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08 August 2017

Arsenal have had a lack of leaders for far too long and I have a horrible feeling it will be the same this season

YOU can’t draw too many conclusions from a glorified pre-season friendly — but the Community Shield left me with more questions than answers.

And for Arsenal, they do have a worryingly familiar feel to them.

Arsene Wenger could be in for another difficult season at Arsenal
Rex Features
Sead Kolasinac looks like a good signing, but Arsenal needed more
Reuters

Yes, it’s always great to win some silverware, even though in the grand scheme of things there are far bigger fish to fry.

I was also delighted to see new signing Sead Kolasinac hit the ground running with a goal and an impressive debut.

But for me Sunday’s game was more about those who weren’t on the pitch than those who were. And I don’t think I’m the only one, either.

I just get the impression that it’s not going to take much for the fans who were so vocal last season to start clearing their throats this time around either.

My big fear, a seriously nagging doubt, is once again whether Arsene Wenger could have done a bit more business this summer. Yes, he’s spent big on Alexandre Lacazette, and Kolasinac looks a decent signing as well.

But for too long the problem at Arsenal has been a lack of leaders – and I have a horrible feeling it could be the same this time.


Alexandre Lacazette had a superb season at Lyon last term in front of goal
Arsenal spent £52m on Alexandre Lacazette and should have kept on spending
Reuters
Alexis Sanchez has had a long-running contract dispute with Arsenal who have refused to bow to his huge wage demands
Alexis Sanchez wants to see Arsenal really challenge for the Champions League
PA:Empics Sport

And in terms of Alexis Sanchez’s long-term future, I think that could have serious repercussions.

We all know how important Sanchez is to Arsenal’s chances of winning anything and we all know how much he dreams of winning the Champions League.

But I really wonder whether Wenger has signed enough players — or the right ones — to convince him to stay at the Emirates beyond this season.

If not, there’s every chance he will just run down his contract and walk away for nothing, which would see a massive investment gone.

Arsenal could yet be saying goodbye to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez
Mesut Ozil and Sanchez have not been joined by enough steel this summer
Getty Images

When Chelsea decided to sell Nemanja Matic, I would have loved to have seen Arsene throw his hat into the ring.

Of course that would have been hard to swallow for Blues fans, but surely not as bad as seeing him go to Manchester United under their old manager.

I think Matic would have been perfect for this Arsenal side, the general and leader who could have taken the team by the scruff of the neck.

The exit of Nemanja Matic to Man Utd was a big surprise for ex-Chelsea star Frank Lampard
Nemanja Matic would have been a great signing for Arsenal
Rex Features

To be honest, as fanciful and unlikely as it may be, I’d also like to see Arsenal at least dipping their toe in the water for Diego Costa as well.

For all the talk of him going back to Spain, nothing’s been done yet, so at least ask the question. Because for all he can be troublesome, he is also a brilliant, proven Prem goalscorer.

Arsenal should also have tried to sign Diego Costa from Chelsea
PA:Press Association

I know a lot of Arsenal fans worry about whether enough has been done for them to really progress this season.

It doesn’t take much for them to get worked up and with tough trips to Stoke and, in particular, Liverpool in the first three weeks, that could be sooner rather than later.

Mind you, Chelsea will also find this season totally different to the last, and they have taken a massive gamble of their own.

I’m not going to make judgments on Alvaro Morata after one sub appearance, because he has scored goals at the very top level.

Alvaro Morata has a lot to prove after his big money move to Chelsea
Getty – Contributor

But with Costa you were guaranteed goals. With Morata, you’re just hoping he will adapt to life in England and, at £65million, that’s a very expensive roll of the dice.

Chelsea may go into the new campaign as champions but we all know that is no guarantee of  job security for any Premier League manager any more…


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger talks about Alexis Sanchez's return and Arsenal's pre-season

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