When Arsenal won 3-1 at Fulham last January, their midfield consisted of Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Alexander Hleb. The Gunners cruised to a 3-0 victory and all was well with the world. Wind the clock forward seven months and none of the above quartet featured in the 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage. It’s little wonder that one member of the squad is despairing of the current situation!
While Cesc Fabregas may have committed himself to Arsenal in the short-term, most of his comments seem to run along the lines of “we need to win something this season”. Failure to do this might well result in the Spaniard looking elsewhere, especially with the Daily Telegraph reporting that the midfielder has criticised Arsene Wenger’s reliance on youth, claiming that they are less skilful as a team.
He said: “Our squad is a bit short on numbers and we are very young. It’s hard to imagine a midfield where I am the oldest member.
“We find it very hard to win matches, as we don’t possess enough experience.
“I scored 13 goals last season but then I had plenty of allies. Rosicky was around, Flamini covered every blade of grass and Hleb was like a brother to me out there.
“The team played with a lot of skilful touches, we were as solid as a brick wall and our opponents would not get a look in.
“Now none of those players and in the side and I feel like a rare being. We are more defensive-minded and sturdy as a team but we don’t play so much skilful stuff.”
Wenger cannot be blamed for Rosicky’s continued absence through injury, and some would argue that the acquisition of Samir Nasri was a suitable replacement for Hleb. However, if the Gunners were too wet behind the ears to win the Premier League last season, surely the same applies this term, with dropped points against Fulham, Hull and Sunderland pointing towards another difficult season for Arsenal. Should supporters get used to being the third or fourth best team in the league?