Today was a new low for the Gunners, after getting annihilated by AC Milan in midweek Arsenal once again failed to find the net in a horrible lackluster display that lacked any creativity and fluidity that leaves Wenger’s side in a tough position with massive fixtures on the horizon after loosing 2-nil to Sunderland.
Arsenal now have to face Spurs (h), Liverpool (a), AC Milan (h) and Newcastle (h) in the coming weeks and with the squad depleting after injuries to Mertesacker and Koscielny recently, and now Ramsey and Coquelin have been added to the medical team’s to-fix list, things are not looking good for a top four finish.
It is completely clear that the Gunners need more creativity and finesse in midfield, Song was the only creative force with Ramsey failing to breach Sunderlands defence at all, same with Rosicky. Both of these midfielders have been bland and slow in the past week and Ramsey especially begs the question as to whether he is good enough to be start for the Gunners as he hasn’t hit his stride for majority of the season. Maybe it’s time for a formation change until we have someone that can actually fulfill the advanced midfielder role.
Wenger still remains partly optimisitic for the remainder of the season, and as always has an excuse for the loss (Van Persie’s penalty claim and travelling to/from italy in the space of a week) but the bottom line is the performance was not good enough and there needs to be some sort of drastic change or change in approach asap otherwise we’re looking at a mid-table finish.
Wenger spoke after the Sunderland match:
[on the team’s display] We put in a committed performance and gave absolutely everything that was left in our legs. It was a very difficult game. We had a very unfortunate schedule because we played away in the Champions League then straight away [we played] away again on some very difficult pitches.
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We fought hard today. I felt we were a bit unlucky because there was a 100 per cent penalty for us that Mr Webb missed and then the first shot [for Sunderland] was a goal.
Then we had to chase the game and take every gamble and we were caught on the counter for the second goal. We had a lot of possession but didn’t create a lot, which was down to fantastic defending from Sunderland.
[on dealing with criticism] We have to take the critics on board, stay together and face them. There is only one response in our job; stay united, fight and focus on the next game.
[on ending the season without silverware] It is too early to say where it leaves us and what we will do. Let’s focus on the next game in the championship and fight, even if there is a small possibility [of progressing], in the Champions League. We have a big game next Saturday, we lost three players today and we are starting to get very short.
[on the next steps] At the moment it is best to let people talk, criticise, analyse and destroy and on our side it is important to show internal strength and resilience and come out with a strong performance in our next game.
[on injuries] Squillaci was injured. Coquelin is injured. Ramsey is injured.
Match video highlights: