Alright, September is here, and since the sales of Toure and Adebayor we have signed precisely nobody. If you told me then that this would be the case, I would have been unsurprised, but exasperated. The fact that I'm not so annoyed now is due, I guess, to the first four results of the season. BUT, the feeling remains, and is heightened by the implosion against United, that those games could turn out the mother of all false dawns.
Firstly it's necessary to point out that ours is a squad that is terribly injury-prone. Think of our first-choice eleven- not many of the players therein have avoided fairly lengthy lay-offs at some point or another. While the squad is, superficially, a fairly large one and in certain areas appears to have a surfeit of quality, this is rendered an illusion by the injury situation. consider, say, that sort of half-striker position that many of our players seem best-suited to. Nasri- injured. Rosicky- just "returning" from injury but to all intents and purposes, perennially injured. Walcott- injured. Vela- injured. This situation leads us to having to play Eboue as part of a front three. I'm not saying Wenger should have signed yet another player of this type, I'm only illustrating the enormity of the injury situation. Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott, Wilshere- that's EIGHT players that should be in line to play one of those positions, if necessary, and we're still reduced to playing Eboue there (admittedly he was picked ahead of three of those, that's for another argument).
So if this is the case for the seemingly best-stocked position in the squad, then what of central midfield? Are we two more injuries away from seeing the naive and ineffective Ramsey commanding a starting role? Or will Wenger keep messing with Nasri when he comes back, shuffling him from one position to another? As if Bendtner or Eboue on the right of a front three, or RVP in the middle, don't constitute enough square pegs in round holes, why not another? And what happens when Song goes to the African Nations? Diaby gets another chance in the centre to show us why he's NOT the next Patrick Vieira, or even the next carlton Palmer? That's if he's not in the treatment room for that whole month.
And then what about centre-back? Gallas and Vermaelen look great but do we really expect not to be missing one or both for periods of the season? And what then? Senderos? We've been shamelessly trying to flog him all summer. Silvestre? Enough's been said about him elsewhere. Djourou? Injury-prone aswell (but he does have a reputation as a good prospect because, well... for no reason at all as far as I've seen).
And then we've a first choice keeper who wouldn't get into more than half the teams in the Premiership. His understudy handed chelsea an FA cup final place last season.
You'll hear Wenger talk of a huge squad but a squad's not huge if half of it is unavailable. chasing the game against United- Arshavin breaks down injured- is replaced by Aaron Ramsey. He's pulling the wool over everybody's eyes. People will say he's always right in these situations. What made him right not to replace Flamini last summer? Was it our horrendous first half of the season, losing to Hull and Stoke among others? No, it was our whoopdifuckingdoo fourth placed finish. We will NOT get away with the same loss of form this season.
OK, we've looked the second-best team in the league so far, but Saturday showed how just one or two inadequate players can derail our lofty hopes. Our squad has already taken on that familiar decimated look without the players even having got much action. The last two seasons, for me, have ended with questions to be asked over inactivity and bad decisions in the transfer market. It's getting tiresome and if this season ends in a similar fashion then the clamour against the manager will rightly louden. As I've said so often in the last two years, and so often in vain, I hope I'm wrong.