The heat is on at Arsenal -- and not just because Saturday was the hottest day of the year in London.
By selling last year's Barclays Premier League leading scorer Robin van Persie to Manchester United, the London outfit is in desperate need of a new goal scorer. That could not have been clearer than Saturday, when they were held scoreless by Sunderland . Adding to the Gunners' woes, they followed Saturday's draw by dealing influential midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona .
Despite losing the two key players over the last 72 hours, manager Arsene Wenger was adamant that the team's approach would not change. In his pregame notes, Wenger mentioned, "regardless of incomings and outgoings, I believe our playing style will be the same this season. We will try to play our usual game, building from the back with quick passing based on a lot of movement.
"We have lost world-class players before and we have always survived," Wenger was widely quoted as saying in the buildup to the new season.
To that point, the Gunners were able to string together pass after pass throughout the 90 minutes Saturday. And they were unlucky at times, as new signing Santi Cazorla created a handful of opportunities and even had a few of his own. The two other offseason signings, Lukas Podolski and substitute Olivier Giroud, also had a few chances to shine against the Black Cats, getting clear chances at goal during the match.
But in the end, it was to no avail as Arsenal begins the season with a draw - only the third time in 12 years the Gunners were unable to start a new season with a victory.
"We lacked sharpness at the moment, and fluency to be dangerous in the final third," said Wenger after his team had the lion's share of possession and took twelve shots -- but only put four of them on goal. "The chances we had, we couldn't convert them," snapped Wenger.