The midfield has to cope with the pressure
It’s slowly becoming something of a habit, Arsenal are finding incessant pressing increasingly difficult to handle. Spurs’ midfield swarmed all over Ramsey, Coquelin and Cazorla to stop them from dictating the tempo of the game. Ramsey in particular had a torrid game while Cazorla was not at his impish best. Coquelin did okay but he too was found wanting at times.
This is not the first time that Arsenal’s game has been nullified by opposition pressing them high up the pitch. We were completely outplayed at Dortmund, while at Anfield we were lucky to emerge with a point (even though we could have won). However for all the clamour for a beast of a defensive midfielder I think we have missed Arteta’s reliability and calmness on the ball.
Our play is so dependent on the midfield functioning properly and if our midfield is disjointed our game plan is completely thrown out of the window. It’s something that Arsene should address immediately.
Walcott and Ramsey have to be dropped
Theo Walcott didn’t start but he didn’t have the desired impact on the game and even in the Villa game except for the goal his overall game was average at best. Yes he has just returned from a long term injury but it’s one month since his return and it’s time he starts delivering. He doesn’t has the skill of Sanchez nor the diligence of Welbeck, Walcott should have closed down Bentaleb for the second goal and his loose touch prevented him from capitalizing on a fantastic through ball from Rosicky.
Aaron Ramsey had one of those games where everything went against him. His passing was way off and I wonder whether he’s in the team purely on merit or in the hope that he would recapture last season’s form. Either way it’s not helping the team. Teams are isolating Ramsey, exploiting his on ball weakness and it’s hurting the team big time.
Monreal is increasingly becoming indispensable
If there was any player who was unlucky to end in the losing side it was Nacho Monreal. The Spaniard has come on in leaps and bounds and is undoubtedly our best defender at present. Kieran Gibbs has to battle his way into the team. Monreal’s stint at centre back has actually helped him improve his overall game, he knows when to attack and when to drop deep, his positional sense is impeccable, something which Gibbs so visibly lacks.
One under appreciated quality of Monreal is his heading, he is one of those who gets real distance on the ball while heading. The criticism that he often gets is he doesn’t attack like Gibbs but one thing people forget is that his final ball is much much better than Gibbs who more often than not crosses blindly into the box. Nacho despite his team’s non-performance was one of the better players on the day.
The Leicester game is a must win
Even had we not lost to that lot yesterday, Leicester at home is one game which you expect Arsenal to win. But now that we have lost we can’t afford to even draw to Leicester never mind lose. The reverse fixture was a drab 1-1 draw which in hindsight was something of a precursor to our season so far, so frustratingly inconsistent. Alexis Sanchez’s return is a massive boost and it won’t surprise me one bit if the Chilean inspires us yet again. After Saturday’s performance we certainly need it.