Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Arsenal

Ozil

Mesut Ozil finished top of last season’s assists chart with 19. Image: ESPN

Arsenal’s summer started promisingly, with the £34m acquisition of Granit Xhaka seemingly showing their intention to really push for the title this time around. But with only youngsters Rob Holding and Takuma Asano joining the club since then it could be another nearly year for the Gunners. With Danny Welbeck expected to be side-lined until the New Year, Arsenal will again be relying heavily on the goal-scoring prowess of Olivier Giroud. Per Mertesacker will also miss the first few months of the season, and with the Gunners hosting Liverpool, Southampton and Chelsea in the first six games, as well as facing a trip to champions Leicester, Arsene Wenger’s side could be out of contention very early this season. The Gunners’ lack of activity compared to their rivals could see them left behind in the race for the title.

Key Man: Mesut Ozil. The German maestro topped the Premier League assists table last season with 19, but only three of these came in 2016. Ozil created 146 goal-scoring chances last season, a Premier League record, and only needs the addition of a top striker to propel Arsenal up the table.

One to Watch: Chuba Akpom. The England Under-21 international has reportedly been told by Arsene Wenger that he will not be going out on loan this season. Although he only scored three league goals on loan at Hull last season, his talent was on show with a hat trick at Bury in the FA Cup. Akpom has netted in Arsenal’s last three friendlies and looks set to be involved in the opener against Liverpool.

Last Season: 2nd

Prediction: 4th

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