Arsenal need Wenger to play more mind games

Arsenal’s problem is an issue of self-confidence and motivation – and Wenger has little time to deal with it before the Hamburg and Manchester United away games.

Arsenal fans are understandably happy about their last day dealings – they got Baptista for Reyes (much-needed strength and versatality in midfield) and Gallas + change for Cole (one of the best centre-backs in the world). Throw in the token unknown youngsters (Sho Ito and Denilson) and Arsenal are suddenly being touted as serious contenders for the Premiership and the Champions League.

Like Palmer says, having Gallas in the team will allow Arsenal to be a more attacking, more positive team. The Gallas and Toure pairing well be one of the strongest in Europe (on par, if not better, with Terry and Carvalho).

Baptista will add a fighting spirit to the side but unlike Gallas he has not been properly tested in the Premiership. I trust Wenger’s judgement when he says that Baptista will be a great player for Arsenal but don’t put your mortgage on Arsenal winning the Premiership just yet. Just adding a player who can shoot from outside the box will not help Arsenal win matches.

Right now the team is not only off-colour, it’s stagnant. It’s not a personnel issue (although Arsenal, like Manchester United, look short on numbers) but a motivational issue. There isn’t a problem on the training ground, it’s inside the players’ heads, and Wenger has to sort it out quickly.

Baptista will take time to settle in, while everyone else should be sharper after getting a couple of matches under their belts during the international break.

Arsenal have a relatively easy home game against Boro on the 9th before they go on two tricky away games to Hamburg and Manchester United. They will beat Boro, but the Hamburg will more or less tell us how Arsenal will fare against United at Old Trafford on the 17th.

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