Arsenal successfully defended their FA Cup crown last season and will hope that it can provide a springboard to more success in 2015/16.

Arsene Wenger

At one point last season, Arsenal threatened to give Chelsea a late challenge for Premier League glory, but a couple of bad results saw Manchester City pip them to 2nd place, while Monaco dumped them out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage after the Gunners failed to recover from a 1-3 defeat at the Emirates in the first leg.

The question now is can Arsenal mount a serious title challenge? It's been 11 season's since the Gunners won the Premier League and despite recent successes in cup competition, their fans want more than the customary top four finish.

The bookies rated Arsenal as having a decent chance of returning to Premier League glory and at the beginning of the season were third favourites behind last season's 1-2 of Chelsea and Manchester City. As far as the Champions League is concerned, Arsenal are not among the front-runners this season and will do well to better last season's performance in the competition.

In recent years Arsenal have taken an uncharacteristically positive assault on the transfer market with the marquee signings of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez providing Arsenal fans with genuine excitement. Arsenal also spent big on Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers to increase their options on all fronts, but many fans voiced concerns that the club failed to add steel to their midfield, something which remains to be addressed.

Arsenal's season begins with the visit of West Ham United and the second game at the Emirates could be pivotal as Liverpool make the journey south. The Gunners head to Stamford Bridge on September 19 and welcome Man Utd on October 3rd, before locking horns at home to Spurs in the first North London Derby on November 7th. Manchester City will come to town in the final game before Christmas, while a trip to Anfield and the visit of Chelsea will take place in January and Man Utd come to the Emirates the following month. Arsenal begin their final 10 games with a trip to face rivals Tottenham, but the run in looks fairly kind on paper until a trip to Man City for the penultimate game, before a home clash with Aston Villa in their last match of the season.

Current Squad

Manager - Arsene Wenger

Goalkeepers - Wojciech Szczęsny, David Ospina, Damián Martínez, Petr Cech

Defenders - Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Calum Chambers, Héctor Bellerín

Midfielders - Tomáš Rosický, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Flamini, Francis Coquelin, Krystian Bielik

Forwards - Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sánchez, Danny Welbeck, Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom

We all know that Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere and co. can play stylish football, but fans, pundits and bookmakers alike believe that failure to add some defensive grit to their midfield engine room is the reason Arsenal can’t fulfil their potential. However, the bookmakers do believe that Arsenal are odds on to retain their Champions League spot by finishing in the top four this season, something that few would argue with given the regularity that Arsenal qualify for the competition.

Arsenal have played in every Champions League competition since the 1998/99 season, going furthest in the competition in 2006 when they finished as runners-up. Arsenal have flattered to deceive in Europe more recently, only making it as far as the Round of 16 in the last six years.

There is better news on a domestic front for Arsenal. They are placed firmly among the favourites to retain the FA Cup, with the bookies playing to form and history by selecting Arsenal as one of the front-runners for the competition. Arsenal’s victory at Wembley last year was their 12th FA Cup, taking them ahead of Manchester United as the competition's most successful club.

Most Successful Clubs In FA Cup History

  1. Arsenal - 12 wins
  2. Manchester United - 11 Wins
  3. Tottenham Hotspur - 8 Wins
  4. Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa - 7 Wins
  5. Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers - 6 Wins
  6. Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City - 5 Wins

Given the strength of clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea, you would have to think that the FA Cup provides the best chance for success again this year for Arsenal, so their fans may have to settle with the realistic outcome of just a top-four finish in the league if it means more cup silverware in May.

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