A humbling Spanish defeat is just what the Gooners ordered

By Avenell Dave

Despite being a bit further behind Arsenal in their pre-season, a game against Valencia was always going to be Arsenal’s sternest test of the pre-season.

Any side that can call upon David Silva and David Villa is going to cause us problems, especially with our defence not exactly rock solid and no reinforcement to protect them in midfield.

And that’s just why last night’s defeat was so important – and could be vital as the transfer window starts to ebb away.

It’s clear from Arséne Wenger’s remarks in the past week that he and Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis are prepared to wait until the last hours of the window on August 31 to sign the players that can take us to the next level and have us compete again this season.

That strategy just about worked in January despite great confusion over the purchase of Andrey Arshavin – but look what a great buy he turned out to be!

But it also backfired when we tried to sign Xabi Alonso, who could have made such a difference for us last season.

The fact is that the squad we have at the moment has some phenomenal talent – just look at today’s headlines about Jack Wilshere.

He may have been slightly overawed last night, but exposure against decent European teams is only going to help his development – a step up from playing in the FA Youth Cup final against Liverpool, for sure.

I suspect Wenger had a meeting with the Board or at least with Gazidis following the Emirates Cup last weekend, when he said that he hoped to have his full first team squad in place before the Valencia game.

He was probably reminded that with the club’s finances still tight, he would have to make do until the end of August when deals could be squeezed for every last penny.

Even more tellingly, Wenger has all but admitted what he is looking for – and it’s unlike Le Boss to make any statements of intent until a deal is signed and sealed.

So, expect us to sign Marouane Chamakh to provide some variety to the forward line and a central defender should Philippe Senderos get his move to Everton or wherever.

Last night’s performance wasn’t without its highlights – Eduardo coming through another game, even though he hit a good chance straight at the Valencia goalkeeper, makes the exercise worthwhile on its own if you ask me.

We are still getting caught out through the heart of the defence to longer balls – and a giant like Brede Hangeland may or may not be an antidote to that aspect of our vulnerability.

But while Wenger has never been one to knee-jerk, it would be great for us Gooners if he realised that his successful sides were built not only of flair, but of someone shielding the defence from midfield, such as Remi Garde, Manu Petit, Gilberto or Mathieu Flamini.

That player doesn’t exist in the Arsenal squad at present – Alex Song and Denilson are not there yet – and hopefully the flight back from Spain will have given Wenger time to think that defensive midfield is an area he should focus all his attention on if we are to enjoy the success he keeps assuring us is on the way...