Football

An important season awaits Wenger.

Martin Keown predicts where Arsenal will finish in the Premier League

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Twelve years on from their last Premier League title triumph and hope is slowly fading that Arsenal will ever end their frustrating wait.

The Gunners' best chance of reclaiming England's crown came last season yet they slumped to a disappointing second-placed finish, 10 points behind minnows Leicester City.

Wholesale change was then expected in the transfer window and whilst Arsenal got off to the perfect start - Granit Xhaka signed for £30 million in May - it's been a difficult few months ever since.

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A lack of transfer activity threatens to come back and bite Arsene Wenger's side, especially so with their rivals busy spending in excess of £100 million on new recruits.

Indeed, Manchester United (£156m) and Manchester City (£146m) have spent almost five times the amount Arsenal have.

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So bleak are the Gunners' chances of winning the Premier League that, according to Martin Keown, a top four finish is perhaps the best they can hope for.

Writing for the Daily Mail, he said: "If they add a couple of players they should have a good season. I don't think they can compete with City’s cash, but a place in the top four is achievable."

By using the word "achieveable", Keown doesn't sound awfully confident of his former side securing Champions League football.

And you can hardly blame him for feeling that way. The 50-year-old also believes there's reason for Arsenal to be fearful ahead of the new campaign.

Arsenal v CD Guadalajara

"In finishing second [last season] they will feel like they were only one step away from the title," Keown added. "But in reality they were 10 points behind Leicester and there are plenty of question marks.

"Chief of which is who is going to play up front. Olivier Giroud came out of the Euros with a lot of credit, but to recreate fear among Premier League defenders they need pace in that central area."

The solution to Arsenal's search for a striker is undoubtedly Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette but, with every passing day, it looks less and less likely that they'll sign him.

Riyad Mahrez has also been heavily linked with a move to north London but the issue remains that he isn't the 25-goal striker needed, even if he did score 17 times in the Premier League last season.

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

Ultimately, Keown believes it's Wenger that has a point to prove in the 2016/17 term - not his players.

"The calibre of manager in the league this season is very high, and Arsene needs to prove he’s still among the best.

"And if he can’t compete with the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in the transfer market, he has to be better than them on the training pitch.

"Under the surface, I think there’s a desire to crack on and win another Premier League title. Last season was the closest he’s come since 2005, and you don’t get that close and then give up."

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott
Arsenal

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