Arsenal kick off the Unai Emery era on August 12th with a difficult home game against Manchester City when the new Premier League season begins.
Given that many of us have known nothing but Arsene Wenger, it will be strange seeing another man sitting in the Emirates Stadium dugout.
In some ways, it is that sense of the unknown that makes this season seem so exciting. Of course, the club have made a number of signings to augment an already capable squad; and it is encouraging that the absence of Champions League football has not held back our recruitment. Here’s a look at how we could line-up against City – if, as reported, Cristian Pavon signs.
Bernd Leno is likely to become our number one goalkeeper after an excellent season with Bayer Leverkusen. Although Petr Cech’s performances last year suggest he is not at the level he once was, he is an able deputy and will be a useful tutor to Leno, who is still relatively young at 26 and yet to play at the elite level.
The signings of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner means that the club have added more experience to a backline that struggled at certain points next term. However, at right-back, Hector Bellerin should get to start and engage in his marauding runs down the flank.
On the opposite side, Nacho Monreal should continue the impressive form he showed last term that culminated in him being named as part of the Spain squad for the World Cup. In central defence, Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi will be looking to form a partnership that can lead to solidity and repel opposition attacks.
Big things are expected from new signing, Lucas Torreira who has been tipped to add the much-needed solidity to the middle of the park. While Torreira can use the ball well, his presence should free up Granit Xhaka to dictate play with real confidence and authority.
In attacking midfield, Henrikh Mkhitaryan should play from the left and look to cut inside and link with other players. Mesut Ozil has been given the number 10 jersey, which suggests he is likely to start in the hole while on the right, Argentine winger, Cristian Pavon, who has been linked, would be tasked with adding directness.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will start up top, occasionally roaming into the left channel. The Gabonese hitman will be our main goalscoring threat; the former Borussia Dortmund striker hit 10 league goals last season after signing from the German outfit.
Probable lineup: Leno, Bellerin Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Pavon, Aubameyang.