Arsenal have started the new Premier League season exactly how fans feared they might after a less than impressive transfer season – with a loss.
A 3-4 defeat at home to Liverpool is the clearest indication yet that Gunners’ boss Arsène Wenger needs to strengthen his defence as soon as possible. With much being made of the long term injuries and the potential arrival of Shkodran Mustafi, Arsenal’s defensive future is something of a known quantity.
Also accepted is the need for additional fire power up front to support Olivier Giroud. Since the transfer window opened in June, fans have been eager for Wenger to sign a top class striker who can be relied upon to score on a regular basis.
Names likes Vardy, Mahrez, Lacazette and Draxler have all been rumoured to be linked with moves to the Emirates, however, two months on and there are no new faces on the attacking roster aside from relative unknown Takumoa Asano.
With Lacazette looking increasingly likely to be staying with Lyon and Vardy having already spurned Wenger for a contract extension with Premier League champions, Leicester, there remains only Mahrez and Draxler.
Recent reports suggest that while a bid was possibly made for the Algeria international, Mahrez appears to be staying with Leicester City, for now at least. As for Draxler, all the signs in recent weeks suggested that a move to the Emirates was looking more and more likely. However, transfer rumours have died down since the beginning of the month.
So what now for Wenger and his goal scoring dilemma? Who now can he turn to and look to buy before the transfer window closes in two weeks time?
Dare it be said that he need not spend another penny, that the man he has been searching for has been a Gunner for five seasons already?
Who? How about 23-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?
Arriving from Southampton in 2011, the England international has had mixed fortunes in London. While strong and skillful midfielder, he is, perhaps, not the out and out striker fans expect Wenger to sign. However, when he is fit, Oxlade-Chamberlain can change a game.
Various injuries over the couple of seasons, followed by a serious knee injury earlier this year, has seen the young English man not feature as much as fans would have liked.
Since recovering from the injury that kept him out of the European Championships this summer, has been in imperious form and replaced Alex Iwobi during Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool. Wasting little time, the midfielder scored the Gunners second goal, a wonder goal that fans ought to sit up and take notice of.
Video Source: DALEX Stream
For those who had been paying attention to the Gunners’ preseason, this goal will come as another reminder that Wenger already has the goal scorer he needs in order to mount a sustained Premier League title challenge this season.
For those fans who were not paying attention, here are two more preseason beauties Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered.
Video Source: Slim Ross
Video Source: SeñorGolHDTV
A summer of missed international opportunity seems to have been a catalyst for the 23-year-old to come back to the field with an almost Thierry Henry-like eye for goal.
These three examples of his current form are all from the very top shelf and surely lend weight to the option for Wenger to ditch his notions of signing an expensive new striker and focus instead on keeping Oxlade-Chamberlain fit and healthy.
Whatever form the England international has found this summer, Wenger needs to harness it as, based on the evidence, in the young midfielder, Wenger has an unstoppable goal scoring force.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena