Arsenal suffered defeat in their opening game of the Premier League season today, going down 4-3 to Liverpool at the Emirates.
Despite mounting something of a comeback at 4-1 down, Arsenal fans were mindful of the fact that they had witnessed Jurgen Klopp’s side rip through their makeshift defence and score three times in the first twenty minutes of the second half.
As such, they could not hide their anger and roundly booed the team, and the manager, off at the final whistle.
One man who empathised with the cause of the supporters was Gunners legend Thierry Henry. The former French international was part of the Sky Sports punditry team this afternoon, and praised the support from the stands when it looked like the team was sinking without trace as Sadio Mané made it 4-1 to Liverpool.
Henry fully understood why their ire was mostly reserved for Arsene Wenger and not the young team on the pitch.
“They were booed off, and they were kind of nice before that – they didn’t say anything at 4-1.
“They didn’t have a go at anyone, they supported the team, but at the end I think it’s almost fair if they are a bit upset with the game, another bad start to a season.”
The topic of Arsenal’s frugality also came up once more. Wenger has generally spent less than his Premier League rivals in recent years, but Henry and fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp argued that their lack of significant investment in a striker, especially once they lost Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012, has cost them repeatedly.
“We’ve been told, towards the end of last season, that ‘Arsenal was wealthy, we have money, we can compete with anyone on the market.’
Season starts, ‘we can’t compete on the market.’ Well which one is it? I just don’t understand.”
“In his programme notes, Arsene Wenger mentions the fact that defensively they’ve been really sound in the past few years, it’s just that in the top end of the field they need to get the goals.
“The problem they’ve had is that in the past seven years they’ve only had one player to score 20+ goals, and that was Robin van Persie, These players that are going to get you 23, 23 goals – they cost a lot of money.”
Henry and Redknapp also believe that Wenger should have played Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud should have played today, despite their involvement in the latter stages of Euro 2016.
The trio were left out of today’s game, the absence of Koscielny in particular was felt as Per Mertescker and Gabriel were injured.
“I have no sympathy. I thought the young lads did OK but they should not be thrown into a situation like that.
“You could have had Giroud for 10 minutes, Koscielny…I am sure Payet will play some part for West Ham tomorrow.”