By Arsenal Analysis season ticket holder at the Emirates, South Stand: Row 5
The two pre-season tournaments that Arsenal participated in proved the perfect vehicle for fostering team spirit and bonding between the players. And this involved playing time for all the active members of the squad.
The excellent work done on and off the pitch at the Emirates and in Amsterdam culminated in that performance against Ajax.
Arsenal proved to everyone watching, but more importantly to themselves, that they can cut it against tough tackling and intimidating teams.
I was impressed by the way the players fought against a team that had pretty clear instructions to kick them off the park in order to unsettle their rhythm.
Throughout pre-season Arsenal played as a team and look ready to hit the ground running, more so than the other contenders.
Their pre-season was mainly centred in different geographical zones with strange and hard surfaces. The result is that players are fatigued with injuries creeping in.
Also they played against relatively weaker opposition whereas Arsenal had to face tougher opponents from Europe. When compared to Arsenal they do not seem to be as battle ready.
In addition Arsenal made some important "discoveries"
Has achieved consistency and maturity in his play. He is extremely important as he will be providing the width from the left, releasing the likes of Rosicky to play more of a free role. Potentially player of the season.
Have you ever seen anyone get the ball off him? Amazing balance, extremely quick feet and a passing range rivalled only by the very best. He is only 19 but showed that he can be trusted in any kind of game.
The Sagna & Eboue combination:
These two have gelled well together very quickly and they compliment each other very well. Eboue is far more dangerous going forward and Sagna has the pace and power to cover any empty space left behind.
Defensively Arsenal are now more stable and against Ajax the back four showed for the first time they can form a formidable unit.
He has bags of talent and tremendous self-belief. Did you see the boy claim the penalty against PSG; nobody challenged him.
He scored a couple of un Arsenal like goals and will provide a different option up-front. Wenger will have his hands full to keep him happy.
No words needed; the guy is awesome, a powerhouse, he is going to help our counter attacking style by winning the ball and setting up attacks with his powerful running and robust frame
Not sure about Dudu yet simply because I haven’t seen enough of him. I have a feeling he is going to score a few for us this year. He is a good finisher and moves very well without the ball, Cesk and him will link up very well
Hleb showed during the last few weeks how dangerous he can be when deployed centrally. I fully expect to see him playing there this season.
For all the positives however some of the old problems persist. If a serious challenge is to be mounted then the silly defensive errors, especially from crosses have yo be eliminated.
On the other hand we haven’t seen anything new from the other top three.
They haven’t assimilated their new players in, to the extent that Arsenal have done; they haven’t introduced any new youngsters with any success and to me they looked as though they have not reached the same level of fitness as Arsenal’s.
This was pretty evident during the Charity Shield where both teams looked out of sorts and disjointed; still going through their paces.
United have still to bring in Hargreaves, Scholes, Neville, Saha and Tevez. All have to get fit and taught how to play together. But time is running out. I am not mentioning Anderson and Nani as I think until at least December they will be restricted to cameo appearances.
Chelsea have still to get Drogba, Terry, Ballack, Shevchenko and new signings Pizzaro and Alex fit. They still have to assimilate Malouda in his new surroundings and they still have to buy a new right back let alone get him battle ready!
Liverpool, well what can you say! So many new players in and such a short time to assimilate all of them in the team. The players need to play consecutive games together in order to learn each other’s way of playing and find the time to gel.
Benitez is good tactically but, like Houllier, I think he will end up wasting a lot of money with little to show for it.
I hope that this is not me being over optimistic, but I think we will surprise a lot of people this year.
I think that the team will gel defensively and because of our pace teams will find it difficult to get in behind us. And defensive efficiency will give confidence to the attacking players to perform more freely.
I am not saying we will win the league, I am not saying we will not. It’s too early. As usual the team with the least amount of injuries will be the most consistent team. And we all know that the most consistent team wins the League.
But for now just bring on Fulham, I have a feeling we will score a bagful on Sunday.
Who will win the title? Arsenal against the odds?
Salzburg v Arsenal 1-0. Diaby is the new Vieira and even better
Bendtner makes a case for starting against Fulham.
Ed: You can leave a comment on what you think and also vote on the poll we have set up "who will win the title?"