Arsenal vs Liverpool. Emirates Stadium. 24th August 2015.
1. Wenger’s sentiments clouds his judgment
Once again, Arsene Wenger displayed the kind of sentiment that has often cost him dearly when he decided to play Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey together at the cost of his attack and ultimately 2 points.
We thought we had seen the end of trying to fit Wilshere and Ramsey into the starting XI with negative results. But after some months of excelling with wing play, Wenger made a tactical shift for our home game against Liverpool last season when Chamberlain was injured by playing Ramsey wide, and it yielded a good result.
The fans were happy because it seemed Wenger had become flexible with tactics at last. But with Chamberlain back to full fitness, Wenger’s insistence in keeping the winger on the bench just so as not to sacrifice Ramsey or Santi has brought back the sorrows Arsenal fans endured during the Ramsey/ Wilshere days. Now even after bad results in the first two games, Wenger still stuck to the formation just so Ramsey and Santi get starts.
2. We need a striker desperately
If any game proved that Arsenal don’t have a striker, it was against Liverpool.
In the first half, Skrtel and Lovren had only Ozil and Sanchez to look out for, because obviously Giroud wasn’t even a potential threat, talk more an actual one. Even when he improved in the second half it was obvious he isn’t the kind of threat a title chasing team needs.
When Henry said Arsenal cannot win the title with Giroud leading the line, it wasn’t a lie. Arsenal has always been famed for their attacking prowress where everyone scores, but we certainly need a striker that would popup on our bad day and prove the difference – Remember Henry against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu some years back?
We’ll agree that Henry was in a class of his own, but right now Arsenal have the worst strike force in the top 10 Premier League teams. Diafra Sakho poses more threat to a defence than Giroud truth be told.
3. Coquelin is going to be an upgrade on Alex Song
Against Liverpool, Coquelin showed he is an upgrade on Alex Song, he is that midfield battler we didn’t have in Song, and also that physical deep lying playmaker we had in Song.
His discipline has obviously improved, with his sitting back and not roaming from his position knowing the threat Liverpool posed, but it didn’t stop him from helping the attack with some really improved long range passes.
If he had a striker like van Persie and a winger with Walcott’s pace, Song’s memories would have been buried in that game. The most important element we saw was his recovery from the match against Crystal Palace, he had his emotions completely in check this time – obvious sign of maturity.
His tackles were as orgasmic to watch as an attacker’s dribble, the way he neatly robbed his opponents and put fear in them was a joy to watch. In two seasons he would be a certified world class defensive midfielder if he keeps that up.
4. Gabriel Paulista is the Real Deal
Gabriel Paulista started this game because of a back injury to Koscielny, but he proved he can be a first choice as his performance was almost flawless. He also covered up for Chambers so many times during the game.
5. Arsenal need to revert to wing play
Remember the most potent Arsenal attacking period after Henry’s days, we had a Lightning bolt Walcott running the right flank, and a very tricky Hleb then Arshavin working the left flank, with a decent Adebayor and later a World class Van Persie finishing in the middle?
Those were the days when Arsenal’s problem wasn’t putting the ball in the opponents net, because they had the right mix of pace and tricks in attack. Today we have an even better squad (save for the number 9 position) but the missing thing is that pace on the right flank which would stretch opponents.
Fortunately, we have Chamberlain who gives us just that, and adds tricks and power to sweeten it, but unfortunately we have Wenger who is so stubborn that you sometimes get the feeling he is out rightly blind to success as he age.
After Chamberlain terrorized Chelsea, he has been benched against Palace and Liverpool, robbing us of pace on the right flank. The sooner we start seeing Sanchez and Chamberlain working both flanks, with a decent striker upfront, the sooner we would become realistic title contenders.
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