It is hard to have much faith in Arsene Wenger and Arsenal right now – especially as the Gunners are heading backwards whilst the rest of their top four rivals are on the up. Prior to the 2-0 victory over Hull City last weekend, Arsenal had lost four of their last nine Premier League games and slipped further and further behind leaders Chelsea in the title race. Now, it would be fair to state that most of us fans have given up hope on a first crown since 2004 and yet another top four finish will have to suffice.
Of course there is the glimmer of hope for silverware with the FA Cup win over Sutton and the kind draw that sees them face Lincoln City on March 11th at Emirates Stadium, however it seems that familiar fallings continue to blight Arsene Wenger’s quest for another Premier League trophy as well as progression to the Champions League Quarter-Finals.
The whole team was missing and found wanting against Bayern Munich. Of course up popped Alexis Sanchez to bury home a woeful penalty attempt that was saved by Manuel Neuer, but the loss of Laurent Koscielny after the break saw the Gunners capitulate in horrific fashion. It is worrying times at Arsenal.
Alexis Sanchez had to dig them out of trouble in a game of two handballs against Hull City. Referee Mark Clattenburg missed the Chilean divert the ball into the Hull goal in the first half but he was eagle-eyed when Sam Clucas blocked Lucas Perez’s effort in the dying embers.
Sometimes these decisions go your way, other times they don’t, but Arsenal were certainly grateful for the breathing space after a late Hull siege. The ever-reliable Sanchez duly converted from the spot to ensure that Arsenal got back to winning ways after successive defeats to Watford and Chelsea.
Yet despite the three points, there was an aura of disappointment and lack of atmosphere around the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal struggled to put Hull away and better finishing from the Tigers could have cost the Gunners dearly once again.
- [Player Ratings] Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United – Saka Impresses But an Early Concern For Arteta
- [Match Report] Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United – Wasteful Gunners Concede Late
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v Sheffield Utd – Mustafi & Martinelli Start
A huge number of Arsenal’s key names aren’t playing well enough right now and Arsene Wenger needs to be mix things up when naming his starting line-up and rekindle the spark that has been missing for a number of months now. At this stage of the season, Arsenal cannot afford to carry any passengers. Everybody needs to be in good form.
Mesut Ozil has struggled for form at times this year and Wenger has done his best to support the Germany midfielder despite calls for him to be dropped (via Independent). Rested for the match against Sutton in order to recuperate, Ozil has scored just twice since November 1st – a return that simply isn’t good enough considering his price tag and sparkling form at the start of the campaign. He has performed admirably since moving to the Premier League but his head looks elsewhere right now; it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him push for a transfer away from Arsenal this summer.
On the other hand, Sanchez is clearly taking it game by game and works tirelessly for the Arsenal cause. The Chile star is currently leading the way at the top of the Premier League’s Golden Boot charts and it would take a brave man to back against Arsenal’s main man right now.
At the time of writing, Sanchez is 4/1 with 888sport to finish as the top goal scorer this season and plenty of Gunners fans will fancy the former Barcelona star to do just that, even with questions over his future clouding his preparation every time he steps onto the pitch.
Wenger has a few tough choices to make ahead of the business end of the campaign but one thing is for sure: Arsenal are relying on Sanchez in the fight for the top four. And while the Chile star is an exceptional talent, the Gunners will miss out if the likes of Ozil continue to cruise through matches in second gear.