Chelsea will win the league this season.

Of that there is little doubt, even if you only have some of your faculties in full working order. But that doesn’t mean Arsenal fans don’t have reason to be optimistic – another FA Cup semi-final and fighting to hold second place sees them as the second-best side in the country over the course of this campaign, despite playing half of it without half their first team squad.

In fact, had Arsenal enjoyed Chelsea’s ‘luck‘ with injuries this season, there is every chance that they could we be topping the table instead of that lot.

So ahead of the new season, Martin Keown sees plenty for Arsenal and the fans to be optimistic about.

“Chelsea will win it now but if you ask them next season they won’t fear anyone but they will be aware of Arsenal.

“They will want to challenge next season and they will want to start well next year.

“They need to strengthen in one or two positions but I’m not talking about wholesale changes which some others may have to make if they want to compete.

“It has to represent progress if you’re finishing two positions higher and still in the FA Cup,” said the ex-England international, who made 451 appearances for the club and won the Premier League three times.

“They look more convincing as a team than they did last year. The players look together.

“The squad is better equipped now, Gabriel is putting (Per) Mertesacker under huge pressure and (Francis) Coquelin is in midfield instead of (Mikel) Arteta and (Mathieu) Flamini who are maybe coming to the end of their careers.

“They have a whole array of players who can play off the front and (Olivier) Giroud and (Danny) Welbeck are vying for the centre forward position. The competition for places creates intensity.”

Arsenal will be hoping to continue their great record against Reading this Saturday at Wembley – they have never lost to the Royals.

Hopefully, as well as progressing to the final, we’ll be able to do it without the need for numerous heart vomits along the way.

7-5 anyone?