With Arsenal’s transfer incomings complete for the new season, let’s have a look at how the squad is shaping up.
Bernd Leno looks set to remain Arsenal’s number one for the new season, though Emi Martinez is going to push him all the way. The 26-year-old has returned from an impressive loan spell with Reading ready to finally try and earn a starting spot.
Matt Macey has remained with the club and looks to be taking the third goalkeeper spot. 17-year-old Arthur Okonkwo will compete with him for it when he’s back fit, and 18-year-old James Hillson has also done well since joining from Reading.
Arsenal’s options in this position are limited. Hector Bellerin will be the clear first choice when he’s fit, but with Carl Jenkinson, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Jordi Osei-Tutu all leaving, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the only real alternative.
Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi may well have to fill in at times in the opening months of the season.
After Laurent Koscielny’s departure, Arsenal decided to bring David Luiz in on a two-year deal. The Brazilian will compete with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi for starts at first, with Rob Holding back in full training and closing in on a return as well.
Konstantinos Mavropanos continues to have groin problems that just won’t go away, and it’ll be at least another couple of months before he’s available again.
Given his experience and ability in possession, it’s likely Luiz will be a regular starter this season, with Sokratis partnering him.
Arsenal bolstered their left-back options with the addition of Kieran Tierney this summer, but the 22-year-old is yet to return from injury at this stage.
Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal will continue to hold down the spot in the meantime. Monreal was the more impressive of the two in pre-season, particularly in a back four. Hopefully, Kolasinac will be spurred on by the new competition.
Dominic Thompson played a part in pre-season, but that earned him a move to Brentford FC.
Despite losing Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer, Arsenal go into the new season with a number of options in midfield.
Dani Ceballos has joined on loan from Real Madrid, whilst Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny all remain at the club. Technically, David Luiz is also an option, though he’s unlikely to spend much time in midfield.
In addition, Joe Willock was arguably Arsenal’s best performer in pre-season, so the academy youngster will be pushing for starts as well.
Mesut Özil appears to have worked his way back into Unai Emery’s good books, though he may have to compete with Dani Ceballos for starts in attacking midfield, depending on how Emery plans to use the Spaniard.
Joe Willock also spent some time in more advanced roles in pre-season, and Emile Smith Rowe will fight for opportunities as soon as he’s back from injury in a couple of weeks.
Arsenal made the club-record addition of Nicolas Pepe from Lille this summer. Once he’s up to speed after his extended holiday (due to AFCON participation), he should nail down the right-wing spot.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains as an alternative option on the right, but Alex Iwobi’s departure opens things up on the left.
Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and new signing Gabriel Martinelli will all be pushing for games from the younger age groups, whilst Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan could also be regular starters on that side.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be hoping to build on an impressive 2018/19 campaign this season. Lacazette missed the final games of pre-season with an injury, but when fit he’ll likely start centrally with Aubameyang out wide.
There are alternative options though, as Lacazette showed in pre-season by playing a deeper role behind Aubameyang at times.
With Eddie Nketiah going on loan and Danny Welbeck’s departure to Watford, Tyreece John-Jules and Folarin Balogun will be waiting in the wings to snap up any opportunities they can get their hands on.