arsenal's top scoring is usually around 15 to 20 goals a season (in the EPL only). A tally that is easily attainable for a player like Bendtner.
Arsenal Will Seek Winter Reinforcements
Most Arsenal fans will tell you that looking at the current squad at Arsenal, they are still one or two players short of a title winning squad- even if Arsene Wenger doesn't think so. Arsenal might suffer a rude awakening, when realizing they need more defensive reinforcements this season.
Arsenal usually make at least one winter transfer move each year. Two years ago they bought Arshavin, last season is was Campbell. This season, who knows, but chances are Arsene Wenger could realize a bit too late that Arsenal actually do need a new keeper and more center backs this season, and look to add to the squad come January.
Also going off recent history, Arsenal have suffered one serious injury blow before Christmas, if not more in some seasons. An injury to a key player could see Wenger, desperate to win a trophy, decide to pay big to bring in a huge talent to push Arsenal over the edge to bring home some silverware.
True, very few high profile transfers take place during January. No team wants to lose a star player mid season, but certain players have exceptions to the rule. Mesut Ozil (picture) being one of them. Currently in the final year of his contract, Werder Bremen could finally decide they want to cash in on their star player instead of losing him on a free transfer in the summer. Arsenal could easily step in and make a bid for players in the situation like Ozil this winter.
Arsenal Will Win A Trophy This Season
Arsenal will finally bring home silverware this season, but not the EPL title or Champions League trophy like many fans were hoping. Arsenal will win the FA Cup this season, why?
Past seasons Arsenal have more or less, not really concentrated on advancing in the FA Cup too much. When you play as many games as Arsenal do a season, there has to be some games where you rest your key players. Last season when Arsenal were knocked out by Stoke City, Arsenal were starting players like 3 or 4 U-21 players in their team, and not to mention Mikel Silvestre was playing in defense.
With Arsenal looking to win any bit of silverware this season, Wenger will concentrate more on winning games in the FA Cup, where Arsenal have a much greater chance of winning. Arsenal have a real shot at winning the FA Cup if they put their true starting XI every game, and they should finally end their 5 year trophy drought!
Arsenal Will Fall Short Of The Title...Again
Arsenal will challenge for the EPL title this season, but ultimately fall short yet again. Chelsea and Man United have not dramatically improved this summer, only become older. But the fact of the matter is that Arsenal are still two solid players (keeper and center back) away from surpassing their rivals.
Arsenal should finished 2nd this season, only to Chelsea. The days of Giggs and Scholes running the United midfield are over, and although Sir Alex Ferguson will never let them retire, their impact during games is limited, and Arsenal's rising quality will surpass them. Chelsea too have gotten older, and Terry and Lampard are both past their peak years, but as long as Drogba is their striker, Arsenal will always be 2nd best to Chelsea in the Premier League.
Arsenal have always managed to stumble in the games with their biggest rivals. Last season Arsenal lost all four matches to Man U and Chelsea. Until Arsenal prove they can win such games, they will continue to fall short of the title.
End of Season Prediction:
1. Chelsea- 88 pts
2. Arsenal- 85 pts
3. Man United- 84 pts
4. Man City- 77 pts
5. Liverpool- 70 pts
6. Tottenham- 67 pts