Football Season Guide



Declan Rice (mid) West Ham, Kai Havertz (mid) Chelsea; Jurrien Timber (def) Ajax; Folarin Balogun (att) Stade Reims – end of loan; Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson (gk) Alanyaspor – end of loan


Granit Xhaka (r) (mid) Bayer Leverkusen; Pablo Marí (def) Monza; Ainsley Maitland-Niles (mid) released; Auston Trusty (def) Sheffield United

Arsenal were considered legitimate title contenders last season after picking up 50 points from their first 19 games. Yet, they paid for their lack of squad depth and injuries to in-form defenders and collapsed at the end. Even though they didn’t manage to win their first title in two decades, Arsenal finished second for the first time in the post-Arsene Wenger era and this speaks volumes about Mikel Arteta’s work at the Gunners. Starting midfielder Granit Xhaka parted ways with the club, but Arsenal strengthened their midfield with the acquisition of Declan Rice for a club-record fee of £105m. They also signed Chelsea’s attacking midfielder Kai Havertz and beefed up their defence with the signing of versatile defender Jurrien Timber, who can feature at centre-back and right-back. Arteta has kept the team’s spine intact and added depth to both their midfield and defence. Despite boasting one of the youngest and most talented squads in the Premier League, Arsenal have gained title-race experience. This will be extremely useful ahead of next season, when they will also compete in the Champions League. The Gunners have one of the strongest midfields in the Premier League, as Arteta’s options include Rice, Martin Odegaard, Havertz, Jorginho and Thomas Partey, all of whom could potentially be undisputed starters in 2023/24. They did add depth to their squad, but Arsenal lack a backup to rest Bukayo Saka. The England international was sublime last season but suffered due to fatigue in several games towards the end of the season.


Arsenal will push for the title again next season. Consistency will be the key in an extremely tough title race against a strong Manchester City.