Arsenal supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in the recent times after seeing their side lose 3-1 to Swansea City on Tuesday night, although their deadline day deals have improved the mood among our resident Gunners.
Arsene Wenger’s men were comfortably second-best at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday with a brace from Sam Clucas as well as a Jordan Ayew strike seeing the Swans deservedly come from behind to secure a precious three points in their battle to avoid relegation. And while that display seriously angered many Arsenal fans lining up at the bar, their deadline day deal to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well as news of Mesut Ozil’s contract extension has at least given them cause for optimism ahead of the rest of the season.
Thus, there have been some pretty happy Gunners in the Tavern in the last few hours, many of whom are very excited at the prospect of seeing Aubameyang don the Arsenal red in the years to come.
However, while landing the £58.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) is undoubtedly a great addition, it’s a deal which still won’t turn Wenger’s side into Premier League title contenders, as there remains huge question marks over the team’s defensive capabilities.
The Gunners have shipped 34 goals in their 25 Premier League games so far this term, which is more than any other side in the top seven. Quite simply, that tally isn’t good enough.
Yet this defensive vulnerability hasn’t just happened overnight. Wenger has struggled for a while now to find an adequate partner for Frenchman Laurent Koscielny in the heart of his backline, while the likes of Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, and Petr Cech have all suffered drops in form in recent times.
To win the Premier League title, one simply must have a strong and solid defensive unit – Manchester City have it this season with Nicolas Otamendi outstanding and goalkeeper Ederson just as good; Chelsea last term with Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, and Thibaut Courtois; Leicester City the campaign before.
More often than not, the winners are also in the top two or three in terms of fewest goals conceded – Arsenal are currently nowhere near those heights.
Yes, Aubameyang’s arrival is an exciting one and will serve to improve what is an already talented frontline, but as Liverpool proved under Brendan Rodgers a few years back, and to a lesser extent under Jurgen Klopp in recent times, the forward players can only do so much.
City boss Pep Guardiola has spent over £200 million on defensive players since he took over at the Etihad Stadium back in 2016, and look at where he could well be taking that side both this season and in the coming years – Wenger must now do the same.
So while the Gunners deserve credit in the January transfer window for minimising the impact of Alexis Sanchez’s departure, both through Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s arrival, they again neglected, or indeed weren’t able, to improve their backline.
As such, while the addition of Aubameyang is an exciting one for Gunners fans, it’s a not a deal which is going to turn Arsenal into Premier League title contenders.
Arsenal fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!