COLOGNE, GERMANY - AUGUST 12: Lukas Podolski of Arsenal celebrates with the fans of Cologne after Pre-Season Friendly game between FC Cologne and FC Arsenal at Rhein Energie Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Despite all the transfer kerfuffle that's been happening over the past couple of days, there is something to be excited about. Arsenal kick off the new season on Saturday against Sunderland, and with that in mind, the four writers (myself, Ted Harwood, Thomas Wachtel and pdb) of the blog decided to do a season preview roundtable.
We have the roundtable below. There's also the podcast, and while that, unfortunately, has mention of Robin vol de Mort, I can promise you this doesn't.
Where Will Arsenal Finish In the league?
Ted: I think Arsenal will finish 4th this year. We've gotten better, but I think not quite enough to close the gap all the way, and Chelsea frighten me again.
Aidan: As of right now, we're still better than Tottenham, who don't have a striker, and Liverpool. I'm not totally sold on Chelsea; they're relying a lot on a striker who's been out of form for almost two years, so I'm going to go with third. And I think we'll put up a stronger title challenge this year; maybe 8 points off the top at the end?
How Will Arsenal Perform In the Champions League?
Ted: I think we can go very far in the CL--I'm saying semifinals.
Paul: Finals. Not going to predict if they'll win but I think they'll get there.
Thomas: Semifinals. Especially if we continue to add players, I think we're deep enough and have the talent to compete very well in the Champions League.
Aidan: Quarters. Because every freakin' year we seem to draw, or be on a path to draw Barcelona. And no matter what improvements we've made this off-season, they're still better than us.
How Will Arsenal Perform In The
League Capital One and FA Cup?
Ted: I think we'll reach semis in both cups, and I really think we'll win one of them this year.
Paul: Win League Cup, reach final of and possibly win FA Cup.
Thomas: FA Cup: Finalist. Same as in the CL, I think depth will be huge here. League Cup: Depends on what we do here. If we play all kids, maybe the quarterfinals. If we mix in our good depth players, I think we could win it.
Aidan: I think the crop of kids we have right now--Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Eisfeld, Aneke--is better than what we've had in a while. Throw in a rehabilitating Jack Wilshere (maybe), and I could see Arsenal's kids getting us to the Capital One Cup. I think we'll win the FA Cup. For once, we'll get a really easy draw (like Chelsea seem to get, every single time), and then we'll beat the good teams in the semi and final.
Who will be Arsenal's player of the year?
Ted: I think it's going to be Arteta--you could make the case that he was last year, and now he's surrounded by more talent.
Aidan: I have a thing for Spanish playmakers, so I'm gonna go with Santi Cazorla. Double digit assists, a good total of goals, and lots and lots of joyful play.
Which New Signing Are You Most Excited About?
Ted: Cazorla, although I basically love Giroud too.
Thomas: I'm most excited about Santi Cazorla. We didn't have a player like him last year after Cesc Fabregas left, and in our system we need someone who can pass like him. I think he's going to be huge.
Aidan: SANTI SANTI SANTI SANTI SANTI
Who's the top Four?
Ted: Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal
Paul: Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal
Thomas: Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea
Aidan: Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea
And your relegated three?
Ted: It's so hard to say; today? QPR, Norwich, Reading
Paul: I'm really bad at predictions and nobody will believe me when I say Spurs; I really don't pay enough attention to the other 19 teams in the league, so I'll steal Ted's answer and say QPR, Norwich, Reading.
Thomas: West Ham, QPR, West Brom? This is almost purely guesswork, I find relegation very hard to predict.
Aidan: Erm. Hmm. Unlike last year, there aren't three laughably bad teams. I'm gonna go QPR, Southampton and West Ham.