With just a few days until the new season starts, we take a look at our main rivals for the Premier League title, with a focus on Arsenal
Once the scourge of Manchester City, Arsenal and the blues have swapped roles in recent years. Blues fans used to dread trips to Highbury and The Emirates, but now a match against Arsenal has become quite an enjoyable experience.
City are unbeaten in 11 matches home and away against the Gunners, winning 9 and drawing just 2 and the only defeats City have suffered is in the FA Cup, when they have faced Arsenal twice in the semi-final and lost both.
The Gunners had a tough first full season under Mikel Arteta and finished 8th in the league. However, not being involved in European football this season could well be a blessing for the Gunners, as it will give them a chance to rebuild and regroup.
Arteta’s team play attractive football, but often come up short. Last season, they suffered surprise home defeats at the hands of Aston Villa (0-3-), Wolves (2-1), Burnley (0-1). They lost 7 home matches last season and their away form was much better, and they will have to improve their home form if they are to make any inroads on the top four.
The Gunners have been busy in the transfer market, with their biggest signing coming in the form of defender Ben White for £50m from Brighton.
They have been rumoured to be interested in signing Tammy Abraham from Chelsea, although it looks like he is on the way to Roma, but more recently it is rumoured Arteta is interested in bringing England full-back Kieran Trippier back to London. Leicester’s James Maddison remains on their radar and City’s very own Bernardo Silva has also been linked with swapping Manchester blue for north London red and white.
For players moving away from the Emirates, midfielder Joe Willock is open to a move to Newcastle and Granit Xhaka is rumoured to be ready to move, but a new contract may be on the horizon. Former record signing Alexandre Lacazette will not be getting a new contract with the Gunners and may move on, while defender David Luiz has left the club after his contract expired.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will again lead the line for the Gunners, having scored 15 goals in a difficult season for Arsenal last season. With 85 goals from 148 appearances, it would be foolish to write off the threat of the French born Gabon striker.
In midfield, Bukayo Sakha will look to take his experience with England’s Euro 2020 run into the new Premier League season and it is hoped that fans across the country will follow the example of Spurs and give him a warm reception at visiting grounds.
In defence, White’s arrival should help plug the hole that conceded 39 goals in 38 games. To underline Arsenal’s home record, they conceded more at home than they did away, and that will need to be rectified if Arsenal are to challenge for honours next season.
When Do City Face Arsenal?
The blues welcome the Gunners to Manchester on 28th August, then travel to the Emirates on New Year’s Day.
Prediction on Arsenal
Arsenal are one of those teams that could do really well against the top teams one week, then lose to a lower placed team. Their unpredictable nature is reminiscent of City in the early 90’s and Arteta will need to get that inconsistency under control if they are to truly challenge.
An FA Cup run may help them, but the chances of winning the title are slim at best. They are likely to improve on last season, but top four may be just beyond them this time around. Fifth is well within reach though.