First of all you have to decide whether the former Arsenal forward and current TV pundit Charlie Nicholas has a point and if he does, whether it is a big problem for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players to overcome. The fact that the Scot made his claim about the Gunners before we struggled to a draw in the north London derby certainly supports the theory he put forward that Arsenal are still suffering the same problems that affected us last season.
Nicholas told Sky Sports that he feels that any improvement in the Arsenal side of the current season is only a very small one, despite the fact that ahead of the clash with Spurs we had taken 25 points which is a significant improvement on the 17 points we had at the same point last year.
He said, “I think Arsenal are what they are, I don’t think it’s dramatically improved, it’s slightly better.
“The cohesion of the team domestically is a bit better and they’re coping at the moment without the vast injuries that they have.
“I think the vulnerabilities Arsenal have been there for the last eight years.
“Everybody knows you can get at them defensively, they’ve improved a bit as their record this season tells you and they’re eight points better off than they were this time last season. It’s a team that’s improved in terms of the performances of Ozil in particular going forward.
“Sanchez we know what he gives you. Giroud is not playing well for me yet but he’s nicking a few goals so the positive side is still the attacking side.
“I’m still unsure whether Cazorla is right for certain games in the deep lying midfield.
“He’s got wonderful ability, two great feet but when you’re asking him to do the other side of these games the hard yards, it’s a difficult process for him. I think he was one of those who were exposed against Bayern.”
It is hard for us to gauge just how much the injury situation is affecting the Gunners at the minute, but you would have to assume that having the likes of Koscielny and Cazorla fully fit, and also having the likes of Walcott, Ramsey and Bellerin available for selection would give us a much better chance of beating the spuds.
But the suggestion that we are only a little better this time around could be backed up by the struggles of our big rivals like Chelsea, Liverpool and even Man City. The league leaders have been having to cope without two of their vital stars in the shape of Sergio Aguero and David Silva, so the news on the injury website physioroom.com that both are due back in action after the international break, could spell trouble for Arsenal.
City also have Zabaleta and Nasri due back straight after the break, so will Champagne Charlie´s gloomy assessment of Arsenal prove to be correct? And if so, what can Wenger and Arsenal do about it?