Coming into their 2013-14 Premier League opener against Aston Villa at home at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal were in need of getting off to a good start. The need for a good start was necessary in order to calm the anxiety of the lack of transfer activity by manager Arsene Wenger after promises that reinforcements would be brought in.
At the end of the 90 minutes, it became quite clear that Arsenal are in deep trouble as it lost to Aston Villa 3-1 in a game where despite starting off playing well, the team disappointed in their display. Things began positively for Arsenal as Olivier Giroud opened the scoring as he flicked in the first goal of the game in a play which was set up by a great run from attacking midfielder Alex Olade-Chamberlain, whose pass set up the Arsenal goal. The early goal for Arsenal would temporarily lift the anxiety amongst fans at the stadium but it would not last long as the issues the team failed to address during the summer would rear itself soon after.
The weakness of the Arsenal defense, specifically their penchant to ball watch would lead to the first goal Christian Benteke would score despite the best efforts of Wojciech Szczesny. Aside from being a defense that can ball watch too much for its own good, Arsenal’s lack of depth with regards to defenders would later on be the team’s downfall beginning with left fullback Kieran Gibbs leaving the game with a cut over his eye and Carl Jenkinson having to come on to replace Gibbs. As a result of the re-shuffle that occurred, Aston Villa were able to improve their attacks in the final third, something that could have been resolved had Arsenal done the necessary to sign a player like Luiz Gustavo.
Aston Villa would take the lead for good as Benteke scored on a penalty from a subsequent penalty in which referee Anthony Taylor judged Laurent Koscielny to have brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor inside the penalty area. With Antonio Luna scoring Aston Villa’s third to seal the win, all the anger of the fans rightfully was directed at Arsene Wenger who made promises he clearly has not followed through on. The defeat represented the first loss Arsenal have suffered on opening day of a Premier League season since 2000.
The fact that Arsenal lost is alone is not the only issue for its fans. The issue(s) at hand after today’s performance are a microcosm of all that has gone wrong and that has not been done during the summer by manager Arsene Wenger. The fact is that this team is woefully thin in terms of depth and quality, as evidence by the defensive breakdowns once Gibbs had to leave injured. An when it was time to try and change momentum upfront with attacking players, aside from Santi Carzola, Arsenal were not able to be able to bring such a player, something that would not have been an issue had they done what was necessary to bring in a forward like a Gonzalo Higuain.
Arsenal head into Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against Fenerbache with a thin defense and low morale. Yet, what is just as worrying for Arsenal and it’s fans is that this season could be even more disappointing than expected and the sad truth is that is all the fault of Arsene Wenger and his stubborn, inactive, and cowardly ways during this summer transfer period.