Arsenal - Top 4 Looks A Cert, But Wenger Needs To Win A Trophy

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It will be another top four place for Arsenal in 2012-13, according to our predictions.

Where will your side finish in 2012-13? With the season just one week away, our pundits have put our heads together to give you a comprehensive set of predictions.

Opinions and analysis on all 20 Premier League clubs are given here by 12 of our writers and pundits here at HITC Sport. On the basis of the predictions from our 'daring dozen' we have calculated how the table will look come next May.

How does it work? All the predictions are totalled together, the team with the lowest score will finish 1st, and the highest will finish 20th. Here are the predictions for your club.

Verdict: Arsenal will finish in: 4th

Highest prediction: 2nd , Lowest prediction: 7th.

Dan Coombs: 3rdArsenal have had an excellent summer in the transfer market, signing three established stars, and a top four finish looks certain. Fans will expect a title challenge, and Arsenal will likely still be in the mix up until late in the season. They finished 19 points behind first place last season, and that is a big jump to make up, even if Robin van Persie does stay. There are concerns over strength in depth of their defence, and one more signing in the area may be required.

Vic Daniels: 3rd; Third again. Another trophyless year, yet Arsenal fans will still insist Wenger is the man to turn it around.

Mathew Nash: 4thStar Player – Mikel Arteta, Top Scorer – Lukas Podolski. Should push Chelsea all the way for 3rd spot but I feel mistakes against smaller clubs will ultimately cost them in that race. New boy's Santi and Podolski should make an impact and Mikel Arteta whose consistency and solidity will guide Arsenal through rough times, whilst Laurent Koscielny will have another outstanding season. The biggest challenge will be holding on to RVP and Alex Song before the start of the season, whilst getting Wilshere, Diaby and Rosicky fit is also key to success.

Tomo Taka: 4th; Arsenal have spent well this summer buying Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski but the seemingly inevitable exit of Robin Van Persie will impact their goal scoring. Replacing the 30 goals and 14 assists of last season, even amongst the three new signings, will not be easy. Even so, Arsenal were only a point away from missing out on the Champions League last season but have improved their squad enough to maintain that spot. They will complete the last four some way ahead of 5th and 6th place. Best player will be Cazorla. Cazorla was voted one of La Liga’s best players in 2007 during his time at Recreativo de Huelva and was part of Spain’s Euro winning squad. Despite a diminutive frame, the player fits Arsenal’s style perfectly and should flourish under Wenger. Biggest concern will be how they replace Van Persie, should he go. Podolski struggled at Munich managing only 26 goals in 106 games but prospered at a weaker FC Cologne. How he does at Arsenal will show if his form at Munich is symptomatic of a failure to perform under elevated expectation. And Giroud managed 21 goals in Ligue 1 last year as club Montpellier won the title but the year previous he only netted 12. Can he replicate the form of last season or will he struggle to adapt to English football?

Jake Lane: 3rdFor the last few seasons, they have been everyone’s favourites to job out of the top four but with or without van Persie, Arsenal will surprise all of their doubters once again. Last season, Arsenal managed to finish third after a terrible start and late additions to their squad who inevitably needed time to settle – this year, Wenger has strengthened early with the signings of Podolski, Giroud and Santi Carzola so providing these acquisitions settle and the Gunners get off to a good start, who knows what they can achieve?

Nigel Owen: 4thWho would have thought Arsenal would be the second highest spenders this summer? And, for once, they are paying up for proven players, rather than for developing players. Another interesting point is that Arsene Wenger has bought a 6ft4 and 6ft centre forward pairing and a tricky winger who can play on either flank. Will this be the move away from the overly intricate Arsenal of recent times, who were irresistible to watch at times, but too often ineffective at actually winning football matches. If they can get Jack Wilshere back to anything like his potential before too much of the season has gone, the Gunners could once again be making a credible challenge for the title. I don't expect them to reel in City, but they could run Chelsea close for second... and, just as importantly, end up above United again. If Jack Wilshere was fit he'd be the key man, but as his return date is still yet to be fixed, the new strike force will need to be fed by fellow new boy Santi Cazorla. If he settles and provides the ammunition for Podolski and Giroud, expect Arsene Wenger to see much more of what goes on in matches.

