Arsenal Season Preview | Premier League Analysis & Betting Pick

Arsenal Season Preview | Premier League Analysis & Betting Pick article feature image

James Gill/Getty. Pictured: Bukayo Saka.

Welcome to Action Network's Premier League team previews, where our soccer experts will break down each and every Premier League team ahead of the season, which starts on August 11. First up, Arsenal.

Arsenal Season Preview

This is a pivotal season for Arsenal after falling just short of the title last season. What Arsenal did in the transfer market is incredibly encouraging and really puts them now on the same level as Manchester City.

Team Breakdown

The signing of Declan Rice completely changes Arsenal’s tactical flexibility and they will now be an elite possession-dominant side that will be able to break down low blocks with ease. Rice played in a double pivot for a more defensive-minded team at West Ham. Now he’s going to be asked to be the main defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 system, which is something he is capable of doing.

What makes him so good is, well, everything. He led the Premier League with 63 interceptions last season and is an elite pressing midfielder that can also defend incredibly well in transition. Rice is incredibly good as a possession midfielder playing out from the back being able to control the tempo of matches, which is something he’s shown with regularity with the English National Team.

Declan Rice – Ticket To Ride


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Rice also has line-breaking passes in his pocket and had the eighth-most progressive passes in the Premier League playing for a West Ham team that averaged the third-lowest possession in the Premier League. Just imagine what he can do in Mikel Arteta’s system.

The reason that Arsenal’s title hopes got derailed last season was because of injuries. The biggest loss was William Saliba, who missed the final 11 matches of the season. His loss was catastrophic for a number of different reasons. Not only was he Arsenal’s best defender, but he is their best ball carrier and passer out of the back. To make matters even worse, their most versatile defender, Takehiro Tomiyasu, was also hurt. That meant Arsenal had no choice as to either play Rob Holding or new signing Jakob Kiwior out of position at the right center back position.

In the 11 matches Arsenal were without Saliba, they conceded 1.45 xG per 90 minutes. In the 27 matches with Saliba, Arsenal only conceded 0.97 xG per 90 minutes and were one of the best defensive teams in the Premier League. So, what did Arsenal do to make sure nothing like this happens again? They went out and signed a young defender to fit their system in Jurriën Timber from Ajax.

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Timber is another versatile defender that can play as a right sided center back or at right back. He’s an incredible ball carrier and passer, and he's also a defender like Zinchenko that can invert into the middle of the pitch alongside Declan Rice, giving Arsenal extreme tactical flexibility in their build up phase along with a ton of depth across their back line.

Arsenal did lose Granit Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen after a resurgent season. However, they replaced him with Chelsea’s Kai Havertz. He had a poor finishing season for Chelsea last year scoring just seven goals in the Premier League off of 11.6 xG, but he’s not going to be asked to play as a No. 9. He’s going to be asked to play Granit Xhaka’s role and push forward as often as possible to make runs into the box alongside Martin Odegaard to give opposing low blocks a tough time trying to defend all of Arsenal’s attacking players.

Then, Arsenal have two of the best wingers in the Premier League in Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, who combined for a 1.13 xG +Assist rate per 90 minutes last season. Gabriel Jesus was injured for a large portion of the season, but he still maintained a 0.61 xG per 90 minute scoring rate.

Betting Preview

Everything is in front of Arsenal. Per, their total squad value of $1.21 billion is now the highest of any team in the world, surpassing Manchester City. However, the market is still a tad low on them.

They did open at +800 to win the Premier League, but that number has since been bet down to +500 at most books, so there is not much value in that.

Instead, my favorite bet on Arsenal is to be the top London club at -154 at PointsBet. Tottenham and Chelsea are transitioning to new managers and new systems and Arsenal were leaps and bounds better than both of those teams last year.

Pick: Arsenal Top London Club (-154 via PointsBet)

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