The opening day of a new football season is usually a time for boundless joy and unbridled optimism. As a new campaign gets underway, fans and managers alike should be full of hope and expectation over just what success the ensuing months might bring.
For Arsenal and their long-serving boss Arsene Wenger, however, the first throws of the 2013/14 Premier League season were fraught with anger, confusion and sheer frustration. The 3-1 defeat suffered at home to Paul Lambert's youthful but exuberant Aston Villa team saw supporters at the Emirates launch into a venomous tirade that lambasted, among others, Frenchman Wenger for his total lack of success in making use of a reportedly sizable transfer budget to strengthen the Gunners' squad.
In the days since the loss that provoked such a mutiny , the speculation linking new players with the club has rapidly intensified, with talented Real Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria and Newcastle United's Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul among the latest names to be persistently linked with a potential switch to North London.
Although partially understandable, the aforementioned reaction following the Villa clash was mostly ill-conceived and rather premature. After all, it isn't exactly as if Wenger has been sat at home idly twiddling his thumbs while his competitors have been out striving to complete deals for big-name imports.
Arsenal have been in the market for greater attacking prowess, as was clearly evidenced by their protracted but ultimately fruitless pursuits of strikers such as Argentinian international Gonzalo Higuain and wantaway Liverpool frontman Luis Suarez. What the highly controversial and unsuccessful bid for the latter may demonstrate is that Wenger's lack of serious transfer activity in recent years has left him slightly out of touch and vulnerable with regard to the state of the current market, but that cannot solely be blamed on him. While the club's somewhat frugal approach to transfers in recent seasons has been commonly attributed to Wenger alone, the board have been arguably equally as culpable.
There can be no doubting that Arsenal are in need of reinforcements, but, as Wenger's players have proved subsequently this week, the squad they currently possess is not short of talent and remains very capable of successfully implementing the manager's aesthetically pleasing brand of football.
The 3-0 triumph over Turkish outfit Fenerbahce on Wednesday was utterly ruthless while yesterday's comfortable victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage provided an ample demonstration that while Arsenal reportedly continue to covet greater attacking options, the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud are top players at this level and should not be instantly consigned to the scrapheap.
Arsenal need greater strength in depth, there can be no doubt whatsoever about that. But any talk of a crisis at the Emirates is simply melodramatic and utterly premature.
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