Arsenal Need Victories Off the Pitch in Crucial Week

Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Edu Gaspar (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Edu Gaspar (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

Three goals. Three points. Clean sheet. Job done.

No win is ever perfect under the watchful eye of Mikel Arteta, but he wouldn’t have been able to find much fault in the opening day win over Fulham on Saturday. Oh, and did we mention that Spurs lost at home? Indeed, all in all, a not too shabby couple of days for Arsenal supporters.

It’s still not wise to get overly carried away after beating a poor Cottagers side. Tempering expectations rings true with the new players just as much as it does with us as fans. Distinctly tougher fixtures await in the coming weeks – pretty much every game after we host West Ham this coming weekend.

More from Arsenal News

Until then, we have news expected this week regarding a new contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but while this piece of transfer news is inevitable, the rest seems still some distance off.

As previously touched upon, the squad is so unbalanced. Arteta himself has made this very clear, but it doesn’t require years of experience and a long-standing background in the sport to know that there are far too many defenders and not enough midfielders. Straightforward stuff.

The goalkeeping scenario is being worked on, as David Raya and Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson are linked as Emiliano Martinez replacements, but the volume of deadwood that needs selling and the sprinklings of quality needed in certain areas of the pitch are as of yet unresolved.

Futures of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis – three players nowhere to be seen at Craven Cottage – we’re believed to assume are being worked on, but all those cases appear to have gone cold.

There is no doubting that Edu and Arteta, although more prominently the former, are working tirelessly behind the scenes to get business concluded, much of which is the unenviable tasks of convincing clubs to buy players Arsenal don’t want anymore. For one reason or another.

Whether it’s Houssem Aouar or Thomas Partey, whomever comes in needs to do so, ideally, before or in the immediate aftermath of that West Ham clash. Three days later the squad travel north for Carabao Cup duty, with a six-day wait after that for a daunting trip to Liverpool.

From there, the fixture list gets the palms very sweaty.

Time to embed and adjust before that fiery run-in is imperative. As seen in the victory over Fulham, Arsenal have a squad capable of seeing off the supposed ‘lesser’ teams without any major issues. It’s the trips to Old Trafford and Anfield where the steel in midfield and ability to unpick a Virgil van Dijk-shaped lock will be telling unless the additions are made.

Mohamed Elneny put in a solid shift up against Tom Cairney and Harrison Reed, but when it’s Georginio Wijnaldum or Bruno Fernandes? Yeah, it’s not exactly reassuring.

What’s more, with confidence in the team high and momentum building, the foot can’t be taken off the gas. As stated, the transfer side of operations is a position few would be overly keen on taking upon themselves. It’s damn hard work. Even ignoring the obvious global pandemic affected market.

Next. Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: 4 Things We Learned From Premier League Opener. dark

Yet while the waves are only waist high, the crest is still there to be ridden on. This could be a telling week for the rest of the season that if taken advantage of, setting the wheels firmly in motion.