Surya Solanki: 4thGreat transfer activities but yet again, they look like an inconsistent unit. Yes, they have made some great signings so far, but it is hard to see them getting into the top-three as the defence still looks vulnerable and further weaken if defensive midfielder Alex Song heads to Barcelona.

Paul Moore: 4thArsene Wenger needs to win a trophy it's as simple as that. Keeping RVP will be the best thing the Gunners can do. They have a good young side that with self belief can go a long way. It could be Arsene's last season and he'll want to finish on a high.

John Aggrey: 2nd; Arsenal will end up second because; Wenger has had a good transfer season, brought in quality in the names of Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski. Hoping they add a few more, they should be able to fight for the title but should fall short to the quality Manchester City boasts of. Another problem should be the ever fringe Arsenal defense that might fall short when called upon in big matches or against good attacking play. Their star man should be Robin Van Persie depending on if Wenger will keep him. Assuming he leaves then Giroud and Podolski need to come to the party. Biggest Challenge will be keeping their players especially their defense fit as this has been the main problem Arsenal has had to deal with over the years.

Naveenan Thanendra: 3rdAnother season, another member of the squad wants to leave and this time it is captain Robin van Persie. However, unlike last season, Wenger has made some moves early in order to address the possible loss of his talisman. What is particularly impressive is that Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla are all in the prime of their career and should strengthen Arsenal in the final third of the pitch. The signing of Cazorla for the fee Arsenal paid is possibly the signing of the summer and he will be central to any success Arsenal achieves over the next 12 months. However, their failure to address the strength in depth in defence will once again hinder them from contending for the title and they will continue to fail to do so until this is done.

Keval Shah: 4thI have learnt over the years with Arsenal not to think in an optimistic manner, hence the fourth place prediction. The signing of Santi Cazorla is a great coup for the club and hopefully he can fill the void left by Fabregas, whose presence for Arsenal was so desperately craved last season. Olivier Giroud will look to spearhead a new look Arsenal attack, however I remain to be convinced he will be able to fill the goal scoring shoes of RVP. Without adequate defensive cover I fail to see Arsenal gaining a spot in the top three, however I still believe the squad has enough quality to finish above Spurs and at the same time break that infamous cup hoodoo.

Khiam Barry: 7th; This prediction may cause a few raised eyebrows but yet again Wenger seems intent on not signing established Premier League players to compliment the talent he already has in the team. If Podolski recaptures his best form then he’ll be a good addition, but will he be RVP’s partner or replacement? If RVP goes then it could be the end of Wenger’s reign at Arsenal. This season is also a big season for Walcott, the boy needs to become a man, and start performing consistently.

Connor Jipps: 3rd; It’s clear to see that the Gunners have been rocked by the Robin Van Persie saga this summer and any team is going to struggle with replacing their best player. However what has impressed me about Arsenal is their proactive response to the news. Last summer the news that Cesc and Nasri wanted out obliterated the spirit within the Arsenal side, and an awful start to the season had Arsenal languishing in the bottom half of the table at the end of September. The club left it late in the transfer window to purchase players, with an element of panic buying evident, although ultimately many came good in the latter half of the season. This pre-season has been a completely different kettle of fish with the club moving early to secure the signature of German International Lukas Podolski. The signings of Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla have followed, both players highly rated across Europe, choosing to ply their trade for Arsenal next season over other European giants. Robin Van Persie’s departure will undoubtedly be a huge loss to the North London side having provided the bulk of the Gunner’s goals, but Arsenal may just surprise a few people if the new signings can adapt to the league quickly. Pre-season has been a mixed bag but Thomas Eisfield’s performances have indicated that he is definitely a young talent to look out for.

Full predicted table:(1) Manchester City, (2) Manchester United, (3) Chelsea, (4) Arsenal, (5) Tottenham, (6) Liverpool, (7) Newcastle, (8) Everton, (9) Fulham, (10) Sunderland, (11) Aston Villa, (12) Stoke, (13) QPR, (14) Swansea, (15) West Ham, (16) West Brom, (17) Norwich, (18) Reading, (19) Wigan, (20) Southampton.

Where do you believe Arsenal will finish next season?

image: © wonker

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