From the back: the goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny is capable but I would have the keeper of all the other top teams ahead of Arsenal's. David de Gea (Manchester United), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Petr Cech (Chelsea), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) and Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) would all get my vote ahead of Szczesny.
In defence, Arsenal are decent, but again none of their back four would make a composite Premier League XI. If I look right the way through the Arsenal team, with a view to picking an all-star side from the top six clubs, I would struggle to nominate one Arsenal player. Mesut Özil is the only one who would have a chance.
Clearly Arsenal have a fabulous manager, a wonderful stadium and a great fan base. You would tend to give Arsène Wenger the benefit of the doubt but the depth of quality is not yet there in this squad. If Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud went back to being the players they were last year Arsenal would start to look fairly average by their standards. Ramsey looks a totally different player this term and will need to sustain that improvement.
Theo Walcott is now missing for a few games, and without that depth of quality I wonder how many players they have who are capable of winning trophies. On the other hand, they have points on the board, started well in the cup competitions and are playing with more fluency and confidence. All that looks rosy, but I would not get carried away by these early signs of promise because they still need to strengthen in one or two positions.
The Özil deal lifted the spirits of Arsenal fans, and kept the critics quiet, but they still need a couple more of that calibre to be considered title contenders. Giroud has made an excellent start to the season, but, again, he would not make the starting XIs of Manchester United or City. If United have an injury to Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie they can call on Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck. City can choose from Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Agüero. Giroud is a very good player, but no Henry, Wright or Van Persie.
I want Arsenal to do well. I love their heritage. As a 13-year-old I was invited there as a potential recruit. Ian Wright looked after me and took me in to see George Graham, the manager. I was starstruck.
The distance from home ruled them out but everything about Arsenal impressed me. They always have their badge to fall back on, and will always be attractive to players, for their history, their stadium and location, in London. But I would need to see more evidence of consistent improvement. They have played one or two teams at the right time, notably Sunderland away. The last days of Paolo Di Canio were a cracking time to catch them. They have not faced many big tests yet, and when they look at their neighbours, Spurs, who have really caught my eye, they see £100million of new investment.
My respect for Wenger stems from the revolutionary effect he has had on the English game. Up until 2004 or so he really made Manchester United stretch. Arsenal were the best team in the country. The Invincibles were sensational. Wenger took sports science and professionalism to a new level, and forced the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson to change their own outlook. That early success still protects Wenger from those who say eight years without a trophy is unacceptable.
That barren run is one of the great anomalies because Arsenal have always been well run and wealthy. The confusion starts with their failure to improve the squad over the past few years. The only explanation I can come up with is Wenger's resistance to inflated transfer fees, which he has always disliked. His calling card was good value signings who turned out to be worth more than they cost. It was as if Wenger could not bring himself to splash out because it was never his way of doing things and he did not agree with it.
If you can't beat them, you just have to join them, even if the prices are inflated. Wenger stood back from that until the Özil transfer, which, I suspect, was to ease the pressure building from Arsenal's fans, who were angry that no marquee signing had been made earlier in the summer. It was too late to bring two or three in, so they went for one superstar, whatever the cost, to keep everyone content.
Özil is a world-class player and has started particularly well. That level of purchase is what the fans want, the club deserve and the team need and they need to stay at that end of the market if they are to return to the days when Vieira and Petit, Adams and Campbell, made it so hard to keep the ball when all four of them bore down on you.