I'd imagine most Arsenal fans are thinking the same things at the moment. The season nears and there are still some rather big gaps in our squad, most of us are waiting to see what happens over the next few days particularly on the goalkeeper and centre back front. In some areas we are very well equipped, others not so, these are my brief thoughts for what they're worth.
The goalkeeping situation makes no sense to me. Almunia is our best keeper but has hardly featured in pre season, but when he has he has looked far far better than Fabianski. Fabianski is not good and a liability when between the sticks, if continental opposition can target him effectively as such a weak link, think what the likes of Bolton and Blackburn will do. Szczesny is a great talent and has shown a lot of promise thus far. Mannone looks decent. Overall I am just a bit perplexed at the management of our goalkeepers, we have no stand out no 1, our best keeper does not have backing and the error prone flapping one is being given too many chances.
We are very well equipped at full back with two quality players on both flanks. At centre back it is another matter, the fledgling partnership between Koscielny and Vermaelen needs time to develop, there are some concerns that this pairing may be a little too lightweight for the rigours of the Premier League. Perhaps if Johan Djourou can shake off his injuries and become a bit more aggressive then there is a chance he could form a partnership with TV. Either way with Bartley out on loan for the season, we badly need one more centre back for the squad, three centre backs is not enough for the long season ahead.
With all our players fit we are well off for midfielders. Song, Diaby, Denilson, Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey, Frimpong, Lansbury, Eboue is a decent collection of players. The main thing is getting the balance right between defence and attack, without Song we always tend to struggle to shield the defence adequately, hopefully Frimpong can add a bit of bite from time to time, while it will also help if our more attacking players can get stuck in as well. One thing I have noticed in pre season is that Nasri and Wilshere have been getting their feet in when needs be, this kind of application will be needed from everyone week in week out.
Up front we are nicely stocked, Chamakh looks a tidy player, RVP is fit for the time being, Bendtner's injury woes continue and he is out for at least another month or so. There is a real chance for the likes of Walcott and Vela to make a claim for a few more starts, Theo needs to refine his game and become more efficient in retaining the football, it is make or break time for Vela.
Overall it's potentially a rather open title race this year, although I don't think it's quite as open as Arsene suggests. Man City have spent massively and have assembled a large squad, they may push on. Chelsea and Manu don't look any stronger but they don't look any weaker either. If Arsene can make the right additions to the squad in the next few days then I think we could have a good chance of being in the mix this year, but that's a big if isn't it? Anfield on Sunday is a great chance to see if we have what it takes.