Arsenal have impressed with their summer spending to date, and it may not be over just yet, with three weeks of the transfer window remaining and Arsene Wenger tipped to bring in even more reinforcements ahead of what could be a hugely succesful campaign.
Here we predicted the 11 Arsenal players who could start their first Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
The arrival of fellow goalkeeper David Ospina means Wojciech Szczesny will have to maintain his recent high standards if he does not want a spell on the bench.
While the Colombian international shone at the World Cup, I expect the Polish player to begin the season as Wenger’s number one.
The French defender has a couple of rivals for a starting spot in the form of Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin. However, Mathieu Debuchy is off the back of an impressive summer in Brazil and he will be the regular Arsenal right-back when fit and on form.
He may have been the least high-profile of the Gunners’ summer signings, but former Southampton defender Calum Chambers could ultimately prove to be the best of them. The teenager shone at centre-back during the Emirates Cup and I expect him to start ahead of Per Mertesacker against Palace.
How long he stays there is up to both him and Wenger.
The French defender has a slight knock but should recover in time to take his place in central defence. While he and Mertesacker became the unrivalled centre-back pairing last season, the arrival of Chambers has shaken things up a bit.
Gibbs has competition of his own down the opposite flank but he should start against Tony Pulis’s side. If he stays fit all season, he could become one of Arsenal’s most important players and he should start as he means to go on when the real competition kicks off this weekend.
Arsenal’s midfield is beginning to look very impressive indeed, but Mikel Arteta should start ahead of Mathieu Flamini. If he remains there for the long haul will depend on who, if anyone, Wenger signs between now and the start of September.
The Welsh midfielder will be hoping to make up for his injury-hit season that started so well but ended so disappointingly. Aaron Ramsey has already shown during pre-season that he has not lost his scoring touch and he could be the Gunners’ most important player.
Rumours earlier this summer suggested Santi Cazorla could be on his way out of the Emirates. But he remains a vital player for Wenger and should start against Palace on Saturday.
He needs to be more consistent this season to ensure he keeps his place in the side amid strong competition for places. But that very fact should bring the best out of him.
After injury robbed him of the chance to make an impact at the World Cup, Arsenal could benefit from a resurgent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season.
He could well take a similar path as Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and really kick on this campaign. The presence of new signing Alexis Sanchez could be the catalyst for the young winger to go from exciting prospect to vital component.
Much is expected of the former Barcelona player, but Arsenal fans would be wise to temper their expectations somewhat. After a demanding World Cup campaign and needing to get used to a new league, Alexis may not be the immediate catalyst some are predicting.
But in time, he could well become Arsenal’s superstar.
Olivier Giroud may have been criticised last season but he remains a potent goal-threat, and with Ramsey back in the squad there is no reason he cannot fire on all cylinders once more. Alexis will also help him, both in terms of taking the goal-scoring weight off his shoulders and creating more chances for the Frenchman.