Loss of Alex Song leaves Arsène Wenger flat and sorry Arsenal off-key

Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0

The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, hintly darkly at dissatisfaction with Alex Song as the midfielder headed to Barcelona yesterday to tie up the detail of his eyebrow-raising £15m transfer. Coming to terms with losing a second senior player in a matter of days after Robin van Persie's move to Manchester United, Wenger had initially tried to reassure supporters via his programme notes that the club is well stocked with midfielders – "nine or 10" of them, he claimed.

Two, Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong, are recovering from serious injuries, however, and a dull, goalless draw against Sunderland had the manager admitting "frustration" at the annual exodus of key players.

"It's difficult to make an overall conclusion about it," Wenger said. "Every case is individual and maybe one day I explain everything; I do not want to come with that now. We are left with that decision and now we have to face it and deal with it in the correct way. Hopefully we can, possibly we will, bring in a player."

Nuri Sahin of Real Madrid remains the most likely target if anyone else is to arrive. Of equal priority is to achieve a working relationship between Santi Cazorla from Malaga, who will be the main – perhaps only – creative force, and whichever of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud is going to take on the heavy burden of replacing Van Persie as the principal striker.

Wenger admitted of Podolski: "He has some work to do to change his game, make runs in behind and to protect the ball and move around the box." Giroud, who replaced Podolski after an unproductive hour, could have made a greater impact but wasted one of Arsenal's worryingly few chances. That opportunity, like most of the others, was created by Cazorla, who has become an instant favourite with a crowd searching for new heroes. The Spaniard said he has not played in the scheming No 10 role, but he looked the part and seems likely to be a vital player for Arsenal, especially until Wilshere makes his long-delayed return. "It's a position I really like, with the freedom that I like to have," he said.

The Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill, delighted with a point against the odds, summed up Arsenal's dilemma: "Van Persie is a major loss to them; anyone would suffer if they lost a world-class player like that. Real Madrid would if they lost Ronaldo."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee