Premier League Preview 2022-23 No 1: Arsenal | Soccer

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Intended position of Guardian Writers 5th (NB: this is not necessarily Nick Ames’ prediction but the average of our editors’ predictions)

Ranking last season 5th

Odds of winning the league (via Oddschecker) 66-1

Outlook

Last season Arsenal promised so much before they fell in a stinging way. Fifth place was significant progress, but they should have retained a top-four spot: a lack of depth, and arguably genuine quality, in key positions was an obvious reason and Mikel Arteta spent his summer trying to correct it. His efforts were richly rewarded. While it’s undeniable that Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have been deemed expendable by Manchester City, spending around £75m on a pair of proven winners entering their peak years seems exceptional value in today’s market. Jesus flew in pre-season and is expected to add frankness to the long-missing centre-forward position.

William Saliba’s return from a bumper loan to Marseille has made less headlines but, assuming he stays after the transfer deadline, could still prove crucial given the clear gap between Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães and last season’s alternatives at centre-back. Portuguese schemer Fábio Vieira, signed from Porto, is also seen as a longer-term prospect but adds to Arteta’s creative options. There will likely be more arrivals: if a wide viable alternative to Bukayo Saka can be secured, perhaps in tandem with a departure of Nicolas Pépé, Arsenal will finally look well covered in almost every position.

That might be enough to push them over the line, although Chelsea and Spurs both make their own high profile additions the competition will be no less intense. The Emirates are often a place of extremes but the optimism seems justifiable this time around.

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