The Gunners are ready to take aim once again

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With the start of the 2010-2011 season upon us the whirlwind of anticipation gathers force. Regardless of what happens between now and then, who comes and goes in the transfer melee, my hope is that on August 14th at Anfield, we exhibit the harmony from which victory is borne. That is of the utmost importance.

It is essential we get nine points from the first three games against Liverpool, Blackpool and Blackburn, to start the campaign on the front foot and expel the demons of last season and to fortify the new revamped team with the belief they need.

We lifted the Emirates Cup on Sunday and after that winning start I’m not alone in wanting to see the men in red lift further silverware in the season ahead.

Both Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny showed they are talented and willing, both possessing the quick mind required at the Arsenal.

After witnessing that super cool finish from Marouane Chamakh, it hit me that the budding partnership between him and Robin van Persie is no doubt whetting every Arsenal fan’s whistle as it is mine. The 29 year old is a quick, confident striker with a sharp eye for goal and should thrive off of the passing, movement and options provided him by Robin van Persie.

Possibly, and hopefully, there are more new introductions to follow, god willing. With the crouching, ready-to-pounce figure of the transfer market lurking around the most pressing need for improvement is in defence.

We need more defensive cover as William Gallas, Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre have all departed, leaving three spots vacant in the rearguard. One of those is sure to be filled by Koscielny, but clearly there are lessons to be learnt from last years lack of strength in depth when our treatment room filled up like the tube at nine o’clock on a weekday morning and left us very exposed at the tail end of last season.

Top of the agenda for most of the Arsenal fans I know is a new goalkeeper. If Mark Hughes is unwilling to let Mark Schwarzer go, which I think is a distinct possibility as I’m not sure he will want to be in the market for a keeper as he takes control at Fulham, then Joe Hart is a popular choice from what I’m hearing.

Gianluigi Buffon is considered a slightly less attractive option with age and wages in mind. If a new keeper doesn’t arrive then I’d like to see Wojciech Szczesny given an opportunity to prove himself as the sentinel we need between the posts.

Personally I think we’re in need of another midfield enforcer to partner the impressive Alexandre Song in central midfield. Inter Milan won the Champions League with two men in defensive midfield and, as a team glaringly less prolific in attack than Arsenal, I think that if we just had a bit more cover when an attack brakes down so many of those panicky moments when we were caught on the break would be avoided.

As bad as it is to admit it there were times last season when that would happen that I would resign myself to the concession of a goal, I desperately want to say goodbye to that feeling this time around.

But if Song continues to improve as he has been then he could very well be the Patrick Viera of this decade, but he needs a partner to emulate Emmanuel Petit, it’s just too much work for one man.

The 4-1-4-1 formation of last season just isn’t protective enough when an attack breaks down and leaves too many players obsolete up the other end of the field.

I’d like to see a 4-2-3-1, with Cesc Fabregas at the back of the 3 behind the striker. I’ll abstain from rehashing the Cesc saga; let's just hope their pursuit of him is now over.

But most importantly what is required of our men this season is the type of gritty, determined, impassioned performances like that seen at Old Trafford in 2002, where we showed Manchester United exactly how we felt.

Despite Viera’s red card I think it was the right attitude; to stand up as a Gunner and fight for the pride of North London.

New to the Emirates stadium this year is the re-introduction of the Clock End and the North Bank and a clock inside the stadium. These changes, sweetly reminiscent of Highbury, come as a welcome surprise to me and I can’t wait to see them for myself.

Let’s hope by this time next year, after the season is over, our throats are raw from singing, trophies thrust aloft victorious, showing the world how good it is to be a Gooner.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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