There are few times when you see Arsenal fans make a huge meal of a situation in the club.
Besides the “Spend! Spend! Spend!” chants and cardboards that followed the opening day defeat to Aston Villa last season, we are generally amongst the most peaceable supporters in the whole of Europe. Win, lose or draw, we’ve always believed in sticking with the manager. But if Wenger’s statement that the defender’s performance against Anderlecht on Tuesday “was not the worry” is to be deeply read as connoting that a defensive addition was not absolutely necessary in January, it won’t only re-ignite the spend chants, the #WengerOut army will have more armoury – infact, it would be the declaration of Police Action.
If the Arsenal fans had been ready to bear with the manager over his initial decision not to strengthen the defence in the summer after watching Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen leave the club, the debacle on Tuesday Night- which was very attributable to both central defenders – was a reason to lose their patience. Wenger had known that his team were short in number especially in central defence, with just Mertesacker and Koscielny as the main options. Calum Chambers was brought in as a long-term successor to Mats Debuchy while Nacho Monreal has always been a left back. Add Kieran Gibbs to the five and you have just six senior defenders available to the Gunners for the entire campaign, a fault which was sounded early enough as a potential weak spot in the team in mounting any sustained challenge going forward.
The gaps left in the team due to injuries to Debuchy and Koscielny have proven the manager wrong if he had thought he did the right thing. Calling on Hector Bellerin and Isaac Hayden has not worked out for him as an efficient solution and there is no way he is not going to seek reinforcement via the transfer market in January.
But beyond the increasing of staff strength, the Arsenal defence is in need of a mild shake-up. Despite the slight improvement noticeable since the appointment of Steve Bould as Wenger’s Number 2 in 2012, the defenders available to carry out the work may sometimes appear in adequate. For all the goods which the partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny have enjoyed over the past 12 months, they must be offered good competition or risk becoming complacent. The kind where a young Rafael Varane’s presence on the bench causes Sergio Ramos and Pepe to produce their best, where Dante and Jerome Boateng are kept on their feet by the sight of Benatia and where a natural left-back as good as Filipe Luis who was a major force in a La Liga title-winning team is made to fight for his place with right-footed Cesar Azpilicueta.
Until we begin to have this kind of stiff competition in our defence like the one we have in midfield positions, we may continue to score goals with Alexis and Chamberlain forward, but ship as much with square pegs in round holes at the back.
And how exactly do we get to ensure this competition this season if Wenger doesn’t buy in January?
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.