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The afcstuff official writer's predictions: Where will Arsenal finish, who will be Arsenal's star player and more

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The afcstuff official writer's predictions: Where will Arsenal finish, who will be Arsenal's star player and more

Arsenal kick off the new Premier League season tonight at Selhurst park.

The afcstuff team have been getting their early predictions in, as we talk top scorers, star players, season predictions and breakthrough stars.

Jake

Martin Odegaard is Jake's prediction for Star Player.
Martin Odegaard is Jake's prediction for Star Player.
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Top Scorer:

Gabriel Jesus - Perhaps the most obvious answer one can give, but sometimes the obvious answer is the right one.

The Brazilian has shown a completeness to his attacking play that the Gunners faithful haven’t seen from their starting centre-forward since the days of Robin Van Persie. 

Breakthrough Star:

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Reuell Walters - In a pre-season squad with a distinct lack of young prospects, the inclusion of Walters for the tour of America was an indication of how highly regarded the 17-year-old defender is.

In the glimpses we saw of the young man, he looked as composed as those around him, bringing a calmness to the Gunners defence. Arteta will have to contend with a gruelling fixture schedule this season, so the young talent may well get his chances in cup competitions.

Star Player:

Martin Odegaard - With the announcement of his captaincy an inevitability, the young but experienced Norwegian will be tasked with manning the ship on the pitch this season. All indications through the 23-year-old’s career indicate that when giving more responsibility, he thrives.

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He wasn’t made the captain of his national team so young out of luck after all. His connection with Bukayo Saka on the right hand side is a force to contest with for any team on the continent, and it holds the keys to the Gunners success this season.

Season Prediction:

Third - Top four is the bare minimum for Arsenal this season, a reality that Arteta is acutely aware of. Having bolstered his squad with a high level of technical security, the Spaniard is equipped to steer the Gunners back to Europe’s premium competition – the Champions League.

The biggest threat to the season is the fixture congestion caused by the Europa League. A successful season will require more than the 11 players starting match week 1, the whole squad will have to contribute if the season is to be what the fans desire.

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Thomas

William Saliba is Thomas' prediction for Breakthrough Star.
William Saliba is Thomas' prediction for Breakthrough Star.

Top Scorer:

Gabriel Jesus - Not much needs to be said on this one, as I’m sure it’ll be unanimous amongst the writers.

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The Brazilian will be joining up with a squad that will provide him with plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net — and I have no doubts he’ll deliver the goods. 

Breakthrough Star:

William Saliba - This answer feels like a bit of a cop out but having not played in the Premier League for Arsenal, why not? Hopefully, we will see a lot of the young defender this season, and Wilo can demonstrate his incredible set of skills to English football.

Having won Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year last season, Saliba will be coming back to Arsenal with heaps of confidence and will look to nail down a place in the Arsenal starting XI. 

Star Player:

Bukayo Saka - The 20-year-old gets better every year and with a new and improved striker to play alongside, a World Cup fast approaching, and a full pre-season under his belt, Saka will take his game to new levels this season.

The Hale End graduate more than doubled his goal and assist tally from 2020/21 to 2021/22 and with his new clinical nature in the final third, I wouldn’t be surprised if he continued in a similar trajectory heading into the 2022/23 season.

Season Prediction:

Third - The difference that the addition of Gabriel Jesus makes to the Arsenal lineup cannot be understated. For far too long Arsenal have been missing a striker that: A) Can score goals on a regular basis and B) Can link-up play and then be able to get in the box afterwards.

Jesus adds both of these dimensions to the side and will take Arteta’s young squad to the next level. The return of Saliba, combined with the signings of Alex Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira will be a huge boost to the side as they look to return to a spot amongst Europe’s elite.

Tim

Albert Sambi Lokonga is Tim's prediction for Breakthrough Star.
Albert Sambi Lokonga is Tim's prediction for Breakthrough Star.

Top Scorer:

Gabriel Jesus – A somewhat straightforward answer but the Brazilian has shown during pre-season why Arsenal fans were so ecstatic by his arrival.

