As final preparations for the 2012/13 ramp up and the Premier League gets set to kick-off, news outlets, blogs and pundits are dissecting from top to bottom. But what do the fans think?
We asked a panel of supporters in the USA and Canada their views on Arsenal's summer moves, their thoughts on the current squad and their hopes and predictions for upcoming season. Each day this week, we'll delve into a different topic and see what our panel thinks.
The next question presented to our panel was two-fold: Which player did they think would prove to be the 2012/13 player of the year and whom do they expect to make the biggest strides thsi season?
If we were all talking about this in the same room, my mouth would immediately shout out "SANTI CAZORLA!" such is the impact I think he will have on the side, but as I've got a bit more time to respond, I'm going to take a more measured approach and go with the player who was our most consistent player and who improved throughout last season, Laurent Koscielny.
I think most of us had a similar, quizzical reaction when Arsenal signed the slender Frenchman, but he had a good first season and finished last season as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. I can only recall one or two games last season when he didn't look impressive. I'll back him to continue going from strength to strength this season.
The easy answer to who will make big strides is the precocious Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, affectionately known to us all as The Ox. Simply by making more appearances this season he will have made strides over his impressive debut campaign, and he has hopefully had a positive experience with the England team at Euro 2012 this summer.
I'm hoping he'll make a major impact, even with greater competition for places on the wings and in the advanced midfield role. He's supremely talented, mature for his age, and already carries himself with the confidence visible in great players. Arsène needs to hang on to this one, he's only going to get better.
It's a difficult question because based on the evidence of last season Arsenal need players to have exceptional seasons at both ends of the field if they are to improve their fortunes. Not to take the always-improving Koscielny for granted but I'm going to say Cazorla has the best chance of being Arsenal's Player of the Year: the team has a had a creative vacuum of sorts ever since Fabregas set sail, so Cazorla has got a massive opportunity to pull the strings in attacking midfield and I think his track record shows he's well equipped to do just that.
Francis Coquelin's showed considerable resolve to survive one or two of Wenger's deadwood clear outs after last season and the composure he's already displayed at the top level has been exceptional, but unfortunately I think we'll see him reduced to more of a utility role in midfield and defense once Wilshere returns to what is becoming an increasingly crowded midfield. I'll have to agree with Brett then and say then that Oxlade-Chamberlain has been given the best platform to improve this season due to the fact that he'll be given more playing time to refine the impressive, raw talent he's already shown.
This is such a difficult question to answer. I don't think many of us would have predicted Van Persie would go an entire year without getting injured last season and have such an impact on the team and league as a whole. This season, I am hoping against all odds that Diaby remains fit. I feel, like many including his national team boss Blanc, that he is a very special player and that this could finally be his season to shine for us.
I think Walcott has been looking very sharp in pre-season and this is certainly encouraging. Perhaps it has to do with the quality of players around him or perhaps he is just blossoming into the player Wenger always knew he could be. I hope to see him grow and become more confident on the pitch. Many forget that he is only still 23 because he's been at the club for so long.
The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 Feb 2013