Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, three times a Premier League champion with the Gunners, has suggested that the club might actually be better off with star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil if Sunday's 0-0 draw against Chelsea is anything to go by.
Both Sanchez and Ozil are currently on course to leave the club by the end of the 2017/18 season after so far refusing to sign contract extensions.
The issue, particularly where Sanchez is concerned, dominated the summer. But after neither player started at Stamford Bridge, a game many predicted to be comfortably won by the reigning champions, Keown believes Arsenal looked a more balanced and disciplined team.
"There has been so much fear at Arsenal of losing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. This excellent performance at Chelsea without them made you wonder what all the fuss was about," the retired centre-back turned pundit told the Daily Mail.
"Without these two, Arsenal were much better defensively. They were disciplined, worked together and pressed as a unit to close down Chelsea."
Prior to the contest, Chelsea hadn't failed to score at Stamford Bridge since Antonio Conte took over more than a year ago. But a resilient Arsenal team, minus its 'superstars' dug in and fought.
"How many times do you see Sanchez flying forward to press and no one coming to join him?
Arsene Wenger has not been brave enough to leave out Ozil but how much does he offer the team?" Keown continued.
"With midfielders working around him, Aaron Ramsey was able to get on the ball more. He ran the show in midfield and it was his best display for years."
Sanchez eventually did take to the field midway through the second half, while Ozil was left out of the matchday squad altogether as Arsene Wenger looked to rotate and conserve his players.
Keown admitted that Sanchez and Ozil will of course still play a part this season, but what the game showed is that Arsenal are capable of being something other than the flashy team with no substance.
"From now on, every player must adopt this level of organisation in tricky away games. This showed the strength of their XI is better than any individual," he said.