The start of this season has been a tough one for Arsenal fans. The excitement of signing Alexis Sanchez has quickly been replaced by the usual frustration in the direction of Arsene Wenger’s transfer dealings. After five below par performances, Jack Cairns takes a look at what went wrong at the King Power stadium.
Without being overly harsh, it’s a struggle to see where Yaya Sanogo’s level actually is. He hardly banged in goals in the French Ligue 2 and he’s looked like a fish out of water ever since he arrived in North London. One would be surprised if any Championship club were happy with Sanogo as their lone striker.
It’s not all the young Frenchman’s fault though as he always gives 100% but it’s plain to see his ability doesn’t quite match his enthusiasm. Even his assist was borne out of his lack of agility rather than his natural talent.
Arsenal fans are understandably frustrated with their lack of options going forward and when Olivier Giroud was ruled out until Christmas signing a forward seemed like an obvious move. With Arsene Wenger refusing to comment on Loic Remy completing his move to Chelsea, many fans have read into that as proof Arsenal were interested in the French forward.
Fans now hope Wenger sets his sights elsewhere before the transfer window closes on Monday night. Let’s hope, for the sake of the Arsenal fans, that he does because if Arsenal are to rely on Yaya Sanogo until Giroud’s return, they may be out of the title race before it even begins.
Last year, while Arsenal struggled to score at one end they kept it tight at the back. So far this year, that hasn’t been the case.
Mertesacker’s desperate lunge in the direction of Romelu Lukaku last weekend may have been put down as a rare slip but after Arsenal’s shambolic performance against Arsenal (don’t forget their horror show in Istanbul), it’s clear that their defensive line isn’t working smoothly.
This could all be down to the lack of a defensive midfielder. While Mikel Arteta may have struggled against Europe’s elite, he was always a capable holding midfielder when Arsenal made their regular trips away from The Emirates. He’s been missed in the last two games as the Gunners have struggled to get a handle on their opposition.
No disrespect to Leicester but Mahrez & Schlupp are hardly Ronaldo & Bale; Arsenal should have been able to deal with the Leicester wingers.
Without a capable holding midfield to marshall the back four, Arsenal were undone far too easily. Mathieu Flamini may love the club, perhaps more than any other player, but there is a reason he was let go in 2008. Much like their forward issues, Arsene Wenger must act in the transfer market or Arsenal risk losing out on all silverware this season.
Although the weekly complaints about Mesut Özil are rather boring, they are unfortunately unavoidable. Another week has gone by and the German has, again, failed to deliver any tangible evidence as to why he should still be regarded as one of the best No. 10s in the world. Those were, of course, his words in the prematch press conference.
Forced out on the left, again, it was clear to see that the German wasn’t comfortable and while this may contribute to his poor form most Arsenal fans expect that a midfielder, who cost over forty million, should be able to adapt. He’s drifted in and out of games without a care since January and while Arsenal are struggling, many fans are beginning to question if Özil’s performances are a luxury they can afford.
His World Cup win was suppose to invigorate the German but unfortunately he’s come back the same player that left in May. Benching Mesut for a couple of weeks may be best for all involved. When he left the field for treatment, Alan Smith commented that Leicester should go for it with the Gunners down to ten. In truth, it didn’t matter whether Mesut was on the field or not, he wasn’t going to defend; that pretty much sums up his season.
It’s clear then, just like it was before kick-off and like it has been for weeks, that Arsene Wenger needs to bring in a holding midfielder and a striker. Sadly, it’s doubtful Arsenal fans will get both.
Two more points needlessly dropped and a seemingly inactive end to the transfer window; Piers Morgan’s #WengerOut brigade are beginning to light their torches and gather some pitchforks.
Jack Cairns, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom (Mesut Özil Uploaded by Dudek1337) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.