Projected starting XI
Petr Cech; Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi; Sead Kolašinac, Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin; Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil; Alexandre Lacazette
What's the highest reasonable goal your team has and what needs to go right to get there?
A return to the top four. I'd love to say "win the Premier League," but Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will never spend the money that the Manchesters or Chelsea will spend, so Arsenal's best case as far as a league title goes is savvy second-tier buys and a run of good health the likes of which they haven't seen in years. But top four should be attainable this season, as long as Europa League Thursdays don't wreak too much havoc on the fitness levels of the squad.
Who's a player on your team that neutrals might not know much about, but should become fans of?
Alex Iwobi. He'd been floating around the fringes of the first team for a while, and after 26 appearances last year, in which he scored four goals, the 21-year-old is definitely ready to make a breakthrough this season. He's the latest in the long line of Arsenal youth that Arsene Wenger sees as the club's next legendary midfielder. That track record, though, also contains the likes of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere, so it's in no way guaranteed that Iwobi will become the stellar talent that a lot of us see in him. He's certainly got the skill and talent needed to make that leap, he just needs to score more. Hopefully with a regular place in the starting XI, that will come.
Who will be your team's MVP this season, and why?
As I write this, Alexis Sanchez is still an Arsenal player. If that remains true on Sept. 1, it's him, hands down. In the darkest timeline, though, there are two candidates: Mesut Özil and Granit Xhaka. Özil's talent is well known, and he's also one of those polarizing players who you either love or just don't get, but that doesn't mean he's not a vital part of Arsenal's attack. But in all honesty, if Arsenal are going to be as good as they can be, it will be because Granit Xhaka is bossing the midfield. After a bit of a rough start that included two red cards and several yellows, Xhaka quietly became the really good DM we thought he'd be when he arrived; now that he's gotten the adjustment period out of his system, if he maintains his March/April level of play, Arsenal's midfield will be one of the most solid in the Premier League.
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