Jesus already has a rapport with Arteta having worked under him at Manchester City and has seemingly slotted into the team without any problems. Arsenal lacked potency from the striker position last year with less than 20 Premier League goals combined from all the strikers, but with Jesus, I doubt that will be the case this year.

Breakthrough Star:

Sambi Lokonga – The young Belgian star didn’t have the easiest of starts at the club as he was immediately thrust into the deep end with very little acclimation time. However, coming off of this pre-season, the club have been raving about his ability to operate in the midfield.

With midfield numbers currently looking thin and Sambi having settled in London, I expect him to display the traits that got him the move to North London.

Star Player:

Bukayo Saka - The 20-year-old Englishman will continue his ascendancy to superstardom with another stellar campaign. With back-to-back Player of the Season awards for the club under his belt, Saka will continue to display himself as the talisman for this young Arsenal squad and will be the standout performer once again.

He is playing with a confidence seldom found in players his age and with Arteta’s full trust in him, an elite campaign is sure to follow.

Season Prediction:

Fourth – Having been granted significant transfer funds and moulded the team to his complete image, a return to the top four is a must for Mikel Arteta. Players from previous regimes have been removed as well as players that have brought strife to the squad.

Having ended last season with such disappointment, an excellent summer of recruitment along with another year of gelling together, Arteta must deliver the goal of getting Arsenal back to the Champions League.

Evan

Eddie Nketiah is Evan's prediction for Breakthrough Star.
Eddie Nketiah is Evan's prediction for Breakthrough Star.

Top Scorer:

Gabriel Jesus - How could you go with anyone else? Arsenal’s new star signing has been absolutely electric in pre-season and seems already to be on the right wave-length with his fellow attackers.

Jesus never had the opportunity to be the man starting through the middle every week for Manchester City. For Arsenal, he’s got that and it will do wonderful things for him and the team.

Breakthrough Star:

Eddie Nketiah - This will be Eddie’s year. The addition of Jesus will of course limit his minutes but he will thrive in the Europa league and we will undoubtedly see the two lining up together at some point in the season.

Eddie’s game is constantly improving and this will be the season he takes that real step up.

Star Player:

Gabriel Jesus - If Jesus is to be Arsenal’s top scorer this season, I think he’ll be their player of the season too. Funnily enough, goals are probably the only thing Jesus doesn’t absolutely guarantee. Partly because goals are very hard to guarantee. However what he definitely does is relentless pressing and brilliant ability on the ball.

His all around game is so good that Arsenal will benefit even should Jesus struggles for goals at times. If the Brazilian can score goals at any type of rate like he is doing in pre-season, he’ll be Arsenal’s player of the season, and the signing of the season.

Season Prediction:

Fourth and Europa league sucess - We all know how dependant Arsenal can be on injuries. However, this year just feels different. Arsenal no longer look one or two injuries from collapse, and they look strong, all over the pitch. 

Mikel Arteta’s side won 22 Premier league games last season. If they can just convert some of those losses into further wins or even draws, they will finish in the top four. European success is never guaranteed for Arsenal but I think we’re the favourites here.

There will inevitably be factors in play that we are not aware of just yet (there always is), but I truly think we are looking at what will be a good season for Arsenal.

Alex

Reiss Nelson is Alex's prediction for Breakthrough Star.
Reiss Nelson is Alex's prediction for Breakthrough Star.

Top Scorer:

Gabriel Jesus - Probably the easiest answer of these prediction. We've seen this pre season what a prolific goal scorer he can be. His ability to take a touch and shoot in such quick succession is something I've not seen at Arsenal in a very long time.

He has had success with Arteta at Man City, winning multiple leagues together, and both his experience and ability will be vital to where we finish next season.

Breakthrough Star: 

Reiss Nelson - This pick is depending on whether or not Arsenal sign a winger before this season ends, however I believe if he stays at Arsenal and we don’t sign one, it is a make or break season. With the Europa League this season, it will give Nelson a chance to prove himself and show how much he has improved after his loan last season.

