Arsenal FC have fallen on dark times in recent months. If they can salvage their season and put up a fight, the January transfer window could present an opportunity to bolster their squad and be rid of incompetent players.
However, Arsene Wenger still remains as boss of the North London club for now, so take the January transfer window dreams with a pinch of salt. Either way, Wenger needs to continue cutting the fat from the squad and use the January window to build a more experienced squad going forward.
Even though Wenger snagged five signings in the last 48 hours of the summer transfer window, there remains acres of room for improvement at nearly every position.
The first thing he must do: get rid of players who aren't cutting it.
How this guy still holds a spot on the squad baffles me.
Manuel Almunia plays between the sticks as if he were a nervous schoolboy trying to get his first kiss from a girl. Jitters anyone?
The Carling Cup game yesterday showcased why he has been relegated to the youth development squad. Someone needs to buy him a GPS system in order for him to be positioned correctly, otherwise he may never grasp that whole concept.
At this point, the money Arsenal receives in return for the Spaniard has become irrelevant.
He receives a weekly paycheck—for what? Distracting the media and fans from the defenders who can't seem to grasp the concept of maintaining a lead?
Wojciech Szczesny has cemented his place in the starting XI and as the Arsenal keeper for years to come. Almunia has yet to start a game in goal in league play this year and only played eight games last season.
Arsene Wenger does not need four keepers in the squad, and Almunia should be the one shipped out.
During the summer transfer window in 2010 Arsene Wenger picked up two relatively unknown defenders.
Laurent Koscielny and Sebastian Squillaci moved to North London as the underwhelming answers to questions along the back line.
Koscielny has done a fair job adapting to the style of play in the Premier League; Squillaci has not. The former Sevilla defender has yet to impress at the Emirates and has found himself bench-ridden due to his lackluster performances.
Most pundits and Arsenal supporters were skeptical on whether the Frenchman would be able to adjust to the English game at the not-so-ripe age of 30 when he arrived.
A year later, the defender has not progressed in his adaption to English football one iota.
The defender has burrowed his way into a permanent spot on the bench and has fallen out of favor with the manager. Even with all the struggles, red cards and injuries in the Arsenal defense this season, Squillaci has yet to see the pitch for a league match.
Not every player works out. That's just part of the game, but if they cannot contribute they must go. Squillaci needs to be shipped back to Spain on the first flight out come New Year's Day.
Arsene Wenger salvaged a wasted transfer window with midfield signings at the death of deadline day. The 11th-hour signings should be the writing on the wall for the 31-year-old Tomas Rosicky.
Rosicky has been relatively absent for the Gunners for the better portion of two years. He has received plenty of playing time and occasionally makes a decent pass here and there.
His legs seem to be withering away, and with the influx of youth and experience into the midfield, a position for the Czech player seems to be lost in the shuffle. Sure, Rosicky could stay around and help the youngsters come through the ranks in Carling Cup and FA Cup matches, but they have enough experience to do that without him.
Shipping off Rosicky would open up a midfield spot for a similarly experienced Premier League player, but one with fresher legs that still have some miles left on them.
Rosicky has played in two league games this year and only started eight games last season.
In 21 appearances in the EPL, he managed to only provide one assist and came up empty handed on the score sheet.
January presents Wenger with an opportunity to trade out Rosicky for a player with less wear and tear. The question is whether he's willing to get rid of the Czech or not.
Arsenal have endured a horrendous run of form, a run that could shatter the confidence of any player easily influenced and not strong-willed.
Unfortunately, it seems Johan Djourou has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the 8-2 massacre witnessed at Old Trafford.
The problem with that lies in the fact his form has been sliding for some time now. There was a time not too long ago that Arsenal supporters would cry to the heavens in agony because Djourou could not play. Djourou and Laurent Koscielny combined to make a promising partnership during the interim time before Thomas Vermaelen's return.
What must be deciphered at the moment is whether Djourou has simply suffered from an excruciatingly bad run of form or if he has begun to show his true colors?
It's difficult to fathom that the player who played so capably six months ago could regress to the point he stands now.
Arsene Wenger has more patience and foresight than most supporters will ever have, but how long can he afford to wait out this run of form?
January should be the deadline.
Djourou looked the part last night in the Carling Cup match versus Shrewsbury Town. By that, I mean he looked like he should be donning a League Two jersey with the quality of play he showed.
He has a couple months to turn things around. If not, the Swiss defender should be put on loan or given the boot, giving way for a move to sign Bolton's Gary Cahill.
As quickly as he assimilated into the squad scoring goals and making his presence known, he fell out of favor of the manager just as quickly. Marouane Chamakh took advantage of his opportunity to make a name for himself in North London last season.
While Robin Van Persie recovered from the World Cup, he racked up seven goals.
Chamakh scored his first league goal in 10 months last weekend versus the Blackburn Rovers. During those 10 months, Chamakh has looked timid and nonchalant in front of goal. He did not show assertiveness in the box and looked disinterested in throwing himself at the ball.
He may not have as big of a forehead as Gervinho but the Moroccan proved this past weekend he can provide an aerial threat for the Gunners. Maybe his Blackburn performance awakens the striker from a 10-month long run of bad form.
Similar to Johan Djourou, Chamakh must prove he suffered from fruitless form and has the ability to compete consistently in the Premier League. If he cannot find his scoring touch by the new year, Arsene Wenger must swap out the forward for a player who can provide proper support for Robin Van Persie.