Mikel Arteta bemoaned a "slow" and "leggy" Arsenal performance before casting doubt over any January signings as the Gunners were held to a goalless stalemate by Premier League bottom side Burnley.
The Clarets have seen a host of games postponed this month due to not having enough players available and fell to the foot of the table as their rivals were able to fulfil fixtures.
Wins for fellow relegation candidates Norwich and Newcastle earlier in the weekend only heaped pressure on Burnley, but Sean Dyche's side battled to a hard-fought point against a below-par Arsenal.
The Gunners are still without a win in 2022 with their top-four ambitions faltering and their exit from the two domestic cup competitions confirmed.
"We started slow, we looked leggy and didn't have enough rhythm or intention to attack the way we wanted," said Arteta.
"We started to play better, more rhythm and threat and came out in the second half completely different.
"We tried in every different way but lacked the quality in the final third. At the end, when we have a really low block, you need spark and creativity to win football matches and today we didn't do that.
"It is what they do, they want to play a slow game, it takes long, it is their game and you have to respect that."
Arsenal have let Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun, Sead Kolasinac and Pablo Mari leave the club this month without bringing in any new recruits.
Coupled with injuries, coronavirus and the Africa Cup of Nations it has left Arteta short, with four of his substitutes against Burnley having no Premier League experience.
But the Spaniard suggested it will be "difficult" for Arsenal to add to their squad before the winter window shuts as he targets players to take the club forward.
"It's what we planned, but the market is difficult, it's complicated," he said.
"We knew that, but it's a lot to manage and we have to make the right decisions with players that we believe are going to really help us and try to bring in ones that can take us to the next level.
"We are certainly trying, but I don't know if we're going to be able to do it. Let's see, it's not only our intention but a lot of facts that are needed to happen.
"Players that come here have to be able to take us to the next level. We already have a level, and we want to see much better standards than we already have, and that is how we're going to recruit."
Burnley were back in action following a prolonged break, having not played a league game in over three weeks.
Sean Dyche felt the battling draw is something to build on as they look to move towards safety in the coming weeks.
"It is a building block, you want to move in the right direction, we just felt it was appropriate to get them right back to the basics," he said.
"It gives us a nice platform to keep building on that performance because I thought the mentality and the performance was spot on coming to a place like this.
"With all the situations around the performance today, it has been very, very difficult. We have only had a group we can work with in the last two days because we didn't have the bodies.
"We had to work hard when they had the ball and we did that, it is the mentality for me. We have had players missing, players training and two or three who were out there today who wouldn't be in a normal set of circumstances."
Asked about Burnley's plans for the next fortnight, Dyche added: "We will find that balance, some need a break, some need training.
"The main thing is to try and stay well and hopefully over the next two weeks we start getting numbers back, fit and sharp."
Ramsdale 5, White 7, Holding 6, Gabriel 6, Tierney 6, Saka 6, Odegaard 7, Sambi Lokonga 6, Smith Rowe 6 (Nketiah 77), Martinelli 6, Lacazette 6.
: Leno, Tavares, Chambers, Alebiousu, Biereth, Oulad M'hand, Hutchinson, Patino.
Pope 7, Roberts 6, Tarkowski 7, Mee 6, Pieters 6, Lennon 5, Westwood 5, Brownhill 5, McNeil 6, Vydra 7, Rodriguez 5 (Gudmundsson 83).
Hennessey, Lowton, Cork, Stephens, Collins, Bardsley, Long, Thomas.
David Coote 5