|Arsenal will seek for a good start to go level on points with Manchester City with Nottingham Forest visiting the Emirates Stadium. (Photo credit: Sporting News)|
The elation and sheer joy of leading the table for so long, with the title in touching distance, and then the dissipation of hope, evaporating into thin air right before them, Arsenal has a point to prove, and the journey starts here.
Arsenal went from finishing fifth to competing for the title, a great achievement by all standards, but on the evidence of what they could have achieved, it felt like a failed season, but a fresh start brings an opportunity to go again with renewed optimism.
Step forward Nottingham Forest, a team that surprised many with their loads of new signings last season, is surviving by the skin of their teeth; just four players have been signed this season, and that suggests some level of stability.
Manager Steve Cooper wants to springboard from the survival of last season to achieve some Premier League stability without having to deal with relegation, but with a trip to Arsenal on the opening day, the test can’t get bigger.
The Gunners did some interesting business this summer; Declan Rice joined for a massive £105 million, but looking at how much the likes of Moises Caicedo and Lucas Paqueta are being quoted for, Arsenal would be happy to have closed that out earlier.
Kai Havertz continues to divide opinions; many fans don’t understand his signing, but Mikel Arteta knows why, and he was full of praise for the Germans after their Community Shield success over the reigning Premier League champions last weekend.
Anthony Elanga joined Forest from Manchester United to add to an already long list of forwards; Morgan Gibbs White is ready to go again, with the likes of Emmanuel Dennis and Taiwo Awoniyi fighting for their rights to start.
Forest will be as expressive as possible, but can they find a way to stop Arsenal’s free-flowing football? Jurien Timber is poised to start at left back following the fitness of Alex Zinchenko; Bukayo Saka would hope to pick up from where he left off last season; and Martin Odegaard would hope to spark creativity.
Forest beat Arsenal at the City Ground last season, but they shipped five when they went to the Emirates Stadium. They must try as much as possible to avoid a repeat of that. Whatever happens, it is a long season, but day one is always important.