As Arsenal fans gear up for the first Champions League match of the new season, and one which could prove to be decisive about which club finishes on top of group A, we are all hoping that this season sees the Gunners make a proper fist of it rather than going out in the first knockout phase.
That has been our fate in the last six years but will Arsenal do better this time? There are two very different opinions on this from Arsene Wenger and the former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand. That is hardly a surprise to be honest but the fact they both use the same examples to back up their different theories is a bit odd.
The Mirror reports Wenger claiming that the additions of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi during the summer transfer window have added the experience and extra quality that Arsenal need to compete in the competition.
The Frenchman said, “I was used to playing with my younger squads when you build a stadium because you don’t have the resources. Now I have a team with more experienced players.
“The squad is between 24 and 30, basically. That’s where you have a good combination of physical strength and experience. But we want to keep giving chances to young players and get the mixture right.
“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men. Certainly I haven’t had a squad of players [like this] for a long time, who have enough experience to compete.”
Ferdinand, however, claims in the Evening Standard that Wenger’s signings have not helped our chances in Europe at all.
He reckons that we have not signed the right type of player and that we still lack the leaders and the players with character on the lines of Vieira, Campbell and Henry that you need to go all the way and win the big trophies. For me the jury is out and the summer signings need time to show their worth.
How can Rio say they are not the right players when they have not even played for us in Europe yet? But do you think he might have a point?