The Gunners have forked out over €62 million to acquire the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy, but the club only narrowly beat Crystal Palace and drew 0-0 with Besiktas
Despite a summer of record investment Arsenal’s stuttering start to the new season has done little to suggest they have solved the issues that have undermined their pursuit of major silverware in recent years.
The Gunners struggled past Crystal Palace at the weekend, requiring a scrambled last-minute Aaron Ramsey winner to secure three points, and were fortunate to escape from Istanbul with a goalless draw against Besiktas in Tuesday’s Champions League play-off.
The emergence of Calum Chambers has rendered the need for reinforcement at centre-half less urgent, while the club are expected to confirm the arrival of Kostas Manolas imminently. Neither, however, could be described as the dominant leader Arsenal have been missing since Sol Campbell marshalled the Invincibles through their unbeaten season.
Despite a raft of midfield options available at his disposal Arsene Wenger is yet to add the defensive specialist that would neatly compliment his band of attacking artists. Mikel Arteta has filled in manfully in that position over the course of the last two seasons but has regularly been overpowered and overburdened when he has come up against the league’s heavyweight opposition.
The Spaniard is an injury concern for Saturday’s trip to Everton after he came off against the Turkish side to be replaced by the experienced but indisciplined Mathieu Flamini who collected his customary yellow card within moments of entering the fray.
At the other end of the pitch, Olivier Giroud gave an error-strewn performance that once again highlighted the deficiencies that all too often rear their head on the big occasions.
The Frenchman began the season on the bench behind his compatriot Yaya Sanogo, still searching for his first goal in a competitive fixture in English football, which suggests Wenger’s faith in the former Montpellier man is not as total as it once was.
Giroud fluffed Arsenal’s best chance against Besiktas, flinching at Aaron Ramsey’s delightful through ball, while his dithering and lack of composure in the final third regularly broke up his side’s momentum on the break.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Wenger has just over a week to upgrade his squad but should a powerful, experienced centre-half, a disciplined midfield water carrier or a prolific and proven striker be the Arsenal manager’s priority?