Gooner Talk: A fans guide to the 2012/13 EPL Season

My realistic take on Arsenals chances and expectations for the coming season.

Arsenal’s Business in the Transfer Window so far?

Well obviously I cant begin to answer this question without addressing the RVP transfer saga. Another summer; another captain wants out of the club he ‘loves so dearly’ and ‘owes so much to’.

What I will say is that Arsenal seem to be handling the situation a lot better than they have done in the past (perhaps were getting used to it). We have stood firm, thus far, on a £20M price tag and have stated that if it is not met, RVP will see out his contract at the club. GOOD.

Many people were quick to forget the fact that we had already signed TWO players before the window had even opened, thanks to RVP’s ‘bombshell’, but I for one remain optimistic.

In Podolski we have signed an experienced striker who has played at the highest level of football for a mere £10M. I have high hopes for him as we’ve seen players like Van Der Vaart light up the Premier League as if they still have something to prove.

And in Olivier Giroud, we have signed potential. The joint top scorer for Champions Montpellier last season; this boy knows where the goal is and has already had a taste of success.

Overall, Arsenal fans should look at it like this; ONE striker with very little experience of winning medals as well as a horrific injury record OUT. TWO strikers, one with a World Cup Winners medal, the other hungry for more titles IN.

As Arsenal fans, we should note that it hasn’t been ALL bad news as both Laurent Koscielney and Thomas Vermaelen have signed new contracts with the club. The pair are always improving and look like becoming a formiddable centre back duo. They will be crucial to an Arsenal defence that needs much organisation and consistency.

Perhaps the best news we’ve had all summer however, is that Wenger has stated that we can expect MORE signings before the window shuts. We have been linked strongly with players such as Yann M’villa, Loic Remy and more recently Real Madrid’s Nuri Sahin. If we do manage to secure at least one of these targets (amongst others) and shed some of the dead weight left in the squad (Djourou, Bendtner, Chamakh) then the window will have been a success.

Best Buy of the Summer so far?

It’s perhaps a little premature, as Man City are yet to flex their financial muscles this summer, but there have already been a few that look promising. The signing of Eden Hazard for Chelsea, given his impressive record, young age and large transfer fee, has to be up there.

Also, Shinji Kagawa’s explosive pre season performances since making the move to Old Trafford, have led me to believe he will make a big impact on the league this season.

One move that has been overlooked however, is Emmanuel Adebayor, who has made his loan move to Tottenham, a permanent one. He was vital to the team last year in terms of both goals and creating chances for his teammates and when he is happy both on and off the field (as he finally appears to be) he is dangerous.

Who will be Arsenal’s breakthrough Star of the season?

Although we have already seen a lot more of him than perhaps Arsene Wenger would have wanted, I believe Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will continue to impress. He has all the attributes to be a star and will have gained vital experience at the club last year and with the national team in Poland and Ukraine.

Arsenal’s Key Man?

Should he ever be fit again, I think a lot of Arsenal fans would say Jack Wilshere. We’ve already seen how talented this boy is and await his return with baited breathe.

However, as I fear he will not be ready for the start of the season I’m going to go with Mikel Arteta. Despite many fans being distinctly unimpressed when he was signed from Everton ‘at the last minute’ last summer, Arteta was undoubtedly one of our standout performers of the season. He was impressive on and off the ball and was missed sorely when injured in April. He has helped to improve the spirit in the dressing room and commands the midfield very well. Having now had a full season to settle in, I’m excited to see him reach his full potential at the Emirates.

Where do I hope Arsenal finish?

Not quite sure how to answer this. I HOPE Arsenal finish top of the league, or at least ahead of Tottenham, City and Chelsea!

In terms of where i THINK we might finish; I have no doubts that Wenger will find a way to secure Champions League football for the following season, so certainly in the top four. I will admit that Chelsea seem desperate to improve on their domestic form both United and City will challenge for the title, but I still see Arsenal finishing above both Tottenham and Liverpool.

Who will win the Premier League?

Well it would take a brave man to bet against City retaining their crown but, as long as United have Sir Alex Ferguson they will always be in with a chance. They say the true sign of a champion is how they respond in defeat, so I am excited to see how Fergie’s men will bounce back. The onus is undoubtedly on the red half of Manchester this season.

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