We've seen both Saka and Smith-Rowe shine in Europe to get their chance in the squad, and at 22 years old Nelson has an opportunity. His last start for Arsenal was a winner at the Emirates against Liverpool, and now he has another shot to impress.

Star Player:

Martin Odegaard - The new captain at the Emirates at just 23 years old, Odegaard showed his class when he signed on a permanent deal for around £30 million.

He oozes class, linking up play in the final third and making things tick all over the pitch. WIth the addition of Jesus, along with Saka and Martinelli to the side of him, he will have chances to rack up assists using the attackers pace in behind. He can also score a goal or two when needed, and could have 10+ assists in the Premier League next season.

Season Prediction:

Third - It’s very bold, Spurs have also strengthened massively in the summer, bringing in some very high-prolific players under a top manager in Conte. However, with 3 games to go last season, Spurs were hardly a threat to us for a top 4 spot, but injuries racked up for the North London derby, and we were not on our game, and after that the confidence was near enough gone for the loss against Newcastle.

Chelsea are also a threat, some great signings like Sterling could make them even better, but the lack of a number 9 could be costly for them. I think the gap between the top 2 and the rest of the pack will be large once again, but it isn't a stretch to say we are the best of the rest, and the depth we now have could make all the difference.

Europa League Win: Once again, the depth we have all over the field such as Lokonga, Pepe, Zinchenko (if he doesn’t start) and more will be enough to get us through the group, and we have the mentality to go onto win it.

Man Utd are the greatest threat right now, but the 3rd place UCL places always throw a spanner in the works. However, we have the strength to win it, and i believe we can.

Mitesh

Gabriel Jesus is Mitesh's prediction for Top Scorer.
Gabriel Jesus is Mitesh's prediction for Top Scorer.

Top Scorer: 

Gabriel Jesus - This one is a no brainer. If he doesn’t end up top scoring for Arsenal, it’s likely that the transfer hasn’t worked out. However given his pre-season form you have to look at Jesus as the man to carry the can for Arsenal.

His only real competition in this should be Eddie Nketiah this season, and I think it will be a close run thing as Eddie will score heaps in the Europa League.

Breakthrough Star:

William Saliba - It certainly feels odd to say that a player who has pulled up trees in Ligue 1 should be considered a “breakthrough” player, however Arsenal haven’t seen a lot of him at all in the red and white. I think he will have a battle on his hands to convince the manager that he has what it takes, and I feel that Europa League minutes as well as potential rotation/injuries among the squad will help him to become a prominent figure and mainstay in the team.

I think by the end of the season Mikel Arteta will have a real headache to pick two of Saliba, Gabriel and Ben White to start games. A nice problem to have.

Star Player:

Gabriel Jesus - I think it’s been distinctly noticeable how much of a difference a top level player can make to a team. Similar to when Alexis Sanchez signed for the club, there is a deep intake of breath from the watching crowd and an expectation that surrounds the player. Jesus has shown, in a short space of time, that he can hit the ground running.

The proof will come with the first few fixtures of course, however I’d tip him to be the stand out player for the season. I also think it will take the pressure off the likes of Saka, Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe to allow them to flourish furthermore as well. An exciting signing.

Season Prediction:

Fourth and League cup success: I can see a really promising season ahead for Arsenal, and I can see a trophy on the cards too. However I feel that the most important thing for the squad and the club will be to get back into the Champions League, and cup competition will be sacrificed in order to get there.

That’s why I can see the League Cup being something that is focused on more so than the FA Cup and even Europa League to a certain extent. They go deep into the season, whereas a League Cup win could propel the team forward into getting that top four spot. The cups will begin to be sacrificed if Arsenal go deep and the top four battle is still on and will be tricky to navigate, so I see finishing in the top four and League Cup success as the aims as well as the predictions for success this season.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Arsenal, Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard, Eddie Nketiah, William Saliba, Mikel Arteta

The SPORTbible Team
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