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Arsenal 2011/12 Season Preview: Cautiously Optimistic

There seems to be something different in the air every time the new season approaches. Wide-eyed optimism and credulous belief permeates football supporters all over the world. I always try my best to remain realistic – for example, I might not have particularly high hopes for my club in terms of signing that £40m superstar that will surely make all our woes simply vanish, but come August I continually feel like a little kid at Christmas; full of hope, utterly convinced that this will be our year.

Get started with Sky Sports Football and watch the best of Arsenal in the 2011/2012 Premier League season in HD.

A mind-numbingly repetitive summer has now thankfully passed, and as millions of people put the finishing touches to their fantasy teams, Twitchy Harry bids for Spurs’ 16th different striker target of the summer and pundits and fans alike dissect the moves made by clubs in the transfer market, it’s finally time to start the new season.
Let’s delve into it, shall we? I don’t know about you, but nothing infuriates me more than having the poorly researched, frivolous prediction – inevitably with Arsenal about 40 points off the title – coming from some pundit shoved down my throat at the start of the season. If you look around in the dark corners of football punditry you can find people saying Arsenal will finish as low as 8th this season, based upon the fact that we haven’t signed a 6 ft 6 psycho with very few front teeth and even fewer braincells to play centre-back yet. Even Lee Dixon has tipped Liverpool to pip us to 4th place this season, as if Champions League qualification is all we could ever aim for this season. I think that’s rubbish, and I’ll explain why I’m cautiously optimistic when it comes to our prospects this season.

A stick Arsenal continuously gets beaten with is what is percieved as their Achilles heel – the defence. While I agree that we can improve in this area (another signing just to make sure Squillaci doesn’t get to play would be nice), it’s often overlooked that it’s the same defence that conceded the fewest goals in open play last season. A feat achieved despite missing Vermaelen for virtually the entire season, two centre-backs completely new to English football (one of which – Koscielny – had only played one full season in a top flight division before signing) and Djourou who had missed the entire previous campaign. Not to mention that some of our goalkeepers conspired to throw a few balls into their own net a number of times. Had Mourinho, or someone of that ilk, under these circumstances, managed to concede the fewest league goals in open play someone would undoubtedly throw him a parade at the very least. A knighthood would surely follow.

So, to that defence we can now add Vermaelen, we’re reportedly getting rid of the walking disaster that is Eboue, replaced our liability in goal with Szczesny and, as seen in the Emirates Cup, we have been working on set pieces, which is the only way to improve our dysmal record. I was thinking that the only real negative in this department was the departure of Clichy, until I, along with the blue half of Manchester, got a timely reminder what he’s really made of. Another centre-back would be great, but other than that we seem to have taken the necessary steps to improve. We could need to work a bit harder as team and press more cohesively, but I don’t agree with the gloomy outlook shared by most Gooners.

There are many well documented worries surrounding our team though. The long, arduous transfer sagas involving Nasri and Cesc, at the time of writing, still rumbles on. We can cope without Nasri – who wouldn’t trust Wenger with buying a brilliant attacking player? – but Fábregas would be a devastatingly heavy blow. No, Wilshere and Ramsey cannot replace him yet. There’s also external factors to include in the equation, but I’m severly unimpressed by our rivals. I wouldn’t dare dream to write Manchester United off, and those who followed the Europa League last season will be slightly in love with Chelsea’s new manager, but other than that? No, I say bring it on. City have bought a young centre-back who failed a trial here and one of the most bemoaned players in our recent history aswell as another star striker to fit in to their 1 striker system while Liverpool have bought players that would get nowhere near our team –Henderson, Downing and Adam does not make them better than us.

Yes, it’s been far too long without a trophy and that we always seem to throw it away when things really heat up cannot be considered a coincidence but, as I see it, we’re definitely in with a shot at the title. The fact that we really should’ve won it last year should encourage Arsenal fans and strengthen our resolve to get behind the team. Can you feel it? That special something in the air? I can. A season of utter significance is upon us.

Get started with Sky Sports Football and watch the best of Arsenal in the 2011/2012 Premier League season in HD.

This article was written by Aqqe. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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donzy
donzy
8 years ago

at least someones optimistic. everyones going on about how were worse than last season. it hasnt even started yet!

kevin
kevin
8 years ago

fabregas will be going ,so will nasri ,unless these players are both replaced with players of similar quality we will not make top4 . so far in my opinion he has bought one quality player gervinho in a position not really needed.he will now have to sign 2 midfielders a centre half and a striker .and hes running out of time.the other players he bought are kids and at this moment are not “super quality”! in my opinion its a shambles right now.the squad is light more injuries tonight ive heard to 2 players .i have zero confidence going into… Read more »

Kevin Donkor
Kevin Donkor
8 years ago

Personally I just want the season to start and then I will make my predictions. What people fail to realise is last season we were three points of second when in the last ten games we couldn’t win for love nor money. Also we dropped silly points to West Brom,Blackburn,Sunderland,Newcastle,Bolton,Wigan,Aston Villa,and Liverpool at home.

