Arsenal have failed to score for the third time in a row as Southampton leave London with a point in their pocket. It was another frustrating night for the Gunners as we didn’t manage to score once from 21 attempts. Fortunately, Southampton couldn’t find the net either, so the game ended 0:0.
We’re up against Bournemouth this weekend, and if we can’t manage to score against them then something is really wrong at Arsenal. We have only played the Cherries twice in our entire history, winning both games to nil. Unsurprisingly, we are favourites to win again when we travel to the South Coast on Sunday.
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Hopefully we can avoid making the same mistakes this weekend. And with that in mind, here are the key points from the Southampton game:
1.Yes, Mr Wenger, you should have signed a world-class striker!
It was interesting to read Arsene Wenger’s words after the game. He said: “If you knew a world-class striker who could have strengthened our team, you should have told me before the transfer deadline was over. They do not walk in the street and say ‘please, here is a world-class striker, can you take me?’ They are all at big clubs and are under contract. There were none available.” (via Arsenal.com)
Mr Wenger, are you serious? According to this, only a world-class striker without a contract with any club is available for Arsenal. But, first of all, it’s your job to find a world-class striker. It’s not something journalists should have done for you unless you had hired them as scouts.
“We have [Theo] Walcott, we have [Olivier] Giroud, we have [Mesut] Ozil, we have Alexis [Sánchez], we have [Danny] Welbeck, who is coming back.”
Walcott has had forty attempts on goal so far and scored three goals (via Squawka.com). Giroud has scored two goals in the last eight league games. Özil is not a striker. Alexis hasn’t scored in the league since our 3:0 victory against Watford on 17th October. Welbeck is yet to feature this season, and he is hardly a world-class finisher, as his conversion rate from the last season shows – he scored just four goals out of 58 attempts (via Squawka.com).
“We can score goals, we have shown that before,” Wenger continued.
Our game against Southampton was fourth at home and seventh overall in which we didn’t score. Last season we had failed to find the net in just five occasions.
2.Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez are the only world-class outfield players in our team.
I admit: I’m occasionally prone to label some of our players as “a world-class” like Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin…but it’s not true. In reality, there are just two world-class players in our team: Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. The two of them were battering Southampton with fantastic passes and peppering the goal with shots, but neither of them could score. If there is a single silver lining from the game, it’s their co-operation as their understanding with each other grows and grows. They are head and shoulders above all our other players as this stunning fact will prove: they created fourteen chances between them against Southampton (via Squawka.com). Sadly, they don’t have a team-mate like Edinson Cavani, Karim Benzema, or Robert Lewandowski to put chances away.
3.Why Mathieu Flamini?
For the record, Flamini didn’t make a major screw up against Southampton. However, one has to wonder what on earth is going through Arsene Wenger’s head when it comes to The Flame. He should be our fourth-choice defensive midfielder behind Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers, and even Mohammed Elneny.
4.It looks like our title challenge is about to crumble due to a poor January transfer window.
In 2007-08 we tried to win the league with Manuel Almunia between the sticks. Wenger had a lot of faith in the Spanish goalkeeper but it simply didn’t work. Almunia was a mediocre goalkeeper with a few excellent performances. Manchester United had Edwin Van der Sar, Chelsea had Petr Čech and we had…Manuel Almunia.
In 2010-11 we tried to win the league with Sebastien Squillaci in central defence. It didn’t work because the Frenchman looked out of his depth. Put it this way: Squillaci was so bad that he had made Johann Djourou look like an excellent central defender. After Thomas Vermaelen had been sidelined for a season, Wenger was expected to sign a top central defender. However, he didn’t sign either Chris Samba or Gary Cahill in the January transfer window so our season was over in a fortnight.
In 2013-14 we tried to win the league without January replacements for any of our injured pacy players. From top of the league in February we had dropped out of Champions League zone at the beginning of April, but we eventually managed to secure the fourth spot at the expense of Everton.
In 2015-16 we have been trying to win the league without a world-class striker and without decent cover for our injured defensive midfielder. It hasn’t been working so far as our current fourth place position suggests.
If I would have to draw similarities, I would compare our current campaign with the one from 2010-11 – we are still alive in the FA Cup, we are about to face Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16, the league is there for the taking… but we all know that “Arsenal – the champions for 2015-16″ sounds too good to be true.
5.There is no time left – we have to step up!
We can’t afford to slip up against Bournemouth so it is a must-win game. And so is the one against Leicester. And, I dare to say, the one against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We have enough quality to restore momentum and keep our title dream alive. Right now, we are as close to the top as we are to the fifth place.
After four matches without victory, we will make our first trip to Bournemouth. We should have won the reverse fixture with at least five-goal margin which says a lot about their defence. Hopefully our attack will do the job for once!