Premier League 2022-23 Preview #1: Arsenal | football

Expected position of the Guardian book V (note: this isn’t necessarily Nick Ames’ prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position Fifth

League winning odds (via Oddschecker) 66-1

horizons

Last season, Arsenal promised a lot before falling back in a painful way. Fifth place was a huge advance but they should have held onto the top four: the lack of depth and real quality in the main positions was an obvious reason, and Mikel Arteta spent the summer trying to correct it. His efforts have been greatly rewarded. While it is undeniable that Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko were once considered consumers by Manchester City, spending around £75m for a pair of proven winners entering their peak years seems exceptional value in the current market. Jesus has been flying in pre-season and should add direct direction to a striker position that has long been lacking.

William Saliba’s return from exceptional loan at Marseille has grabbed few headlines but, assuming he continues past the transfer deadline, could prove crucial given the gap between Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes and last season’s substitutes in central defence. The Portuguese scheme, Fábio Vieira, sited from Porto, is similarly seen as a long-term prospect but adds to Arteta’s creative choices. More arrivals likely: If a full-scale replacement for Bukayo Saka can be secured, perhaps combined with a Nicolas Pepe transfer, Arsenal would finally look well-covered in nearly every position.

That might be enough to push them over the streak, and although both Chelsea and Tottenham have made high-profile additions, the competition will be no less intense. The UAE is often a place of extremism but this time the optimism seems justified.