Premier League season preview: Arsenal

New Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski will provide extra firepower - but alongside Robin van Persie? Photo: PA


Manager: Arsene Wenger

Position last season: 3rd

Ground: Emirates Stadium (Capacity: 60,355)

Players in: Lukas Podolski (Cologne, undisclosed), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier, undisclosed), Santi Cazorla (Malaga, undisclosed)

Players out: Gavin Hoyte, Manuel Almunia (both released), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad, undisclosed), Denilson (Sao Paulo, season-long loan), Joel Campbell (Real Betis, season-long loan), Benik Afobe (Bolton, season-long loan).

Key man: Santi Cazorla. Rated as one of Spain’s most gifted attacking midfielders, 27-year-old Cazorla is a terrific signing, even with a reported £16.5m pricetag. He will fill a Samir Nasri-shaped hole and then some.

Chances: With or without wantaway captain Robin van Persie, big questions remain about the title credentials of Wenger's Gunners, who would have failed to make the top four last season were it not for the Dutchman's record goal haul. Wenger has been unusually active in the transfer market this summer (a message to RvP or simply planning for a life without him?), but although Arsenal now look a very exciting prospect in attack, their defence still looks too thin - at full-back there is not enough deep cover, for example - to seriously challenge the Manchester giants over the long haul of a Premier League campaign. Few clubs in England will score more goals than the Gunners in 2012/13, but the cup competitions again offer the best hopes of scratching that seven-years-and-counting trophy itch.

Where they’ll finish: 4th.

Will Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger add another trophy to the club's dusty cabinet? Credit: PA