Fair play to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger – the ship looks steadied

Wenger Statue

Since the uproar following the opening day home defeat to Aston Villa, the Gunners have looked their old selves with three comprehensive victories.

A lot has been made of Arsene Wenger’s inactivity in the transfer market this summer, with young French forward Yaya Sanogo the only addition to the Arsenal squad in the off-season.

With 17 players leaving or being released since the end of last term, the Gunners’ contingent looks lean, with a need for added strength in depth.

An opening day 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at home had the fans outraged and many questioning the French manager’s thinking. There was talk of a club in crisis – that this would finally be the year that the north London side would fall out of the Champions League qualification places and become also-rans.

However, despite the lack of new faces, Wenger said that his team should be, as always, judged by their results on the pitch. Since the final whistle against Aston Villa, which was accompanied by a chorus of boos from the home support, Arsenal have looked like a side capable of challenging for honours.

Yes, there is a lack of strength in depth, and should one or two key men get injured it will be a cause for real concern for the club. But the 5-0 aggregate win over Turkish side Fenerbahce in the Champions League qualifiers and the away win at Fulham show that Arsenal should not be written off just yet.

Many were predicting a tough night at the Sukru Sarakoglu Stadium for the north London side, with a hostile reception for the visitors from the Turkish home support. However, the Gunners never really looked under too much duress and outclassed a seasoned European opponent, winning 3-0.

Fulham’s Craven Cottage can be a tricky place to go, with many a top-six side falling victim to a motivated host over the years. With the Cottagers strengthening over the summer and winning their opening game away to Sunderland, another tight game was anticipated.

However, Arsenal dominated possession and the game from the first minute, scoring twice in the first half when it could have been double that and eased to a 3-1 win against their London rivals. Again the performance was accomplished and the visitors’ superiority to their opponents evident.

A competent performance in the return leg against Fenerbahce and a 2-0 win made it three commanding wins from three games, with any talk of a crises at the Emirates Stadium well and truly put to bed. Aaron Ramsey continued his mightily impressive start to the season with two goals in the win.

The north London derby will be played at the Emirates this Sunday, with Arsenal entering as favourites after getting their season back on track.

Arsenal still need to sign some players before the transfer window closes, but the fans must trust Arsene Wenger, who has transformed the club since taking the reigns in 1996.

image: © dyobmit

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