The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Frankie Hobbs Headshot

Risky or Brave? Arsene Wenger Is Walking a Fine Line With Lack of Activity

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Ask any ex-Arsenal player: Arsene Wenger's greatest attribute is the faith he places in his players. Those same ex-Arsenal players will tell you that this same faith can sometimes be the great man's downfall.

His current Arsenal side are in the best position they have been for a number of years. Before a slight slip-up away at Southampton, the Gunners had occupied the top spot in the Premier League for the majority of the season. The arrival of Mesut Özil has galvanised the club and after years of having a porous defence, the North London club possess arguably the best in the country, if not Europe.

Despite being top for the majority of the season, they still remain third favourites to capture the title. Both Manchester City and Chelsea have deeper squads and are seen by the masses to have the mentality needed to go the distance. Some would argue Arsenal have done well to even be in the position they are in now.

With Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all instating new managers, it is Arsenal's best chance to win the title since 2004.

It is for that reason why Arsenal's activity - or lack of it - was so disappointing. Sure, they were the best team over the calendar year of 2013, but do they really have enough firepower to outlast Manchester City?

Sergio Aguero - Manuel Pellegrini's best striker - recently suffered a hamstring injury. Despite this, the 2011-12 winners can field one of Alvaro Negredo, Edin Džeko or Stefan Jovetíc. If Arsenal's best striker got injured, you would have to fear their season would be in flames. While Lukas Podolski is not a bad player, he has proved unable to play in the lone striker role so far at the Emirates and the less said about Nicklas Bendtner the better.

It is naïve to suggest that the players weren't out there. Arsenal could certainly do with a world-class forward, but that doesn't mean they should only be signing players to upgrade current squad members. James Rodriguez, for example, could have been a player to look at. He's no better than Olivier Giroud, but he could have provided a different option; he could have given Arsenal some reassurances should the big Frenchman go down or need a rest in what will be a brutal title run-in.

Instead, Arsene Wenger decided to sign a mediocre midfielder on loan to cover for Aaron Ramsey's injury. It is a reactive decision. Unfortunately, if Olivier Giroud gets injured, the window is shut so there will be no chance for a similar reactive signing. It is why Wenger needed to be pro-active. Reported deadline day swoops for Papiss Cisse, Miroslav Klose and Saloman Kalou would have been palpable, if not ideal, but to not do anything could prove to be one of Wenger's biggest regrets.

January gave Arsenal the chance to regroup; strengthen and give themselves a really good chance at winning the title. Instead, they have to carefully manage their already thin squad with precision through a tough end to the season. Wenger is one of the best managers ever. To question his position at Arsenal is laughable. But even the best make mistakes sometime. I just hope for his and Arsenal's sake, the decision not to significantly strengthen the squad this January isn't one of them.

Around the Web

Arsene Wenger Manager Profile - Team Arsenal Soccer / Football ...

Arsène Wenger | Football | The Guardian

Respect us! Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain puts Arsenal top as Arsene ...

Arsene Wenger - News, views, gossip, pictures, video - Mirror Online

Arsène Wenger - Goal.com

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger adamant his side can beat Manchester City to ...

Kim Kallstrom: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits 'I would not have signed ...

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hints at summer move for Julian Draxler

Kim Kallstrom move is bizarre but Arsène Wenger defends deadline move

Premier League: Arsene Wenger admits Kim Kallstrom 'gamble'