Premier League preview – Arsenal

Last season:

Premier League: 3rd

FA Cup: Fifth Round

League Cup: Quarter-finals

Champions League: Round of sixteen

Having finished last season strongly to sneak into automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages, Arsenal fans had reason for cautious optimism ahead of this campaign.

In early July however, the Gunners’ preparations for the new Premier League season were thrown into turmoil when last year’s talisman, the brilliant Robin van Persie, announced that he was not willing to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium. Exasperated by the lack of ambition shown by the club, van Persie was immediately linked with a host of clubs, most notably Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United, all keen to take advantage of the Dutchman being in the final year of his contract.

At the time of writing, van Persie remains on Arsenal’s squad list but he seems to be destined to make a move before the summer transfer window closes at the end of this month.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was keen to pre-empt any decision by van Persie to leave and drafted in French striker Olivier Giroud as a replacement. Giroud scored 24 goals in 40 appearances for Montpellier last season, and played a vital role in his team securing the Ligue 1 title.

The £12 million signing is likely to spearhead a new-look Arsenal attack. The speedy Lukas Podolski has also arrived in North London. Podolski, who is still only 27-years-old, has been a prolific frontman for unfashionable German outfit FC K

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