Arsenal has entered the business end of the season, but a stark reminder is back, notifying them that you need big players and a squad with depth to compete at the top level.
The Gunners have many questions on that front, and things may just be coinciding against them at this crucial hour.
The Gunners are coming from an emphatic 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, a match that exposed their soft underbelly. Mikel Arteta’s side had the possession but was outplayed, outmuscled, and outfoxed.
That is bound to happen time to even the best of teams.
Arsenal opted to go for young players in the summer, indicating they were preparing for the future.
They didn’t go for any superstars, but most of the players were, at best, unknowns. Instead of strengthening, the club was more focused on offloading players during the winter transfer window in January.
The result is that Arsenal was left with a thin squad, short of options, and injuries to Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu left them exposed as they traveled to Crystal Palace.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Thomas Partey suffered a thigh injury in the Palace game, and now the Gunners are forced to use makeshift players in those positions.
The January dealings left the team with two strikers whose contracts are running out; one performing below par and the other still struggling to fit in as an Arsenal player despite rising through the Arsenal youth ranks.
The top four race is gaining pace, and Arsenal are no longer in the strong position they were a few weeks back, and with critical injuries in defensive positions, the football tips today will not be so favorable for them.
Arteta has to find a solution to the left-back, especially after Nuno Tavares had a shambolic outing, costing Arsenal two first-half goals in the Palace game; at a time, Tierney will be out for a lengthy period.
The Gunners got forced to move Granit Xhaka to left-back, and he will serve in that position as a makeshift until Tierney returns.
The Swiss midfielder is known to have error-prone performances, especially when under pressure, and Arsenal will surely regret not getting a good backup in January after letting Sead Kolasinac leave.
Sambi Lokonga will slot in after Partey’s injury in midfield but has warmed the bench for the better part of the season.
He may struggle fitting in as the anchorman Party has been, and the fact that Xhaka will be playing out on the left leaves him as the leading man in central midfield.
Arsenal got linked with Bruno Guimaraes in January, but reports have it that they couldn’t reach the valuation, and the Brazilian headed to Newcastle United.
That miss will haunt them, and the pressure to finish in the top four will not make it any easier.