Here at TSF, we pride ourselves on being level-headed, reasonable writers. We try to take a step back from our Gooner-tinted glasses and give intelligent, nuanced, accurate takes. We’ve all got our personal slant, and our natural optimism / pessimism is going to color our writing, but we do our best to be fair and balanced.
Not in this post. This is one of my favorite posts every year because we get to unleash our inner Stephen A. Smith [feel free to substitute your favorite hot take artist]. Bold. Unfiltered. Unconsidered. Unintelligent. The piping hottest of takes. And you get to do the same in the comments. So let’s predict away.
- Gabriel Martinelli leads the Gunners in scoring — right now, the attack stinks. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misplaced his scoring boots a while ago and can’t seem to find them. Alexandre Lacazette is just…LOL Hopefully somebody is going to score for the Gunners. Gabriel Martinelli is primed to explode onto the scene (again).
- Bonus non-hot take Nicolas Pepe actually leads Arsenal in scoring. He ended last season in the best form of all the Arsenal attackers and has picked up where he left off this preseason.
- Willian scores more than 5 goals this season. I don’t know. It just came to me. And it definitely qualifies as a hot take.
- Hector Bellerin is the Gunners most valuable player this season. I ride or die with Hector. He’s got the attacking tools to succeed in Mikel Arteta’s system. He’s just got to rediscover his pre-ACL injury form. I think he will.
- Mikel Arteta does NOT make it to May. Rationally, I think he does, but this is a Bold Predictions article, so why not try to shoot the moon?
- Jurgen Klopp is the first manager fired. We don’t know how their bevy of injured starters are going to play now that they are ostensibly back. I think one or more of their vaunted attackers (Salah, Mane, Firmino) are going to have that proverbial “cliff season” and really struggle. I don’t like the vibe I’m getting from their fan base, there seems to be a lot of unrest ready to boil over at a slow start. From what I understand, they’ve already got their manager in waiting lined up, so what’s to stop them pulling the trigger if they’re in like, 10th, in December?
- Timo Werner leads Chelsea in scoring. Mostly because it would be hilarious. But second season in the league and more accustomed to the PL game, pressure of being the big signing and primary goal scorer off his shoulders, able to run off Lukaku from wider areas. The pieces are there. The dude gets loads of scoring chances. If he starts converting, watch out.
- Everton get relegated. This is mostly just to needle my girlfriend, but here’s how the club with the second-longest stint in the top flight (behind Arsenal) could face the drop. It starts with Jordan Pickford — he gets more stick than he deserves because he’s a mostly solid keeper, but when he’s bad, he’s bad, and his catastrophic errors gift opponents goals. The defense in front of him is mostly a bunch of dudes, and that’s not a compliment. With Gylfi Sigurðsson suspended, James Rodriguez is the main midfield creative threat — a guy who joined the club to play under Carlo Ancelotti who has now left. He’s 30 and has an injury history, you betting on him to power a PL attack? Richarlison is disinterested with his eyes on a move to greener pastures next summer. I mean, did you watch him in the Olympics? He was a totally different player for his country than he is for his club. They’re not a deep squad, and if their key contributors struggle / get hurt, it could be disastrous.
- Emile Smith Rowe gets 10 Premier League assists. After being led by Willian last season with five, Arsenal will finally have a player reach double-digit assists for the first time since the 2016-17 season when both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez achieve that mark.
- Last year I had Pepe to get 15 goals, and he bested that by one. With the Gunners out of Europe this season there will be fewer matches, but I expect both Lacazette and Pepe to get 15 Premier League goals. That would be a boost of eight league goals, which would have given Arsenal the 6th best attack last season.
- Add in step forward for Martinelli, Saka, and some substitute goals by Balogun, Arsenal will reach 70 league goals and putting up just 56 and 61 the last two seasons.
- Pepe & Lacazette on form. 70 league goals. Smith Rowe is the new assist leader. An improved and fit defense. Arsenal finish 4th.
- Patrick Vieira leads Crystal Palace to a top-half finish as Joachim Andersen shores up their backline and Zaha reaches 15 league goals.
- Wolves continue last season’s poor down the stretch and are the surprise club relegated, despite Raúl Jiménez’s return, which leads to his transfer next summer to Tottenham.
- Harry Kane leaves for Manchester City at the end of the window. Spurs fail to get a replacement for him in time and miss on their January transfer target. They lose the Europa League Conference final while finishing 18th in the Premier League after Son misses much of the season due to injuries. Daniel Levy ultimately decides to shift the focus on the organization into his long dream of owning London’s first NFL franchise. Fans form the newly created Spurs United to join non-league football to start the ‘22-23 season. (Maybe)
- Mikel Arteta gets a contract extension before the end of the season
- Arsenal grab a striker on deadline day, bonus points if its Abraham in a late London switch at the last hour (note from Aaron: it’s sad that I actually do think this qualifies as a bold take)
- Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney make the Premier League best XI
- Every time Joe Willock scores for Newcastle, Arsenal twitter explodes with remorse and anger at our lack of midfield goals
- For the 2nd season in a row, Arsenal don’t register someone for the Premier League roster and we end up terminating their contract.
- Tuchel keeps Pulisic relegated to mostly super sub status and rumors begin that he’ll leave Chelsea by the January window
- Patrick Vieira goes on a 5 match winning streak and calls for him to replace Arteta get out of hand
- Patrick Vieira also goes on a 5 match losing streak where he calls for reinforcements to the Palace squad
- Brendan Rodgers gets fired
- Harry Kane leaves Spurs on deadline week or day (one can hope), leaving Spurs with no time to spend on replacement players.
- Saka regresses. He was Arsenal’s talisman last season, and now it seems like the club is really, really riding his charm and Euros success in their social media and marketing. He is a class player, but I think the spotlight and immense expectations will start to unsettle him a bit.
- Thomas Partey plays less than half the season. Between injuries and AFCON, Partey is going to miss crucial matches and will become the next great “if only he had stayed healthy” player.
- Ben White and Gabriel become our starting CB pairing. This isn’t all that “hot” of a take, but I think Holding gets gazumped by the younger CBs and features primarily in the cup competitions with Pablo Mari.
- Auba will be benched as a starter and the rumor mill will stoke the flames of discontent. His form has been dwindling since last season, and the pre-season was more of the same. Coupled with discipline issues, I can easily see the press making a meal out of it.
- Lukaku flops and fails to unseat Timo. Chelsea are overflowing with attacking talent, but Lukaku will struggle to fit into Tuchel’s style of play.
- Matches will be back to taking place without fans before the winter window. Packed stadiums plus the delta variant are a disaster waiting to happen.
- West Ham will be back to being a mid-table team. Between the Premier League and Europe League, David Moyes’ carriage will turn back into a pumpkin as the Hammers are stretched too thin and fail to retain their form that saw them finish 6th last season.
- Granit Xhaka, PFA Player of the Year
No, Aidan didn’t forget to finish his bold predictions. He just felt the single pick was the best way to drive home his point. Granit Xhaka remontada, baby!
I’m not sure how bold we actually got with our calls, so let’s see if y’all can out-spice us. Leave your sauciest predictions in the comments. Remember: you don’t have to be right, you just have to be loud and unapologetic.