By Avenell Dave
I've said it before on Addict that I saw a real step change in Ivan Gazidis when he met with fans at the end of last season.
It's all veryw ell saying lessons have been learnt, that the club won't make the same mistakes again, but there's only so long that assertion will endure before optimism gives way to cynicism.
Arsenal have always been prudent and given the constraints the club works under, I for one have no issue with their strategy.
The problem is not Arsenal, it is the attitude of players that counts against them.
I suspect RvP would still have left us even if we had won a trpohy last season and Alex Song would have continually remained a Billy Big Time looking for the next opportunity regardless of how he had played last season.
But as we've seen this year, Arsene Wenger has changed his mindset considerably.
We're not buying kids anymore and we're signing experienced internationals before we have got rid of the deadwood who could cripple us.
Even if this was Championship Manager, we'd struggle to get Sebastien Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner and Maroune Chamakh off the books. They are all on big wages and for a variety of reasons (form, wages, national controversy, general crapness), none of them have had many takers.
Do I care that Alex Song has left? Not at all. There was an ongoing debate between my neighbour at Emirates and I about his value to the team and I will never be convinced.
If Barca think they;ve got Yaya Toure II, they're in for a big surprise. Cesc apart, we've had the far better value from the Catalans than the other way around.
Looking back to Saturday, Theo Walcott played with all the verve and determination of a player who also has one eye on pastures new and it wouldn't surprise me if he too leaves before the end of the month.
He has never come on in the way that he should have done and if he'd made half the progress Song has made as a player, he'd be a world beater now and people would be talking about him as our biggest loss rather than a Dutch forward.
If either Lukas Podolski or Olivier Giroud had scored, maybe we'd be talking about a new hero rather than ridiculous reports suggesting we're in crisis, as The S*n suggested on Sunday.
Of course bedding in so many new players is not ideal and takes time, but I saw enough on Saturday to fill me with optimism rather than dread.
Some fans were scathing of Carl Jenkinson and Gervinho and yet I thought both did well. People forget that Jenkinson is very young and replacing one of the best right backs in the world, while Gervinho draws players to him and looked impressive.
When you play a team who put ten men behind the ball, getting that break that opens them up is always tricky but we should have the nous to do it.
On another day, Cazorla, who looked superb, would have opened the lock or Giroud would have put the chance away that he had towards the end.
It's funny how we're described as being in crisis yet Liverpool lost comprehensively and T*tt*nh*m were also defeated, giving AvB another tricky start to a new season.
Sahin will be asuperb capture as anyone who has seen Spanish or Geman football will tell you.
What we have to do now is maintain our unbeaten status, keep working hard and absorb the new faces who are without doubt going to make us stronger than last season.