EPL Season Preview: Arsenal

Coach: Arsene Wenger

2015/16 Finish: 2

2016/17 Preseason Ranking: 2

Sportify Rating: 1656

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring a goal with his teammate Mesut Ozil on May 15, 2016. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring a goal with his teammate Mesut Ozil on May 15, 2016. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

2015/16 Wagebill: £192M

Stadium Capacity: 60,432 at Emirates Stadium

Departures: Mikel Arteta (retired); Dan Crowley (Oxford United, loan); Mathieu Flamini (released); Isaac Hayden (Newcastle); Tomas Rosicky (released); Wojciech Szczesny (Roma, loan); Wellington Silva (Fluminese); Jon Toral (Granada, loan)

Arrivals: Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima); Rob Holding (Bolton); Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach)

The good: Chance creation

Simply put, Mesut Özil is one of, if not the best creator players in the world. Last season, he led Europe’s domestic leagues with 19 assists, six more than second place in the EPL. Özil led the EPL with 18.3 xG assisted, 5.8 more than 2nd place. Alexis Sanchez (8.1) was 11th and Olivier Giroud, for all the flack he gets, is a great passing striker and finished 13th (6.8). Add in Santi Cazorla playing behind Özil and a full strength Arsenal can move the ball as well as any team. The talent across the field is why they led the EPL last season with 74.9 xG.

The bad: Finishing

Whether talking about finishing off a game, finishing off a title challenge or even just finishing a scoring chance, finishing has been considered a weakness for the Gunners for some time. That league best 74.9 xG led to 65 goals (T-4th), and 9.9 xG minus goals was dead last in the EPL last season. With the Gunners only marquee signing of the summer being Granit Xhaka, a defensive minded midfielder, there is little reason to believe Arsenal’s finishing woes won’t be back again.

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