Aston Villa Debacle: Wenger and his Players Respond, But is That Enough?
This summer was supposed to be different.
When we all thought that Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna were going to join the trend of players that would depart in the summer, both players turned the tables and pledged their allegiance to the team. For the first time in ages, Arsene Wenger was going to keep his core players intact and the fans hoped that some quality players would join and solidify the team.
The club’s Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, bragged about how the club could compete with the European juggernauts, and there was a renewed sense of optimism around the club. Fast forward to today, 101 Great Goals report that some Gunners went to troll his Wikipedia Page as well as voicing their frustrations over the club’s inactivity in the transfer window.
In Turkey, the Press are reveling in Arsenal’s defeat, citing how their local side, Fenerbahce, would add to the Gunners woes. We are now tagged as a club in “crisis” and the timing to play against Fenerbahce, a team with problems of their own, seems perfect for the folks at Istanbul.
To add to Arsenal’s shameful defeat on the opening weekend of the Premier League, the Gunners have fresh injury problems to contend with. Prior to the game against Aston Villa, Arsenal had lost Thomas Vermaelen (back), Nacho Monreal (back), Mikel Arteta (thigh), Ryo Miyaichi (rib) and long-term absentee, Abou Diaby (knee).
Early on in the game, Arsenal’s only fit and available left back, Kieran Gibbs, clashed his head with Andreas Weimann and came out second best, suffering some bleeding to his head as well as a concussion, so he had to be replaced by Carl Jenkinson, causing Bacary Sagna to play as a make-shift left back. To make things worse, there was a major concern when Sagna landed awkwardly and I feared for the worst, but his lovely wife, LuDivine, has confirmed that he’s better.
Gibbs and Sagna will not be available for the heated clash against Fenerbahce and one can only wonder what Wenger has up his sleeves for the game against Fenerbahce. As it stands, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson will be sure-fire starters for the Fenerbahce game but who will start at left back with Iggy Miquel flushed out to Leicester? The situation would become more precarious during the weekend as Koscielny would be suspended for the Fulham game, which means that the Gunners would be sweating on Gibbs to be fit in time for Fulham but who would partner Mertesacker in the heart of the defense?
While Gibbs and Sagna could be weeks away from full fitness, the same can’t be said of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, that’s currently on crutches as he has damaged some ligaments on his knee, and an initial diagnosis from the Mirror confirmed that he’ll be out for at least three months.
Fresh reports from the Daily Mail now state that he could be out for as long as six months, which would be a big shame for a player on a steep learning curve in his career.
The versatile forward was heavily involved in Arsenal’s preseason campaign and even supplied an assist for Olivier Giroud’s match opener early on. With the Ox out of contention, Arsenal is now desperately short on the right wing, as the speedster is widely regarded as Theo Walcott’s successor.
This means that Arsenal can count on an unfit Santi Cazorla to do a job on the right when the need arises. He looked a bit overweight and out of sorts against Aston Villa but with more games under his belt, I believe that he would be back to his scintillating best.
in the wake of this disappointing defeat to Aston Villa, the manager post-match press conference saw him barraged with a lot of questions ranging from the debacle at the Emirates, injuries to his players and of course, his lack of activity in the transfer market.
“We take our work seriously and believe me, we analyse every single player in the world. We work 24 hours a day for that. When we make decisions, we take it seriously. People try to think we do not want to spend. We want [to]. We are ready to buy players.”
His players, notably Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere have also been vocal, urging the fans to stick with the Gunners as they pass through this rough phase. In their defense, both players gave their all on the pitch with Giroud scoring the opening goal and creating two key chances in the game that were squandered by Tomas Rosicky, while Wilshere was industrious as ever in midfield, working in tandem with Aaron Ramsey in the middle of the park.
As painful as this may sound, Arsenal would have fared a whole lot better if they played this game with some of the transfer targets they have missed this summer. A Maroune Fellaini or Luiz Gustavo or Lars Bender would have been alert to Gabby Agbonlahor’s run that led to the first goal and would have stayed put in midfield late on to probably anticipate the ball before it got to Antonio Luna for the match clincher. This game showed how important Arteta is to the team as Ramsey and Wilshere lacked the positional discipline to stay put in midfield as the game progressed.
Touchline Talk reports that Arsenal is set to make an improved bid for Bender but as always, I’ll take it with a pinch of salt.
In attack, a Stevan Jovetic or Bernard or Gonzalo Higuain or Luis Suarez would have contributed to Arsenal’s cause to kill the game early on or salvage an equalizer when the chance popped up.
That’s why I get really hurt when I think about those two key chances a world-class player like Rosicky fluffed. He was more or less Arsenal’s best performer in the disappointing defeat but he really needs to work on that final ball, as he was the outlet we needed but he fell short as usual. This is what Aaron Ramsey was heavily criticized for in the 2011/12 season, getting into the right positions and failing to convert.
With the transfer window closing on the 2nd of September, Arsene Wenger has two weeks to set things right or else, he will only have himself to blame. The fans don’t need him to go on a panic buy spending spree like the transfer deadline day of 2011 but to delve into the market to sign some quality players that would contribute immensely to the squad as the season progresses. Arsenal has been extremely ruthless this summer with flushing out its deadwood, and we hope for the same efficiency in bringing a couple of quality players as well.
Arsenal is in dire need of a center back, holding midfielder and striker. Even if Arsenal has missed out of a couple of targets, there are still some quality players that can be purchased before the transfer window closes but their potential arrival may hinge on Arsenal double date with Fenerbahce, as no quality player would fancy playing Thursday night football.
Arsene Wenger and players have asked for calm in the wake of the Aston Villa but is it enough?
Hell no! Spend some &@#%ing money.
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