Wenger's change in strategies brings back memories of Arsenal of old

By Avenell Dave

I was away last week. A good thing too if the blogsphere/Twittersphere was anything like it has been in previous transfer windows, with fans getting more and more irate at the lack of spending.

So I wasn't too downhearted when I got back from a summer break, nor concerned ahead of our trip to Anfield that we would struggle against our Scouse counterparts.

Yes, the team has looked a bit flat so far this season, but even with Santi Cazorla taking to the Premier League like a duck to water, the team needs time to gel.

Of course, if Gervinho and Theo Walcott were more potent, the naysayers who have written us off already wouldn't have had something to chew on.

While I was surprised that Arsenal didn't buy anyone else following Alex Song's departure, the fact remains that without the biggest squad in the land, we are actually not in a bad position.

We have competition in all areas - decent centre and full backs and understudies; a strong midfield contingent when everyone is back; a number of exciting wide players and two internationals vying for one central spot.

Of course, we know we could have added to the squad but I've got no doubt that we pushed hard to secure deals and whatever the reasons were that they didn't happen, we may never know. Signing players is so complicated thesedays.

But two things have become really apparent over the past few weeks.

If you notice the players that Arsene Wenger is signing, the majority of them are not kids anymore. 

Wenger is looking for tried and tested internationals or players with big reputations and something to prove.

Our three main signings underline that, as do the links with other players who didn;t sign for whatever reason.

That suggests that Wenger has lost a little bit of faith in his vision to develop a team organically, with young players using Arsenal as a stepping stone rather than as somewhere where ambitions can be realised.

There are a few Arsenal fans who contacted me yesterday lamenting RvP's departure, especially after his hat-trick, saying that if we had made more big signings, he and others would not have left.

That overlooks the whole stadium repayment issue and not something I'm going to go over again.

But what delighted me as an Arsenal Addict of some 35 years, was seeing us going back to basics.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and Wenger's loyalty is something I have huge admiration for.

But perhaps he could have moved Pat Rice into a more peripheral role, given how much better organised and robust our defence seems to be this season.

It's early days and plenty of time for these words to come back and haunt me, but we look solid.

While the plaudits about playing stunning fooball are nice, there's nothing more satisfying than frustrating the opposition and coming away with a clean sheet.

As everyone saw yesterday, even Lukas Podolsi was tracking back and that hunger and determination to stifle the opposition.

Steve Bould has to take the plaudits - he was always an intelligent defender and he is showing what a fine coach he is, who does more than just stick out the cones during the warm-up.

It's funny that after the defeat all focus semed to be on Liverpoool's failings rather than our fine performance, but I'd rather it was that way - let everyone write us off and fail to take us seriously.

I have high hopes for this season and if the likes of Abou Diaby keep fit and play like he did yesterday, we may be in for some excitement.