It’s amazing how one win can change so many peoples’ attitudes. Before the match against Fenerbahce, most Arsenal fans were in panic mode, and understandably so. A lack of transfers coming in, mounting injury problems and an opening-day loss to Aston Villa had supporters on the edge as a huge Champions League playoff tie loomed. Arsenal responded to the pressure and put together a spirited performance to take a commanding 3-0 lead back home to the Emirates. After the win, it seems that there is now much more optimism from the fans.
This win will not solve all of the problems by any means, but it certainly is a start. Barring an amazing comeback in the second leg, Arsenal should advance to the group stages of the Champions League. Participation in the group stages has many positives including transfer leverage and extra money. Manager Arsène Wenger should use both of these positives to bring players in before the transfer window closes on September 2.
In a post-game interview, Wenger stated, “the transfer market starts for me now and a lot of activity will happen between now and September 2. From August 21 until September 2, you have 12 days, so a lot will happen. It starts now.”
Most fans might blow this off as the usual feel-good talk regarding transfers, especially after a win, but with such little time left and an injury list that continues to grow, I believe the manager is telling the truth. Call me an optimist, but only a fool would risk going until January with as thin of a squad as Arsenal has now, and Wenger is no fool. Stubborn? Maybe, but this man has guided the Gunners to the Champions League every season since he took over in 1996.
I know that the past does not atone for all future mistakes. Missing out of Gonzalo Higuain and Luiz Gustavo was quite frustrating to follow, but the rumor-mill is back in full swing again with some big names being thrown around. The manager must do some quality work in the final days of the window if he wants to achieve Champions League football next season.
Wenger has a knack for pulling off great transfers. He has had some real stinkers in the past, but many of the gems that he has uncovered have become world-class players. Hopefully the Frenchman has some tricks up his sleeves for the home stretch and Arsenal can pick up some top quality players.
I expect the club to be very busy in the coming days because if the squad stays the way it is now, they won’t be able to make it the whole season without a personnel crisis. I fully expect Wenger to do what is right even though the summer has been extremely frustrating.
In Arsène We Trust!