On August 8th when Arsenal completed the £12 million purchase of Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain I was sceptical.

Another teenager?  Another player for the future?  We’ve spent £12 million on a 17-year-old who has never played in the Premier League, and only has League One experience?  Isn’t the fee too much for yet another young player, when experience is clearly what is needed in the squad?  Don’t we already have Theo Walcott to play that role?  Really, Arsene?  Don’t you know we need a defender?

These were the questions that crossed my mind when the news came that the deal had been become official.  Quite frankly, the purchase of Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed more like an Alex Ferguson purchase to me:  see a young English player with some promise, and get them at any cost.   Not really the Arsene Wenger way.  After all, Arsenal’s record transfer is the £16.5 million paid to purchase Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St. Petersburg in January 2009 (this, in a climate where Andy Carroll will cost you £35 million).

It was hard to get too excited about the purchase of Oxlade-Chamberlain at the time it happened, with the Fabregas and Nasri sagas going at full force. His arrival was an afterthought.  Would the young player contribute this campaign, or would we be left waiting season after season for him to find consistency.  Was this really a good buy for Arsenal?

So far, I’m sold.  We should have known that if Wenger was willing to pay £12 million for the young Englishman, it meant Arsene knew something.

The recession has already hit the World but it seems only now to be hitting football. Are we seeing empty seats across football (and not just Arsenal as the media like to report) just because teams aren’t performing well or has the game simply become too expensive for avid fans to enjoy and watching the game from home is arguably a lot cheaper than going to the stadium. Clubs are upping prices for games simply because they need more revenue to run; pay the staff, pay the police, electricity, water, cleaners and of course pay the players. For clubs like Chelsea and Man City that’s not an issue but for the likes of Aston Villa, Everton and even Tottenham who over the past five years have been trying to grab hold of that 4th place spot but have been unable to hold on it as they simply cannot compete financially with the top teams.

In some games this season, Aaron Ramsey has looked like he is struggling to shoulder the responsibility placed on him by Arsene Wenger. Increasingly fans are becoming frustrated with the lacklustre nature of his performances, particularly during the 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane. Should we be more patient with Ramsey? The worry is that he may become the target of fans ire, much like Emmanuel Eboue before him. As supporters, we have to remember who has placed Ramsey in this position; there's only one Arsene Wenger.

There has been much discussion over a change of formation this season, with many claiming the 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 system employed in recent years was designed to optimise the impact of Cesc Fabregas on the team’s performance. Now that Cesc has departed, they say, we should revert to our traditional 4-4-2. I find this argument interesting, as I recall several years ago, when we still played 4-4-2, a number of fans on forums such as the now defunct 606, arguing for a change to 4-3-3 given the 4-4-2 formation had become 'outdated'. For whatever reason, and we can only assume he knows better than us, Arsene has decided to stick with 4-3-3. I happen to agree with this.

This was definitely not the start that anyone associated with Arsenal Football club thought would happen. Seven games, seven points and already four losses recorded along with a goal difference that is horrific for an attacking team like Arsenal.

Can Arsenal Comeback?

There is no secret that if Arsenal want to finish with a reasonable position in the table and in other competitions in May a lot of work needs to be done. But the biggest question is “can Arsenal recover?”  Surely based on results right now it seems impossible to see Arsenal finish in the top half of the table.

If Arsenal can comeback of course they are going to have to get better as a squad, and maybe have to add a few more players in January. In addition however, they are going to need some help from other teams. It remains to be seeing if some of the surprise teams ahead of Arsenal will be able to sustain their start; teams such as newly promoted teams Norwich, Swansea, QPR, or even Newcastle United who currently sit in fourth, or Aston Villa who currently sit seventh. If these teams do end up dropping points at some point in the future, Arsenal are going to have to make sure that they pick up points and force their way up the table to expect a reasonable finish.

Ever since Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira left the Gunners in 2006, fans and pundits alike have been screaming out for dying breed of player: a true leader on and off the field. We know that Arsene favours togetherness and shared responsibility in favour of over relying on one player to take the team by the scruff of the neck but is this because he hasn’t found the right player to replace Vieira or is it because he genuinely believes the game has changed in favour of his philosophy?

Is there a captain’s curse?

Since Patrick’s departure to Juventus, Arsenal seem to have had more captains than any other team in the Premier League. However, none of them seem to stay much longer once they have been given the armband:

Henry – promoted from vice captain, our best and most experienced player at the time, a world cup winner, an Arsenal lover and a fiercely passionate man. The right choice? All the evidence would suggest so, with the only niggle that not many people like having a captain as a striker because they’re often not as involved in the heart of the action. However, Thierry left just 2 years later to play for Barcelona in order to compete for the Champions League which he eventually won in 2009