AmeriGoon
AmeriGoon
8 years ago

I cannot match that optimism, unfortunately. Its not only losing our star men that worries me, as they will certainly be replaced in the starting lineup by someone of lesser CURRENT ability – thus a downgrade – but the nearly complete lack of depth at so many positions that really worries me. LB is a huge worry. Gibbs is a big question mark – he wasn’t great when he came on last season – and has had a great deal of difficulty staying fit. Behind him is Armand Traore, whose defensive abilities have never looked strong and now that he’s… Read more »

Arsenal4Life
Arsenal4Life
8 years ago

I cannot be optimistic at all, when we will not compete for any trophy of significance. 1. Rivals are stronger than last year, we have not kept up with them. Logic says that we cannot expect to topple them unless all 3 falter. Lets not forget the likes of Bayern-Real-Barca have upped their game in Europe, so can’t see us knocking any of those out to win the CL. 2. No stability, we have 2 starters wanting out, we have sold another starter, and only really replaced 1 in Gervinho. This is not the recipe to win any trophies. 3.… Read more »

bc
bc
8 years ago

Agree with the post and some of the comments, i think there are many positives and a few negatives. Firstly, i think Nasri has already been adequately replaced – Gervinho Cesc IMO is irreplaceable, the closest available player is Sneijder followed by Hazard or Mata. One of these 3 is a must. However we could consider using RVP or Arshavin in their preferred no.10 role. If we do then another striker is a must – Benzema, but i would go for him anyway. Totally agree that RB and LB are both looking thin. However there are very few decent full… Read more »

donzy
donzy
8 years ago

clown,give up the drugs

cescfiberglass
cescfiberglass
8 years ago

Arsene said it himself…Arsenal are NOT ambitious!

“Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri,” said Wenger. “You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. Even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money (to replace him). You cannot lose the player and not replace him. “

Phil23
Phil23
8 years ago

your dreaming… no team in the world has 6 top quality Centre backs… Not even 5. The signings of Vertonghen and Hazard even after losing both Fabregas and Nasri will be enough to challenge for the title for me. Vertonghen to defensive midfield along with Hazard on the left. Our starting line up would be: Van Persie, Gervinho Wilshere Hazard, Vertonghen Song, Gibbs Vermaelen Koscielny Sagna, Szczesny. Fabregas’s contribution would be replaced by wing play. Wilshere would provide our first line of defence as well as beating men with his strong dribbling and passing. Vertonghen and Song would provide the… Read more »

Ideket
Ideket
8 years ago

Great. A team that won’t be lead by a moody, injury-prone, homesick chap. Others will be encouraged to step up like Nani post-Ronaldo.

WOLF
WOLF
8 years ago

We pretty much played without Nasri the entire time after January, so even though it would suck that he leaves I think that is more manageable. He’s already been replaced with Gervinho. As with Fabregas, that’s trickier, we have to get a top class replacement or replace with numbers. Overall, I think this season will be good to us. Van Persie WILL have an excellent season and I think if Vermaelen stays healthy our defence will be fine. The most important thing for this season will depend on Wilshere, Ramsey, and Song. Wilshere needs to continue last season’s form along… Read more »

khudka
khudka
8 years ago
mike
8 years ago

im sick of arsene selling all the best players we have season after season. we go on like there is no money. we keep buying these young lads to fill the likes of fabs boots, and it takes years look forward to nxt season cos if we dont win shit i can see the fans wanting arsene out. i respect what he has done for the club but not in the last nine years there must be plenty to spent because nothing has been spent for years we have made more moneys than anything. GOOD LUCK ON THE BENCH NASRI… Read more »

mike
8 years ago

@WOLF: GOOD COMMENT LIKE THIS

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[…] (and the man behind YoungGuns) Jamie Sanderson interviewed by Arsenal Report and Goonertalk doing their season preview. Which reminds me, if you haven’t already then be sure to check out my interview with Sam aka […]

Marty Price
8 years ago

Don’t disparage Nasri he is a good footballer, just not very smart. There are situations which nurture a player and other situation where they get eaten. City eats it’s own, just look at the amount of money that is not playing. Cesc has been a good player with great vision, albeit a lack of speed. Wilshire too is not real fast, but has game speed. I wish Cesc the best but in a word, he got punked. The team that wants him so much is making him pay to come back!?!? That is getting punked. Nasri is easily replaced, as… Read more »

ABDUL
8 years ago

Is it Arsene who is selling Fab and Nasri or it is the two who want to leave?It is abundantly clear they want out. All we need is to replace them.If the two were to stay yet Arsenal needed atleast 3 players to add on.Their stay will not get us the title.None has the power to stop attackers marauding through our midfield.We need a ‘rascal’ , a workaholic, a fearless guy who has the average skill to pass the ball and enough strength to take ball from opponents.That is player number one.This I believe barton can do with exellenc. We… Read more »

GunnerMacedonia
GunnerMacedonia
8 years ago

arsene wenger on mertesacker: “We currently have four central defenders, and thus we do not need any more,” WTF? what is wrong sith this man?

louis
louis
8 years ago

very nice piece mate. come on you gunners!!!

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