SportsProf

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Arsenal: Were Robbie Earl and Robbie Mustoe Right?

Sadly, I think that they are.

Yesterday, on NBC's coverage, they both offered that what distinguished Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger was decisiveness in addressing and filling needs.  Last season, after having spent buckets of money, Chelsea struggled both at midfield and upfront, owing their third-place finish in large part to a stingy defense.  So what did Mourinho do?  He went out and got a creative midfielder in Cesc Fabregas and striker Diego Costa.  The result?  Chelsea have been scoring goals the way Liverpool and Manchester City were last season.

In contrast, coming into the season Arsenal knew that it abounded in wingers, defenders and offensive-minded midfielders, but not defensive midfielders or strikers.  So what did Wenger do?  He went out and paid more for a winger (Alexis Sanchez) than Mourinho did for Costa, but with several hours to go on transfer deadline day -- and with key injuries at defensive midfield and striker -- he still has not acquired one of either.  Atop that, Arsenal also needs an additional defender after the departure of Thomas Vermaelen to Bacelona.  And despite prolific rumors on the internet, Wenger hasn't acquired Marco Reus, Edinson Cavani or Radamel Falcao, nor William Carvalho nor Sokraitis.  Which means hi team remain small in size, desperately thin at striker and without anything new at defensive midfield.  What looked like a season where the Gunners could finish in the top three now looks like they'll battle United for fourth, coming in behind Chelsea, City and perhaps Liverpool.

Last season, Wenger tortured the faithful until inking center mid Mesult Ozil on transfer deadline day, so there remains hope that he can improve his striker situation significantly.  For, if he does not, it is hard to see the Gunners advancing meaningfully in the Champions League or winning key match ups in the Premiership.  The Gunners have talent, that is true, but will they have enough offensive versatility to make opponents fear them and enable them to pour on the goal scoring.  After seeing Yaya Sanogo struggle at Leicester on Sunday, it seems clear that the Gunners need help up front.

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