What will Wenger be thinking about this international break?

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Probably that while two league defeats is not yet disastrous, our consistency has to improve or two will become three. And that we can’t afford to be out of the league picture by January.

It’s too early for the gloomy talk – we’ve had some cracking wins and played some delightful football – but there are things to fix. Let’s face it, one more loss will take us to three defeats – the same amount for the whole of last season.

He’ll be thinking about our shaky central defence. It’s been vexing Arsenal fans for much of this season, with Gallas’s recent admission that we’ve not seen the best of him going some way towards backing that vexation up.

True, we might not have dropped all six points against Fulham and Hull had Gallas and Toure been in better form (some would say, were they merely compatible), but they were not entirely to blame for those defeats. The whole team put in lousy performances in both games if you ask me – with few exceptions. Nevertheless it’s a problem area and we do have options if Wenger is being bold – both Silvestre and Djourou can play there and both are now fit.

He may also be pondering our midfield options. It too has come under scrutiny – in particular the readiness or otherwise of Denilson to fill Flamini’s shoes. This season has been an exceptional opportunity for Denilson – still only 20 years old – and he’s played in every league game thus far. He’s popped in with two goals, had some great moments and some shaky ones – typical for an inexperienced player really. He’s not done too badly at all, but can we afford to let him grow into the role? Options there, as we know, are a bit more limited. Diaby is one, but he’s so injury prone that you can’t pin your hopes on him. Eboue is not the answer (as if he ever was). Ramsey is young – too young probably and certainly inexperienced at this level – and there really is no realistic alternative at this stage. It’s a strange situation for Wenger to have allowed to happen – but he did and here we are.

Up front, he can rightly argue we are in pretty rude health. Adebayor and van Persie have 11 goals between them, Bendtner and Vela 7 – and Walcott, playing well on the wing, has 4 (if you include his England total – which clearly I am for the sake of making this sound more impressive).

He’ll be wondering about the team’s concentration levels, its ability to drag itself out of holes and its overall motivation – all things that can be worked on.

And of course, he’ll be wondering who comes back injured. Gallas and van Persie are already crocked – and some bloggers have argued the former might not be such a bad thing while the latter is less damaging than it might have been previously thanks to the cover we now have.

As for me – I can’t wait for Saturday week. With one thing and another, despite having a season ticket I have only made it to one game this season – the opener against West Brom – and trust me, I need my fix.


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