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Arsenal need further activity before the transfer window shuts

Premier League football returned to the Emirates Stadium with a bang last night as Arsenal defeated Leicester City 4-3 in a dramatic encounter in North London, where the Gunners fought from behind twice to snatch all three points.

The performance showed Arsenal are strong in the attacking third but it raised questions about their defensive back-line, although it’s worth mentioning that Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker were all absent for various reasons.

Arsenal’s defence last night consisted of Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac playing centrally, a trio that struggled to deal with Leicester’s pace in attack, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin player out wide- with the latter having a poor game.

Petr Cech between the sticks also looked shaky and it will give Arsene Wenger proof that further work needs to be done in the transfer window, with defensive reinforcements a necessity if the Gunners are to be a force this season.

Arsenal’s defensive numbers mean that they currently struggle to field a strong three-man defence, especially with injuries and suspensions, and another top-class central defender, like Virgil Van Dijk, would significantly improve the Gunners back-line.

A player like Van Dijk could slot into the first-team alongside Koscielny and Mustafi, with Gabriel, Holding, Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and Monreal as understudies, ready to step-in should their be any absentees or even play in the Europa League.

Perhaps the biggest change though needs to come between the sticks, as Petr Cech is far from the goalkeeper he used to be. He’s been on a steady decline ever since joining Arsenal from Chelsea and last night showed his frailties; where he’s indecisive when coming to collect crosses and fails to command those inside his area.

Now 35, Cech still has two-years remaining on his deal at the Emirates Stadium but it’s unlikely he’ll stay as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper for the entire period. David Ospina may not be the answer and with Wojciech Szczesny sold to Juventus and Emiliano Martinez sent on-loan, a new signing would significantly boost Arsenal’s line.

Stoke City’s Jack Butland may well be the best target for Arsenal to pursue, especially as playing for a club like Arsenal would provide a huge boost to his England aspirations, and Wenger should certainly consider a move for a goalkeeper before the window slams shut later this month.