Did 2008 Hull defeat change Arsene Wenger's squad strategy?

By Avenell Dave

I'll never forget the Saturday afternoon at the Emirates a few years ago when we slipped to defeat against Hull.

It was a defeat that shocked and hurt in equal measure and typified the problems Arsene Wenger was having to deal with at the time - namely that too many of his players had attitude problems and thought that simply turning up for some matches was all that was required to win.

Was that a cultural problem? Did some of the so-called stars (I'm thinking Clichy, Nasri in particular here) expect Arsenal to have match-winners who would get them out of jail if they fancied not bothering for a game or five?

I do wonder if that is why Wenger changed his strategy somewhat and went for experienced professionals and young Brits instead of a focus on predominantly prodigiously talented foreign starlets, many of whom would either leave once they had made a name for themselves or fail anyway.

We have beaten Hull since of course, but that defeat still pains me.

On Wednesday, provided the game still goes ahead with travel chaos a possibility due to strikes, we play what may seem to be the easiest in a run of games up to Christmas that is going to test us to the extreme.

As Wenger said in his pre-match press conference, the fact that Hull beat Liverpool at the weekend should give all the warning we need not to take them lightly despite previously indifferent form that we hope will return tonight.

Losing Bacary Sagna this evening may not be the end of the world - although if he misses some of the more challenging contests one wonders how Carl Jenkinson will fare.

The Gooner right back has had a poor season and needs to step up if we are not to suffer and if you were Steve Bruce, you'd target our right if you want to get anything from the game.

The rest of the side picks itself  although now is as good a time as any to rest Aaron Ramsey and maybe even Mesut Ozil.

I'd be tempted to bring in Serge Gnabry as well as Theo Walcott but I just can't see that happening.

We have to move the ball fast, especially if we play Flamini and Arteta together, who can slow the game down somewhat.

I have a feeling that not all the title challengers will get it their own way this evening.

Let's hope we're not one of them.



Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Flamini Arteta Wilshere

Walcott Giroud Cazorla