Arsene Wenger did his best impression of Nero yesterday, loitering somewhere in Rome while watching Arsenal's chances of being genuine Premiership contenders go up in smoke after failing to sign a top quality out and out striker in the transfer window. Instead, in a deal stranger than one which saw injured Kim Kallstrom land in London while injured and barely register any minutes, Danny Welbeck found himself swapping the red of Manchester United for the red of Arsenal.
Welbeck is a decent player, and fits nicely into the ideal which Wenger has adopted concerning the core of his team being English, but he's not going to get 30 goals a season. He's in fact shown no real likelihood of scoring 20! Put simply 29 goals in 142 appearances for United doesn't cut the mustard for Arsenal fans desperate for the team to build on their FA Cup success. Remember, these are the fans which are discontent with Olivier Giroud, who scored 22 last season, and earned the wrath of fans for not scoring more.
Welbeck is not the prolific goal scorer which Arsenal really needed and thus, the only way now Arsenal can hope to contend with Chelsea and Manchester City, is if their vast array of almost clonelike midfielders score somewhere near 10 goals each. 8 goals each from Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, the Ox, Rosicky, and Walcott would make a massive difference, (56 goals in total), and should not be unrealistic expectations of them, and then have those added to the goals from a recovered Giroud and the probable 9 or so from Welbeck and you have the makings of a title challenge.
Alexis Sanchez also has to be included, but as yet he has been something of a disappointment , managing barely 5 shots on target in the league from 3 games and being so ineffectual that he was pulled off at half time against Everton having registered not a single touch in the penalty area, but he will improve as he adjusts to the league. For a player supposedly blessed with blistering pace though, he has neither run past, or behind defenders so far, and is slowly losing the gloss that he came painted with upon his arrival. Much as Ozil lost his air of untouchableness last season after producing some lacklustre performances, fans will only tolerate Sanchez's limited effectiveness for so long. While his effort and commitment cannot be questioned, (unlike Ozil's incidentally), his price tag requires better than that which has been seen in the very early stages of the season so far.
However, the fact remains, the transfer window has come and gone, and while Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Everton have all bought strikers capable of 20+ goals a season, Arsenal have neither bought a striker in the same league as their direct opposition, but they've also neglected to strengthen defensive midfield or centre-back positions.
I never saw the game yesterday which Arsene Wenger refereed, but as my hopes for Arsenal's season burned out at the chimes of Big Ben , it was not a whistle I pictured the Professor with whilst he was in Rome.
It was a violin!