The season kicks-off on Saturday with the visit of newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, and just like last term Arsenal.com will be identifying the key battles for the game. We will bring you all the statistics and information a fan could need so Swot up now and come Saturday you'll be impressing anyone who'll listen with your new-found knowledge.
Simon Davies v Gael Clichy
Gael Clichy was superb last season. Fellow professionals voted him the best left back in the Premier League and Arsenal.com visitors put him second in their Player of the Season poll. The Frenchman banished the injury woes that had marred the previous two seasons and developed into a fearsome competitor in both his primary defensive duties and also on the front foot. The fleet-footed full back was responsible for five assists during the last campaign and while a first goal for the Club remains elusive, Clichy was a vital component to several of Arsenal’s attacking raids. He continued that in the opening league fixture of this season, laying on a glorious pass for Denilson in the lead up to the match-winning goal. Like Clichy, Simon Davies found his top form during 2007/08. While Fulham’s were troubled during most of the campaign, their Welsh right-winger endeavours helped the Cottagers remain in touch with safety. Davies hit five goals and grabbed eight assists, but was equally assiduous in his defensive duties – 25 clearances and 19 successful tackles.
|Simon Davies||Gael Clichy|
|Shots on target||22||7|
Aaron Hughes v Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor made a major breakthrough last season. Emerging from the planet-sized shadow of Thierry Henry, the Togolese front-man fired the Gunners to the brink of domestic and European success. He was second in the goal-scoring charts with 24 but offered an altogether different attacking dimension not seen before at the Club. Adebayor was comfortable as a target-man, a runner from deep and off the shoulder of the last defender; he was almost unplayable at times. And he didn’t mind making a tackle – the 22 he made was three more than Aaron Hughes. The centre back had a mixed debut campaign in West London after moving from Aston Villa. His 30 no-nonsense appearances yielded 55 clearances and 15 interceptions. Further up the field he was less effective with just two shots on target.
|Aaron Hughes||Emmanuel Adebayor|
|Shots on target||2||59|
Paul Konchesky v Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott joined Arsenal in January 2006, but arguably he only really 'arrived' in 2008. Last season the Englishman started to make the contribution many have been waiting for, turning in several mature and match-winning performances. Crucially, too, he was able to make an impact from the start. His brace against Birmingham set the tone for an impressive end to the campaign that saw him register several more goals and assists, including that run at Anfield. Walcott’s final ball improved– only 11 unsuccessful crosses – as did his accuracy when shooting. Trying to quell the treat of Theo on Saturday will be Paul Konchesky. The former West Ham full back had a torrid time of it on the opening weekend, his mistake allowing Hull City to snatch a late winner. But last season was a different story. Paul was a steady performer for the Cottagers, making 54 clearances from his usual defensive position. His pace down the flank was key in Fulham’s fight against relegation and with 24 forays forward he will be one to watch this weekend.
|Paul Konchesky||Theo Walcott|
|Shots on target||5||18|
*PLEASE NOTE THESE STATISTICS RELATE TO THE 2007/08 PREMIER LEAGUE CAMPAIGNCopyright 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 21 Aug 2008