Arsenal will continue to start behind – and Arsene Wenger has lost his disciples for it

Arsene Wenger is a man who likes to defy common logic, so it’s apt that just one match into the new season, his side have already continued a pattern which spans numerous games. Inept, injury-ravaged and ill-prepared: Sunday’s loss to Liverpool may be Arsenal’s only fixture so far this term, but it was anything but an isolated event.

Half a decade ago, Arsenal followed up a miserable opening-day draw at St James’ Park with a home defeat by Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool, Ignasi Miquel and Carl Jenkinson both making their league debuts, and Emmanuel Frimpong handed a first start (and duly being sent off). The following game took them to Old Trafford, and the 8-2 evisceration that followed – this time featuring Armand Traore at left-back and a very much out-of-favour Francis Coquelin – prompts Vietnam-style flashbacks among Arsenal supporters to this day.

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