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The club has had a mixed transfer window, making some brilliant signings while selling off their captain and previous season's top scorer. Where are the North London side headed?

Arsenal
FORMATION
4-3-3


Arsene Wenger has finally woken up to smell the coffee. Or maybe he was just afraid of losing Captain Vantastic, which he just has.

With no visible panic buys made, Wenger seems more intent to build a good Arsenal side than just blindly follow his youth policy. And on paper, there's quite a dangerous team he's built.

The back four will be quite a solid one in the centre, with a burgeoning partnership between Koscielny and Vermaelen, pushing Mertesacker back. The left-back position will be taken by Andre Santos. Bacary Sagna's fitness concerns might just see him lose out to Nico Yennaris at righ back.

The midfield trio will ideally have Alex Song at its base if he doesn't get starry-eyed over Barcelona's interest. But his backup will be Abou Diaby barring an M'Vila transfer. Slightly further ahead to link midfield to attack will be Mikel Arteta while Santi Cazorla will be an attacking midfielder that prefers drifting out wide.

The attacking trio looks a mouthwatering proposition, though a bit dampened by the departure of erstwhile captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United. But they had brought in a full-scale replacement by buying Olivier Giroud and he will be the focal point of the Arsenal attack. On his left will be the industrious but flair filled Lukas Podolski while he will be covered on the right by either Theo Walcott or Gervinho.

Arsenal
THE MANAGER

It's Arsene Wenger's 17th season in charge of Arsenal. Roman Abramovich scratches his head and wonders how things like these are possible. But they are and during his time at Arsenal, Wenger has seen it all and become one of the most respected coaches in the world.

We know what the suave Frenchman is about. A father figure, a great man manager, tactically astute with a desire to see beautiful football in his side. A great advocate of youth and an academy, he has made Arsenal self-sufficient enough to even make operating profits. A businessman as well as a great coach, this time around Wenger has loosened his purse strings a little to try and create an Arsenal team that can well and truly challenge for the title while making a profit on a player they could have easily lost for free.

Arsenal
TRANSFER ZONE

Signings made:

Arsenal have made more big-name signings this time around than any in recent memory, with Wenger preferring to create superstars rather than buy them. But this season, they really have pulled out all the stops in signing a striker, a wide striker and a drifting attacking midfielder. Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla are not names to be dismissed so easily and Arsenal should be well pleased that the club is still an attractive proposition for the world's best players.

They will all become first team immediates as Wenger looks to increase quality in squad depth.

Potential signings for crucial positions:

With Jack Wilshere suffering a three-month 'setback' (three months is like a fresh accident!), it is important to have a defensively competent distributor who can influence games from the middle of the park. In that context, Nuri Sahin becomes an important name for Arsenal in the market.

Arsenal
STENGTHS & WEAKNESSES

Strengths:

With their new signings, Arsenal give themselves a phenomenally strong attack although it is now dampened by van Persie's departure. Or perhaps the signings were made because of the imminence of his departure. Either way, Walcott/Gervinho, Giroud and Podolski look quite a threatening proposition as they demolished FC Koln 4-0. With Carzorla and Arteta being secondary attackers, they also have good passers up front who can shoot from distance.

Arsenal also have plenty of options on the bench this time around especially in the midfield department with the likes of Rosicky, Ramsey and Diaby.

Weaknesses:

Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs have never been quite as convincing as they should be, quite often underwhelming in terms of their proven ability. They do not retain a proper defensive midfielder as Alex Song is not your typical player in that role. With Van Persie's departure, Giroud is slated to take over as the focal point of the attack and the Frenchman may find it difficult to cope with the Premier League, much the same way in which Marouane Chamakh has struggled.

The base of the midfield trio, i.e. the defensive midfielder will be Arsenal's main concern with Song being courted by Barcelona and Wilshere out as long as he will be.

Arsenal
PRE-SEASON FORM

Arsenal
Arsenal 1-0
(45 min)
Anderlecht Anderlecht
Southampton
Southampton 1-1
(45 min)
Arsenal Arsenal
Boreham Wood MLS All-Stars 1-3 Arsenal Arsenal
Arsenal
Arsenal 2-1 MLS All-Stars Malaysia XI
Arsenal
Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City Manchester City
Stevenage Stevenage FC 0-0 Arsenal Arsenal
Kitchee Kitchee SC 2-2 Arsenal Arsenal
Dartford MLS All-Stars 2-1 Arsenal Arsenal
Chesham United MLS All-Stars 2-6 Arsenal Arsenal
Koln
FC Köln 0-4 Arsenal Arsenal


Arsenal
PLAYER TO SHINE


With newly signed Santi Cazorla literally waiting in the Arsenal wings to take over the positions formerly occupied by Andrei Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky, who will probably go to the bench after this signing, we think that he is the most likely candidate to define Arsenal's season.

One of the younger products of Spain's Golden Generation, he doesn't have too many caps to his name because of the player he is behind, David Silva. But he can easily have as much impact if not more, especially in a team that advocates flair play as much as Arsenal.

Someone who can play across the midfield and often does it through a game, he has quite literally a long distance for potential impact, able to influence a game on the left, centre or right of the attacking third. If he can click, Arsenal have a real gem on their hands.

Arsenal
FANS SPEAK

Varun Noronha

Before the news of Van Persie moving to United broke, I really did believe that he would do a U-turn and stay with Arsenal which would have enabled us to seriously challenge for the Premier League title. Following his departure, I have to be a little more realistic and suggest that even though Giroud and Podolski may not be able to fill the void left by our talisman, we should be able to pick up at least one trophy. I think we've made a few great signings and still have a fantastic team and so it is imperative that we win something. Hopefully we can use the money received from van Persie's sale to bring in a quality defender.


Manish Vyas

Assuming that there are not further additions to the squad, our attack (strikers) may fall short due to injuries but with the additions that are made a top 4 finish seems very likely. Although I am not happy with this. Another barren season would accumulate more pressure on Wenger and the board and may well be the tipping point for a lot of Arsenal fans. The fact that we might not sign another striker after van Persie's departure may hurt us this season. Moreover selling of Alex Song has to be avoided by all means to ensure that we don’t become a sellin club.

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