The latest injury news would seem to indicate that only Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be missing from the squad which was available on Saturday and Nacho Monreal will return. There are quite a few players carrying knocks though and despite being in the squad there are still doubts over Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. All of them could well be available for selection but it's always a risk playing players who are carrying a knock.
There is no choice for Arsenal though with such a thin squad and virtually no players added to it over the summer. While almost all of the other Premier League teams have a week's rest between each game at the moment Arsenal have two vital games against Fenerbache to play. How the squad was allowed to reach this stage in the season without strengthening is anyone's guess.
That leads me to the blog title because Arsene Wenger is the man who makes the decisions at Arsenal and he seemed to be happy to wait until closer to the deadline day to make his moves in the market. I can't help feeling that he thought the side which finished last season so well was strong enough to make a real challenge this season and decided that he wouldn't add to it unless he got the right players at the right price. He has often said how only top, top players will improve his team, but those players cost top, top money.
Gonzalo Higuain was allowed to join Napoli as Arsenal concentrated on chasing Liverpool's Luis Suarez in the mistaken belief he had a release clause in his contract. A month later they have got no further with their quest for Suarez and don't seem prepared to up their offer to a level that would make Liverpool consider selling. While they have been chasing Suarez it appears that they decided to put all other potential targets on the back burner.
The lessons of two seasons ago don't seem to have been learned and Arsenal are making the same mistakes all over again. That summer Arsenal sold both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas and did virtually nothing about strengthening their squad until the disastrous 8-2 defeat away to Manchester United. Then they went on a deadline day shopping spree which resulted in a few good purchases, but some pretty bad ones too.
They were in the market for any player they could get at the right price and it smelled of panic. This season the transfer window is rapidly approaching and Arsenal are again sniffing around for any player they can get their hands on at the right price. The most annoying thing for me is that Arsenal can afford to buy the quality they need but they just don't seem prepared to pay what has to be paid for genuine quality.
There are still players out there who could make a genuine difference to the Arsenal team and who could be bought if the right money was offered. Those players were available in June and July and are still available now and can be acquired if Arsenal truly go all out to get them. If they end up buying three or four reasonable players who will fit nicely into the squad but not actually walk into the team then they will have truly missed an opportunity to get back among the title contenders.
What I also find hard to understand is that Arsenal allowed both Frances Coquelin and Ignasi Miquel to go out on loan before they brought players in to play in their positions. I have no doubt both of those players could benefit from the loan moves, but why were they not kept until closer to the deadline day just in case they were needed. With the current injury problems Arsenal have those two players could have at least shored gaps until the end of the month.
When Laurent Koscielny was sent off on Saturday Ramsey had to fill in at centre back and surely Miquel would have been a far better choice if he hadn't been shipped off to Leicester. I have no doubt Miquel wouldn't have been caught so badly out of position as Ramsey was when Villa broke to score their third goal on Saturday. I'm not blaming Ramsey though because he's not a centre back and shouldn't have had to have been asked to play there.
If I made serious errors of judgement in my job such as the ones previously made by Arsenal and then repeated them I would expect to be in a lot of trouble. It's one thing to make such serious errors of judgement, but not to learn from them and repeat them is an entirely different matter. If Arsenal end up partaking in another deadline day shopping spree it can be nothing but mismanagement in my opinion.
Whether the boss has lost the plot or not is another thing, but I'm not sure that he even knows what the plot is at the moment. Until the club can have the where with all to work out a cohesive transfer policy and follow it through then the fans will continue to lose confidence in the management. It is getting very close to the stage where even the Arsenal fans loyal to the boss have decided enough is enough and the next two weeks will decide an awful lot.
Arsenal could turn it all around and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League as well as beating both Fulham and Spurs before the window closes. However unlikely that sounds it is of course possible and the world of Arsenal would seem a much better place if they did so. They could also spend all of their transfer loot on the players that are needed and make a real challenge in the league for the first time in a few years.
That scenario seems highly unlikely at the moment though but it was the one sold to Arsenal fans at the beginning of the summer when it was season ticket renewal time. If the club fail to live up to those promises there will be an awful lot of very unhappy fans who will not forgive what has happened. It's a scenario I really don't want to see but it's one that's becoming increasingly likely.
Ideally I would like to see Arsene Wenger lead the club forward by investing the money the club has properly and bring the glory days back. There was a real opportunity to make that happen this summer and that opportunity hasn't completely gone yet but the likelyhood of it lessens almost by the day.
In summation I don't think he has lost the plot but it's quite possible he has got severe writer's block with his publication deadline approaching. The money has been paid up front and if he can't overcome his block then he'll have to hand it all back. If Arsenal don't make the Champions League group stages and drop out of the top four then the financial consequences could be just as severe for them.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.