Saturday’s defeat could be the best thing to happen to the Gunners

So much for an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend.

Indifferent weather, the Scousers turning defeat into victory in the dying minutes of their game, Ch*vski winning and, of course, one of the worst performances by an Arsenal side in recent memory.

At 1-0 down on Saturday, it was patently obvious that we would need something special just to come away with a draw. Robin Van Persie’s free kicks were off the radar, and that was about the only way we could have hoped to score.

Around this time last season, Manchester United lost a derby against City and look what they went on to achieve.

Sure, with injuries as they are, we haven’t got a fit match winner such as Ronaldo or a bunch of multi-million pound young signings like Nani and Anderson who could provide some sudden inspiration to an already-accomplished squad.

But this could well be the wake-up call we need.

On Saturday, an Arsene Wenger interview spoke of his vision to create a team efficiently and, on the back of last season, few could argue with him.

Yep, we scraped past Wet Brom, but were we really that far away?

Saturday was a bit of a jolt that, for even for the greatest Wenger believers among us, provokes fears that this season could be a watershed for all the wrong reasons.

But Le Boss is not stupid. His crown jewel is Cesc Fabregas and retaining his services and keeping him happy are paramount to the club’s future success.

So it’s no coincidence that, whether it is a discussion the Spaniard has had with Wenger or not, he was quoted on Sunday as saying: “Right now we are competitive, but in the middle we need someone who can compete and give us another dimension we are missing. That's all we need.”

Wenger’s attitude this summer has been one that, at least externally, suggests that a midfield enforcer is an optional extra.

Saturday proved that was not the case. If Wenger was in any doubt about it before the game, he certainly won’t be now.

I’ve always rated Jimmy Bullard, but Danny Murphy’s journeyman career underlines his reputation as a steady but hardly world-class midfielder.

Denilson was bullied into submission on Saturday. With Eboue by his side, he should have been fighting to every ball, passing it diligently and making the most of his chance. He did not take advantage of his chance and must now take a step back and reflect on the huge learning curve he needs to make – and sharpish.

If the team were in any doubt that they need to fight for every ball, for every point, Saturday rammed the point right down their throats.