Every year, around February time, Arsenal’s season falls apart, and they drop out of the title race.
You can set your watch by it, because it’s almost as certain as a Jack Wilshere injury, or Diego Costa starting a fight unnecessarily.
But, after Gabriel was injured in Arsenal’s pre season game against Manchester City, Gunners fans took to their natural habitat, Twitter, to write off their title chances for the upcoming season.
Gabriel’s injury leaves Arsene Wenger with just Rob Holding and Calum Chambers as centre back options, with Laurent Koscielny unfit after being given extended rest after the Euros, and Per Mertesacker’s serious knee injury.
That means Wenger will head into next week’s Premier League opener with Liverpool with an inexperienced centre back pair, as Krystian Bielik is also in the frame for a start, despite being an untried defensive midfielder.
Obviously, Arsenal fans weren’t happy with the injury problems and Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend in the transfer window, and vented their frustrations on social media:
@StephNUFC Arsenal mate just said unless Rob Holding is world class, that's the earliest they've dropped out of the title race for a while
— This Dave (@ThisDave) August 7, 2016
Some questioned ulterior motives:
Pep just used his tactical nouse to take Arsenal out the title race – now we get thinks he doesn't have to buy a CB or striker…..again ?
— Simon Howatson (@DJ_Simon_H) August 7, 2016
And others pointed out the importance of one particular Frenchman:
Mertesacker & Gabriel both picking up long term injuries. Forget Ozil, Sanchez etc. Arsenal's title bid hinges on Laurent Koscielny. #afc
— Vikash Patel (@VikashPatel94) August 7, 2016
Of course, the Wenger criticism was rife too:
Now that other clubs know that we have injuries at the back we'll be charged more, once again proving we should have bought earlier #AFC
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) August 8, 2016
So it looks like another season without a title for Arsenal, unless Wenger can pull something big out of the bag.
The Gunners boss must now dip into the transfer market to solve his defensive crisis, and will have to spend big to land someone before the Liverpool game next Sunday.
Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi has been linked with a move, but things will have to move quickly if anything is to happen before the Premier League kicks off again.
You’d really think Arsene would learn from his mistakes, wouldn’t you?