The dust has settled on the transfer window and with the return of Premier League football just a few days away, it’s time to evaluate the strength of the Arsenal squad.
The Gunners added a number of new recruits this summer and seem in good shape in all areas.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech, David Ospina, Emiliano Martinez (Wojciech Szczesny)
Petr Cech is the obvious first choice. The 34-year-old is vastly experienced, a winner and one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history. The Gunners did exceptionally well to secure his signature last year but there are perhaps signs that the former Chelsea man is on the decline. Cech’s ability to deal with long shots is worrying and the club may need to look into the situation in the coming years but for now the former Czech international will certainly do.
David Ospina is a solid backup. The Colombian is perhaps a better shot-stopper than Cech but certainly lacks the Arsenal number one’s aerial ability. The Gunners also have young Emiliano Martinez in reserve who has always looked solid when given the chance. Then of course there is the question of Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole is 26 now and really needs to start fulfilling his potential or there will be no future for him at the Emirates. He is a solid goalkeeper with attributes in every area but is just far too erratic to play at the top level right now.
Full Back – Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson
Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are the obvious first choice pairing. Bellerin is one of the best young defenders in the Premier League, if not the world, and will hopefully hold down the right back spot at the Emirates for a decade. Nacho Monreal is perhaps the most consistent performer in the Arsenal team but is not without his weaknesses. Arsene Wenger’s tactics often rely on attacking full backs and Monreal – and to a certain extent Bellerin – don’t really excel in that area. His crossing is average and he lacks the penetrating movement to really threaten the opposition at times.
Kieran Gibbs is a solid deputy for the Spaniard and seems ready to step in at any moment. The Englishman has improved in recent months and should hopefully challenge the Spaniard for the starting spot this year.
On the other flank The Gunners have options. Mathieu Debuchy is undoubtedly on borrowed time at the Emirates and could well leave in January once Carl Jenkinson has returned to full fitness.
Centre Back – Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Rob Holding (Calum Chambers)
The first choice pairing will probably be Laurent Koscielny and new signing Shkodran Mustafi. Koscielny is one of the best centre backs the Gunners have had in the last ten years and there is a lot of optimism about the new signing Mustafi. Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista are currently out injured but the pair will come back and challenge. Arsenal now have four senior centre backs who are all of a high quality, that is something the club hasn’t had in a long time.
Rob Holding will support the first choice quartet and step in when required. There is reason to be optimistic about the youngster following his impressive first few months at the club. Similarly, there is optimism about youngster Krystian Bielik who put in some impressive performances during the pre-season tour of America.
As a result of the strength in depth, Calum Chambers was allowed to leave to Middlesbrough on loan for the campaign in search of regular minutes – something he would struggle with this season at Arsenal. The future remains very bright for the England U21 star.