Arsenal feel like they’re two players short, again

Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool

A weird game in which we should have been one nil up, then two nil down, and could finally have won. It was a defensive horror show in the first half but it became less terrifying as the game went on, but we didn’t have the firepower or the form to blow the doors off.

On the plus side, Cech and Coquelin excelled. Our new keeper found his feet and showed his value – though the amount he had to work probably gave him a sleepless night. He’d have been hoping for something more solid in front of him. Welcome to Arsenal, Petr!

Even with our first choice central defence, this is a creaky unit. With Chambers and Gabriel – little experience, no games so far, last-minute starters – it almost burst at the seams, though there were green shoots as the game wore on.

Loathe as I always am to pass judgement after just three matches, this has been, in Wenger’s own words, an average start with only two goals scored in three games (one by us and one own goal – though maybe Alexis’ header at Palace would have gone in anyway).

Last night, we felt a bit predictable and a bit narrow, and very sloppy, and for me it wasn’t until the Ox glued himself to the line that we stretched Liverpool as much as we needed to.

We need to find our form and we need to find it fast.

The strange thing about this summer of outfield inactivity is that, by not signing anyone, Wenger is relying on our current squad to organically improve by at least 12 points – or perhaps more. That feels to me like a very tall order indeed, and even more so given our start.

Without an addition or two, the forward momentum needed is hard to get or to keep. I like this squad a lot but it seems a risky strategy to me, and very presumptuous.

It feels to me that we are yet again two players short. It’s a sort of permanent Arsenal state of being. Theo is not a reliable striker and nor, at this stage, is Welbeck so we need a striker to ease the burden on Giroud – or to replace him as first choice, depending on who we can get. I know there aren’t many around, but that’s what we need.

We also need a Coquelin Mark 2. He was fabulous last night, if overrun, but he can’t do it all and we have nobody else with his energy. Not Arteta, not Flamini – two players who are in the twilight of their careers.

Are we too late? It’s only too late on September 2nd.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Dharma Steve

    Wenger’s dream is to come from behind and win the Premier League. He wants to be written off and then to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and make a remarkable comeback. He can then look like the hero, the only one who really knows about football. What he does NOT want is to be the favourite to win the league. That’s why Arsenal are two players short every year. How my heart goes out to all the Arsenal suppoorters. He is betraying them so that he can look like the only man who ‘really’ understands football.

  2. East Lower

    I’m not sure about that. I think the overall picture is of improvement over the last few years.

    But I do agree that he’d love to win it “the right way”. Whether that is possible anymore is a moot point!

  3. PDDD

    Same old, same old. Whatever you think about the reasons for our slow start (the lack of balance in midfield, the lack of a truly world class striker, mental fragility….take your pick) the end result is the same…..we look like we could be totally out of the title race by October. Yet again.
    What will be blamed then ? Referees ? Injuries ? Our own fans ?
    Something is missing in this squad & I’m not sure additions alone will solve it.
    Sorry but I have to comment on the Arteta thing….I am so unbelievably tired of hearing about his age. It lets Arsene off the hook for the appalling decision to try to make him into a DM in the first place. It’s got zero to do with age. He is not, and never has been, a DM. Coquelin’s last 6 months have shown what a farce it was having him there. But you’re 100% right, we desperately need to get another in there. We’re one injury away from catastrophe.

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