Arsenal’s last two seasons started at the Emirates Stadium- both winnable, both lost.
Not the start that Arsene Wenger would have liked, but it happened again on Sunday and already the Frenchman is finding every excuse in the book.
The fans aren’t going to wear this escapade for long and very soon the “Wenger Out” banners will be unfurled at the Emirates and the chants will get louder as Wenger starts the last year of his contract with Gooners everywhere voicing their opinions.
Although the fans and the pundits can see that Arsenal are far from the finished article, it looks as though Wenger sees nothing much is wrong with his side.
A distinct lack of star names in this transfer window, aside from the circa £33m spent on Swiss star Granit Xhaka, means that once again, Arsene Wenger has put his hands in his pockets and effectively kept them there.
Does the Arsenal boss really believe that a team that coughed and spluttered their way through the previous season will suddenly become the all conquering heroes just because he’s signed a new midfielder?
With German international Mustafi said to be on his way from Valencia, who actually need to get the player off their books, it still means that Wenger has brought in a Japanese unknown, a midfielder and two defenders.
Anyone supporting The Gunners will be shouting for a solid centre forward. No reliance can be put upon Giroud’s shoulders, no matter how good he was at Euro 2016.
Yet, apart from newspaper headlines concerning Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Inter’s Mauro Icardi, nothing seems to be happening. There was also the usual gossip over players linked with the club, such as Gonzalo Higuaín, that were never going to happen in a month of Sundays.
While Arsenal stagnate, Wenger is safe. There are better coaches and, maybe, someone at the highest level should have shoved the most successful manager in the clubs history upstairs and appointed a Guardiola or Mourinho in his place.
But they didn’t. Wenger will not move aside, Stan Kroenke won’t sack him and no one listens to the fans. The story towards the end of last season was that Kroenke might offer Wenger a three-year extension. You can already hear the sighs from the terraces in North London.
Although Wenger’s squad was severely depleted through a number of injuries to key players for the Premier League opener against Liverpool, with Rob Holding and Calum Chambers forced to start in defence, he decided to leave some key players on the bench rather than name them in the starting XI.
Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla were all left out, but the most surprising omission was Granit Xhaka.
Yes, Arsenal fought back, but they should never have been in that position to begin with and keeping players on the bench with that sort of pedigree is sheer madness. The strange tactical decisions of last season have already spilled into the new year.
“Physically we are not ready,” Wenger said afterwards. “You’re in a catch 22 situation with the Euros because you give the players a rest. We are not ready to play this kind of game and they get injured like [Aaron] Ramsey today, or you give them a rest and you start the season without many of your players.”
Fans booed Wenger and some nearer the dugouts were restrained as the Arsenal boss struggles to see what is so clear to most.
He’s had all summer to find a defender and a striker and now with the clock ticking, he needs to find both fast, placate the dissenting fanbase and give the club something back in his final season in charge.
The transfer window will not be the only thing ticking down for Arsene Wenger.