BT Sport Score - Episode 36May 23
Arsenal Fan’s Premier League Season Preview
After a bitterly disappointing 2020/21 campaign, The Gunners will be hoping for better fortunes this term as Mikel Arteta looks to guide them back into Europe.
Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.
I’m looking for progression from Arsenal, a coherent team that plays a certain way.
The contract extension for Emile Smith Rowe is a big boost, there’s a lot of expectation on him.
We are going to have a big love heart with [Bukayo] Saka when he returns – no one blames him for anything to with England – it’s a big season for him and we think he can kick on too.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was disappointing last season but I think he’s going to come back fit and firing.
Kieran Tierney, too, if he can stay away from niggly injuries he can have a big season. He’s a big, big character for Arsenal. I feel [Thomas] Partey was underwhelming but hopefully he can kick on after being settled and have a really good season.
There is a lot of positivity among the fan base. We are looking forward to being positive ahead of the new season. Mikel Arteta has been given a lot of time after winning the FA Cup in 2020 and last season was a learning curve – a top four finish would be amazing.
I want to see a solid backline that plays out from the back, a midfield that creates but remains solid, wing-backs that commit forward and a frontline that contributes goals. We want more excitement, more attacking intent and more goals.
My biggest fear would be a lack of progression. If the backline can’t defend properly it will put us under pressure against anyone. That feeds into a midfield, who are more hesitant going forward, and if they aren’t patrolling the centre of the pitch as well as they could do, then we will leak more goals.
Watch Man City v Arsenal on BT Sport
Mikel Arteta takes on former mentor Pep Guardiola on Saturday 28 August, exclisively live on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 11.30am.
The run between November and December last season was very concerning, but we showed patience with Arteta. If we fall into one of those runs again then we will have to make a change this time. That’s the doomsday scenario – if that happens then Arsenal will be in a tailspin and Arteta will be under threat.
Most important player
Gabriel. The heart of the defence is one of the most important positions on the pitch, especially if you’ve got a centre-back who is going to play out from the back and show strength and solidity in the air too.
If he has a good season then it will develop a 'thou shalt not pass' attitude throughout the team, from the defence to the attack. If he has a good season then we will have a good season.
Charlie Patino from St Albans is a creative midfielder, a bit of a Jack Wilshere type.
This could be a real breakthrough season. He could be playing in League Cup games if Arteta wants to use it as a breeding ground for youngsters.
He’s tenacious, creative, takes it past people, has great vision and he’s a leader too. I’ve got real high hopes for him next season and he's a Gooner fanzine subscriber.
What I’ve missed the most
As a fan who has been going for four decades, you miss the rituals of catching up with your friends in pubs, sitting in your seats and catching up with people around you.
Away games for certain people have been part of your life. It’s the camaraderie more than anything. It’s a whole sense of sociability and togetherness in the crowd. It’s supporting the games in person. Myself and so many are looking forward to it. It will be great to sell The Gooner on matchdays again too!
6th place and evidence of progression would be good for me this season – the fact they aren’t in Europe might help them out - anything more is a bonus!