Arsenal: Architects of their own downfall?

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Arsenal are facing up to the prospect of fielding youth team players in their crucial Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce, leaving further bafflement over Arsene Wenger's transfer policies.

Mikel Arteta, Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal were all sidelined going in to their opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain look set to join them after sustaining injuries during the match.

All these injuries add up to a threadbare squad going in to the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday. But how has it come to this so early on in the season?

For the past two summers, Arsenal have been desperately trying to get rid of a number of high-earning squad players.

The promise was; once players like Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci and Andrey Arshavin were off the books, Arsenal would have freed up enough cash to offer higher wages to better players.

They succeeded in releasing these players this summer with eight first team players leaving permanently and three on season long loans.

These departures were supposed to cut the fat from the beef that was a talented Arsenal squad but all it has done is stripped it down to brittle bones.

With Wenger yet to bring in one senior player this summer despite boasting about his increased spending power, fans have been left bewildered and confused.

No one can deny that the Arsenal manager has been unfortunate with his squad in the early days of the Premier League season.

Eight first team injuries is an unpredictable occurrence but Wenger's lack of transfer activity has highlighted a preventable injury crisis.

The sending off of Laurent Koscielny along with the injuries to Sagna and Gibbs left Arsenal playing Ramsey and Lukas Podolski in the final minutes of the game against Aston Villa.

Unsurprisingly, they conceded the damning third goal that convinced so many Arsenal fans to leave the game early.

The need for action in the transfer market has never been greater for this crumbling squad and other clubs will sense that urgency.

By waiting for this crisis to arrive, Arsenal have lost their negotiating power. Clubs can now demand more money for their players, knowing it won't be long before Wenger agrees.

Any singings made between now and the end of the transfer window will be significantly more expensive then they would have been in July.

For a man as intelligent as Wenger, you have to wonder why he has let the situation come to this.

The performance of Saturday was not disastrous and it did follow a 10-game unbeaten run that saw them finish fourth last season. But an intelligent man such as

Wenger must have known that anything but a convincing win would've seen fans agitating in the stands.

What was said to be a tremendous spirit around the squad will no doubt be feeling less so as the few fit players board the plane to Turkey.

It seems that with only one match-day played in the Premier League, Arsenal are facing a season defining week.

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