By Greg F
Arsenal enter a period which could make or break their season, if results don’t go their way over the next two weeks Arsene Wenger may well see his side slip out of the title race, exit the FA Cup and almost certainly not progress in the Champions League. But in Swansea City they have a nice opponent of which they have a 70% chance of beating according to www.sporticos.com, who predict a 2:0 win due to Arsenal’s record at Emirates. The match comes during a difficult period for the Gunners who have struggled to find some level of consistency in the New Year.
This Wednesday’s Arsenal-Swansea fixture provides the Gunners an opportunity to regain a foothold in the title race as Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur face difficult tasks as they battle Liverpool and West Ham respectively, while Leicester City take on a tricky West Bromwich Albion side.
The Gunners disappointing 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday was yet another bump in the road in what has been a turbulent season full of highs and lows. However it was arguably one of Arsenal’s most infuriating performances. They failed to really get out of the starting blocks and stamp their authority on a side who were riddled with injuries and were there for the taking.
The infographic below demonstrates the clear lack of fight from a Gunners side who were stacked full of established international players and ‘exciting’ forwards. Just 6 attempts on goal, with 5 on target. This was against a side who had two central midfielders playing as centrebacks, a newly fit again Marcos Rojo and rookie Guillermo Varela as a back line.
Olivier Giroud’s tame effort coupled with some out-of-sorts finishing from Alexis Sanchez spells trouble for Arsenal. The emphatic last minute win over Leicester City feels like donkeys years ago, and even the odd Ozil assist is just simply not enough to neither provide a sense of optimism or do the job.
Speaking of the German, Ozil is currently the 3rd highest goalscorer for the Gunners with a measly 5 goals, Ramsey, Walcott and Alexis are also struggling to find their goalscoring touch. Wenger’s side simply are just not creating enough from midfield areas. Certainly the German’s 18 assists is a fantastic haul and sets him well on his way to breaking Theirry Henry’s record, but it will be all for nothing if Arsenal cannot maintain their title challenge.
Wenger has some difficult choices to make with his team selection, but no matter who he chooses this Arsenal side MUST beat Swansea City to stay in the hunt and prevent a thorough landslide.