Sol Campbell believes Arsenal's defensive problems aren't as bad as people make them out to be and the signing of Petr Cech can finally lead them to winning their first Premier League title in over a decade.
The Gunners last won the title in 2003/04 when they went a whole season unbeaten and Campbell was an important part of the team after signing from Tottenham in 2001. The defender won three FA Cups and two league titles during his stay and believes that the present team is not too far away from achieving something similar in the upcoming season.
Wojciech Szczesny is set to leave the club for a season-long loan spell at Roma, where he will sign on a permanent basis next summer, according to the Mirror, as Cech and David Ospina are set to marshal the sticks for the Gunners this season.
Campbell believes that the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny is vastly understated and that the duo can combine to become one of the best defensive units in the league next season.
Koscielny was out for a major part of the campaign last time around with an Achilles problem but came back for the second half of the campaign, when they conceded only 13 goals in the 19 games played during that period. Campbell also talked in glowing terms about Calum Chambers, who will stake a claim for the centre-back spot along with January signing Gabriel.
When asked about Arsenal's defence, Campbell told ESPN, "I think these have been a bit exaggerated and the back four is not as bad as fans and pundits have made out. Only Chelsea and Southampton conceded fewer goals last season."
"Laurent Koscielny has become one of Arsenal's most important players and the statistics show that when he's in the side they concede fewer goals. [Per] Mertesacker is solid and very dependable. I also think [Calum] Chambers needs to play at centre-half on a consistent basis because that is his best position."
"If I was him, I would be knocking on the manager's door to tell him this. Add Cech to the equation and you have a very strong defence."
When asked about their title chances, Campbell was optimistic about this year and insisted that Arsene Wenger finally got his tactics right in the second half of the campaign last season.
"I think it's going to be Arsenal's year. For the second part of last season their form was fantastic and I think they will take this into the new season. Arsenal are usually slow starters and do not fire into life until December.
"I believe they now realise that they can't afford to do this anymore and have to get out of the blocks quickly. Arsenal have a strong, balanced side, there's a great team spirit, which is very important and Arsene has at last, got the formula right. He's also made one of the most important signings of any of the top four clubs this summer," he concluded.