Arsenal’s performance against Liverpool was pathetic, in every sense, in that they lacked creativity, lacked defensively, and lacked tactically. There was not a shot on target for Arsenal in yesterday’s 4-0 defeat at Anfield and something needs to change.
When you travel to one of the best teams in the country, you would expect a midfielder to protect the back four or five, depending on the formation, and also expect to stop the counter attack, but that did not happen. Arsene Wenger played Ramsey and Xhaka as the two central midfielders, to add to the already ‘creative’ Sanchez and Özil. They needed someone just to protect the centre-backs, someone like Francis Coquelin, who was left on the bench. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says that he wants to play in central midfield, but he was defensively inept yesterday. He doesn’t deserve the opportunity to play where he wants to play. Don’t get me wrong, he is a good player, but he is not good enough defensively to be a wing-back, he has to be played further up the pitch, and that’s why some of the tactics were wrong.
It was round pegs in square holes for Arsenal in every sense, why do you play Monreal at left centre-back, when you have Mustafi on the bench. Why do you have a right footed right back at left wing back, when you have Kolasinac, brought in as a left wing-back, who was on the bench. And why do you have your most expensive player, in Alexandre Lacazette, left on the bench. Wenger has too much loyalty to some of the players, and he has to be more ruthless, when telling their players that they weren’t good enough.
What I couldn’t understand was why they sold defender, Gabriel to Valencia, even though it was clear to everyone that they were lacking centre-backs already. It doesn’t look like they are going to sign another centre-back, so they are definitely going to struggle against the top teams, which is why they are not going to make the top four. You could mention that they weren’t enough protection, hence why Liverpool had so much space when they were exposing the Gunners on the counter attack. Liverpool’s third goal, scored by Mohammed Salah, came from an Arsenal corner, and there was only one player in Bellerin around the half-way line, and when the Spaniard lost the ball, there was no-one to help recover the ball, and Salah went onto slide it past Petr Cech.
You watch Arsenal, and there is no leader who is telling his fellow players what to do, and there is no accountability. Whenever Liverpool scored, the Arsenal players looked deflated and it was heads down and not communicate with anyone. I don’t know what Alexis Sanchez was doing flailing his arms around. You attack as a team, and you defend as a team, and Sanchez didn’t help out defending. You don’t win Premier League games by playing as individuals, you work hard as a team.
Arsenal have now been linked with a move to activate the release clause of Spanish winger, Marco Asensio from Real Madrid. It would be a good signing; however, it isn’t necessary at this time. They need to buy a world-class centre-back because they definitely have the money to do it. The new stadium is not an excuse as to why they can’t sign big players because they make plenty of money from ticket sales, which is the highest in the league, and second highest in Europe. They make 131 million euros per financial year, and with TV and prize money to add to it, why aren’t they spending like Manchester City and Manchester United on new players. In actual fact, some would say that they are only a few players away from becoming a really successful club.
Winning last season’s FA Cup, some would say, was papering over the cracks. They did play Chelsea at Wembley; however, the Blues were not at their best. Arsenal do have potential, but they do play games where they have been shocking and they do not adapt to games and be able to grind out results.
If you look back to previous Arsenal teams over the years, they were bombarded with leaders in Vieira, Adams, and Bergkamp, and they were winning multiple Premier Leagues, and FA Cups. They won those trophies under Arsene Wenger, and he is fighting very hard to keep his job. Where did it all go wrong?