After Arsenal’s opening day defeat to Aston Villa, manager Arsene Wenger has had a tougher time than usual justifying his lack of spending over the summer transfer window. Arsenal fans were appeased slightly by a comfortable 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbache in the Champions League play-offs. However, injury problems could well hamper the team’s performance over the coming weeks, especially during the upcoming derby with Tottenham.
Alex Oxdale-Chamberlain has suffered a knee ligament injury that will see him out of action for at least six weeks. In the bruising second-leg encounter against Fenerbache, forward Lucaz Podolski picked up a hamstring injury that will take three weeks to heal. Aaron Ramsey sustained a groin strain in injury time and Jack Wilshere has ankle problems.
These setbacks have forced Wenger to reconsider his lack of spending on new recruits. After the game he said (of the injuries): “Yes this forces my hand…We have to see how bad the injuries are but I cannot tell you more than that we are on the market. The whole world knows that now but I cannot give you more answers at the moment.” The transfer window will soon come to a close and Wenger has failed to sign any of his intended targets. By way of contrast, Tottenham, their North London rivals, have spent upwards of £90 million. You can check out the odds on Sunday’s derby between the two clubs at Nordicbet live stream.
He has expressed his interest in Juan Mata who he almost signed two years ago before the Spaniard joined Chelsea. There has been speculation that Mata’s father and his agent were guests in the Emirates Stadium director’s box. Wenger also has his eyes on Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye, Angel Di Maria, and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas. Mesut Ozil, also of Madrid, was another player on the hit-list but he has recently announced that he doesn’t intend to leave Spain.
It remains to be seen whether Wenger has left it all too late to close any deals and whether the team can ride the injury storm. Either way, with deep unrest among supporters, something has to break soon.