Arsenal Debate: Predicting the Arsenal Starting XI for 2011-12

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Arsenal Debate: Predicting the Arsenal Starting XI for 2011-12
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

The English Premier League season commences in just under a week whilst UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup qualification proceedings have recently begun. It is set to be another thrilling season of European football as the calibre and efficiency of all teams and leagues drastically increases, particularly with the influence of foreign investors.

Arsenal concluded their preseason exhibition with another disappointing loss, this time to Portuguese giants SL Benfica. The 2-1 defeat follows the news that the Gunners' encounter Italian giants Udinese in a tough UEFA Champions League qualification round late next week.

It has not been a promising Summer for Arsene Wenger and his squad. Speculation regarding captain Cesc Fabregas and key play maker Samir Nasri has dominated headlines with the pair both expressing a desire to depart the Emirates.

Fabregas's inevitable move to boyhood club Barcelona appears imminent with the clubs now merely arguing on the matter of a final fee. Nasri on the other hand has been unable to agree on a contract extension with the Gunners' with reports suggesting the Frenchman was unhappy with both the wages and Arsenal's lack of success.

Nasri is still yet to resign ensuring the 24-year-old enters 2011/2012 on his final Arsenal year but fortunately the midfielder should grace the Red and White despite interest from Manchester United and Manchester City.

Furthermore Arsenal secured just two victories during their preseason campaign. Success over Malaysia XI and FC Cologne were promising before becoming marred by stalemates with Boca Juniors and New York Red Bulls' in their own Emirates Cup, which was not retained by the Gunners' for the first time since 2008. Wenger's men also drew with Hangzou Greentown.

However the most repelling news for Arsenal fans will be the fact that it has been an quiet transfer window for Arsene Wenger. With now six seasons without silverware lingering in North London, the Frenchman was expected to enforce some major changes into his youthful squad.

Yet so far the Frenchman has only sold veteran left back Gael Clichy for £7 million to Manchester City and loaned Samba star Denilson to Sao Paulo whilst acquiring Ivorian striker Gervinho for £10.5 million from French champions OSC Lille. Despite the somewhat fragile defensive line and the heavily criticized lack of depth at midfield, Wenger is still yet to implement transfers.

However there is over three weeks in the transfer window remaining enabling the Arsenal manager more then enough time to secure quality services. Furthermore Wenger does have talented players to his disposal, predominantly young quality which has developed rapidly in recent years.

With Manchester City and Liverpool's big spending during the Summer along with the commanding dominance of Manchester United and Chelsea, many have written Arsenal off as Premier League contenders, however one can never properly do this with Arsenal.

As the Gunners' enter 2011/2012, just what does Wenger have in mind for their starting XI?

BleacherReport predicts the official starting XI for Arsenal in 2011/2012. Take a look.

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