Arsenal drawing their first Champions League match to Borussia Dortmund is yet another sign that the side is struggling, and are facing an uphill battle to get back to their best.
After losing to Manchester United 8-2 two and a half weeks ago, the Gunners had some serious work to do, and making five signings in the last 24 hours of the deadline window gave fans hope that change might finally have arrived at the north London club.
But Arsenal moved on to beat Swansea 1-0, and clock up an unconvincing first win of the season, and then when they thought they had their first Champions League group stage match in the bag with a 1-0 lead last night, Borussia Dortmund forward Ivan Perisic spoiled the party in the 88th minute with an equaliser.
Looking at Arsenal’s last three seasons, a bleak picture is painted for Arsene Wenger’s new look side, who are without Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy for the first time since 2008. In the last season, the Gunners won or drew their first seven matches, including Champions League games, and clocked up two 6-0 wins in their first five appearances.
The 2009-2010 season was similar, with Arsenal winning 11 out of 13 matches after their campaign began. And in 2008, when Nasri joined from Marseille for £12 million, the statistics are more or less the same; in the first nine matches, the Gunners only lost one.
Good starts are not the only factor necessary to a side staking their claim on the top four, but it certainly helps a great deal to build some points on to the board. And with a shocking goal difference of -7, the worst in the Barclays Premier League at the moment, the Gunners have a long way to come back and not much experience to know how to do it.
Wenger is, as always, seen as the rock to save Arsenal and create another team of young players who are seen as the next best future European talents. But with the draw, win and two losses on the board to cap the worst start to the season for Arsenal since 1999, even the Frenchman himself might be a little lost for how to get back the points and into contention for next season’s Champions League.