Arsenal's potential starting XI for the 2016/17 season

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Arsene Wenger came under the most scrutiny he has ever had to suffer during his 20-year stint as Arsenal manager last season.

Many felt that they missed a trick by not capitalising on their main rivals' deficiencies and inconsistency and should have really romped home with the title.

But yet again, the Gunners collapsed after Christmas and allowed Claudio Ranieri's Leicester side to stun the world with their incredible Premier League triumph.

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Most of the Arsenal faithful's anger was directed towards Wenger's decision to make only one major signing 12 months ago, Petr Cech . Although the ex-Chelsea keeper proved to be an astute purchase, the lack of any new outfield players really hurt them as the season progressed.

The Arsenal boss has already gone some way to rectifying that error by capturing Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka and there are expected to be a few others on the way. Here's how they could line up once the season gets underway.

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Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Cech turned out to be one of Wenger's shrewdest signings in the last decade. Goalkeeper had been a position of weakness ever since Jens Lehmann's departure but now Arsenal's defence know they have a reliable shot-stopper between the sticks to keep the goals out.

Right-back: Hector Bellerin

The Spanish defender has firmly cemented himself as one of the best full-backs in the league following another consistent campaign under his belt.

The 21-year-old has been linked with a move to Barcelona following Dani Alves' transfer to Juventus but it is imperative for Arsenal to have any success this season that they keep hold of him.

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

Centre-backs: Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen/Per Mertesacker

Koscielny has been Arsenal's best defender for a few years now and there's no doubt Wenger will be relying on him once again. Whenever the Frenchman is absent the Gunners look very vulnerable at the back.

If feels like this is said every year but here we go again: Mertesacker isn't getting younger or quicker. He can still be a useful player to have around the squad but realistically there aren't too many other top Premier League teams he would start for.

Vermaelen is out of favour at Barcelona and has been linked with a return to the Emirates, with Gabriel still unconvincing in the English game the Belgian would give Wenger plenty of competition at the back.

Left-back: Nacho Monreal

While Kieran Gibbs' career continues to flop, Monreal's is flourishing and he asserted himself Wenger's first choice with a series of consistent performances last year.

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

Centre-midfield: Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka

Ramsey's form at Euro 2016 reminded Wenger exactly how good he can be at the top of his game. The Arsenal boss has plenty of options in this area so can easily rotate with Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Mohamed Elneny.

Xhaka also caught the eye in France and fans will be excited to see him add a bit more steel to the midfield.

Right midfield: Riyad Mahrez

The best player in the Premier League last season wants out of Leicester and Arsene Wenger loves creative players. He isn't afraid to roll his sleeves up and make the difference for his team when matches are tight and is exactly what Arsenal need to reach the next level.


Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil

Ozil was Arsenal's main creative force during the previous campaign but - much like the team's overall performance - his form did dip towards the end of last season. If the other stars in the Gunners' front four can share the burden they will be a difficult side to defend against.

Left-midfield: Alexis Sanchez

If Sanchez can stay fit for an entire Premier League season, Arsenal have a great chance of winning the league. Too many injuries at key points of the season have seriously affected their claims to the title in the past.

Striker: Gonzalo Higuain

This will be the key signing Arsenal make this summer, another season of Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott up front and they can kiss their title hopes goodbye. They need a striker who can guarantee them 25 goals every year, Higuain is that man and the latest reports suggest the move might not be too far away.

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Alexis Sanchez
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Petr Cech

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