It may be a new season but already, Arsene is making the same mistakes that he’s made in previous campaigns. His lack of activity in the transfer market and poor team selection is once again, deservedly the focus of criticism from both pundits and supporters.
On reflection, our overall performance in the opening day defeat by Liverpool, wasn’t as bad as many would have you believe. We started brightly and deservedly took the lead through Theo Walcott, who quickly bounced back from the disappointment of missing a penalty, only minutes prior to his opener.
However, as I have mentioned in one of my previous articles, once we have conceded once, we suddenly become vulnerable to conceding four or five. That is exactly what happened during a disastrous twenty minute spell against Liverpool.
Despite Arsene’s frequent protestations to the contrary, a fragile mentality, along with a lack of leadership, on and off field, regularly proves to be an obstacle to our chances of achieving success. All of these deficiencies were, once again, evident during our latest defeat.
I was determined not to dwell on our lack of transfer activity when entering the stadium on Sunday. The negative vibe amongst our supporters last season became increasingly tiresome, albeit not as tiresome as watching Arsene continuously repeating the same old mistakes, year after year. Why does he never learn?
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That said, as the team news filtered through, my mood became one of bemusement. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, arguably our stand out performer in pre season, Santi Cazorla, who was missed immensely during his prolonged absence last season and Granit Xhaka, our only senior summer arrival, had been named amongst the substitutes.
There has also been a lot of talk about the central defensive pairing of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. With many questioning why Arsene didn’t play Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy in the middle instead, with Kieran Gibbs filling in for Nacho at left back.
I have always tried to analyse all situations from an objective perspective. Had Arsene paired Monreal with Debuchy with neither of them being specialist centre backs, he’d have received no end of criticism. That said I can also see the benefits of playing two experienced players ahead of two novices. Perhaps a better solution would have been to play Chambers alongside either Nacho or Mathieu?
Had we not been facing, potentially, one of the division’s better sides, perhaps we would have escaped unscathed. However, it would be unjust to place all the blame at the feet of Holding and Chambers. It is fair to say though that the latter has not developed since his arrival at the club. A loan spell would still be the best solution at this stage.
Arsene may not be to blame for the long term injuries suffered by Per Mertesacker and Gabriel but he is to blame for the lack of cover arriving in the days since their injuries. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I felt that we needed new blood in the central defensive positions, even prior to their injuries.
I’ll refrain from entering the debate about those involved in latter stages of Euro 2016 being rested but where are the new arrivals to help us compensate for their absence? At times it would seem that it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back where Arsene is concerned, although there is still time to make amends in the transfer market.
After losing our first game, it is imperative that we get a positive result at Leicester this weekend and Wenger did at least have the upper hand over Ranieri last season – Over to you boys….