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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Benfica defeat highlights arsenal lack of strength in depth

Arsenal lost todays last pre-season friendly against Benfica and Arsene Wenger thinks that the reason they were defeated was because we were missing key players.

Okay, so lets have a look at the team that played: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Van Persie, Ramsey, Song, Djourou, Gervinho, Arshavin, Gibbs

Subs: Fabianski, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Chamakh, Traore, Frimpong, Miyaichi, Lansbury, Miquel

This was how we started the game and it looks like a very strong team on paper, but Wenger bemoans that there were key players missing (Aren’t there always?).

He said: “Benfica played well for the full 90 minutes and the second half was a bit one-way traffic. We played well for 45 minutes and, after that, we dropped. We missed many players and you could see that in the second half. We got the intensity we wanted, it was a competitive game and we were challenged by a good team who had a lot of experienced players.”

I’m sorry Arsene but looking at that team sheet it looks like Arsenal had qute a lot of experienced players on the pitch as well. Arsenal were 1-0 up at half-time but when Wenger brought on Chamakh, Miyaichi, Frimpong, Jenkinson, Squillaci and Fabianski for the second half, the team just fell apart and were under pressure from then onwards.

But these are the players that Arsenal will have to rely on when Wenger starts rotating the team during the season, especially when the games start coming thick and fast.

The first month of the new season will be crucial and Wenger needs to be able to rely on the back-ups right from the start, but it looks like he is going to have to be very careful, especially as there were a few injuries sustained during this game.

The Gunners have a fantastic first XI and some excellent reserves, but it seems like the confidence and teamwork has not returned (especially defensively) and it could be a very hairy beginning of the season for all of us…..

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