For the last few years there has been the feeling that Arsenal did not have enough top quality players to really compete with the big clubs at the top level in the Premier League and Champions League. That was obviously not helped by the financial situation which forced Arsene Wenger to work with a shoestring budget and also to sell the best players at the club.
But over the last year or so, ever since the Frenchman surprised us all by smashing the club transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil, those financial problems seem to have been on the wane. But the football media and pundits on TV soon found another stick to beat the Gunners with. This time it was the question of whether our squad had the strength in depth to succeed.
Oh how they loved it when our title challenge faltered last season and the likes of Michael Owen gleefully pronounced that they had been proved right. Well yes, but there was the small matter of our massive ongoing injury list to consider although no one seemed to keen to do that.
We have had the same problem this season and I think that is why we are too far away to challenge Chelsea this year, but our England international left back Kieran Gibbs is adamant that Arsenal do now have enough quality and depth in our squad to fight on all three fronts, as a Sky Sports report reveals.
Gibbs said, “It is probably the first time it has been like this for a while.
“It has been easier (to get selected) in the past. Now, when you keep everyone fit for a while, obviously you can only fit 11 men on the pitch.
“We need a big squad and we certainly have the squad to compete on three fronts at the moment.
“And we are hungry to defend the (FA Cup) trophy. We are not just going to think that, because we won it last year, it is not in our priorities, because all three competitions are.”
THere does seem to be a lot better and stronger competition for places in the Arsenal team now and Gibbs’ own battle with Nacho Monreal is a prime example.
He continued, “I have to be patient before I play and just take my opportunities.
“We spoke the other week and the boss just said that, since I came back from my injury, Nacho (Monreal) has done well and given me a good challenge.
“He wants me to stay focused and, the more both of us are on the top of our games, the better it is for the team.”
So with Gabriel now competing at centre back, Bellerin and Chambers covering for Debuchy, Coquelin impressing in Arteta’s absence, Ozil and Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere and then all the strikers, have Arsenal put our recent deficiencies behind us?