Very few Arsenal fans would have expected the positive start Arsenal made to the Premier League this August and September, given the gloom surrounding the departure of Robin van Persie over the summer.
But as the nights started to draw in there appeared to be a confidence in the Wenger’s re-built squad both up front and at the back.
However, back-to-back defeats after the international break this month have suddenly exposed old, lingering weaknesses that could once again hinder Arsenal’s chances of a trophy this season.
The Gunners were shambolic in their 1-0 defeat to Norwich City, defending without communication and unable to puncture a solid wall of yellow in their opponent’s half.
Against Schalke a few days later. admittedly against a stronger team bang in form, the side once again came up against a defence determined not to concede and happy to play on the break, with the 2-0 win the least they deserved
Assistant boss Steve Bould has put Arsenal’s recent slump down to mentality, stating: “It looks like we’re lacking confidence on the ball and that’s unusual. We looked a bit tired and jaded.”
Indeed, there is a distinct absence of confidence in the side, particularly in the forward line. As mentioned in plenty of champions league predictions. Schalke’s players went into the game knowing their defensive duties and kept the Spanish duo of Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta at bay. Without Cazorla on the ball, Arsenal were forced more and more to go down the wings – but Theo and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were both out injured.
Whenever Arsenal did make a progressive move the ball inevitably fell to Gervinho, who – with the greatest of respect – consistently looks like he is unable to control the ball or play a quick pass. The striker far too often looks lost without the ball and headless with it and so his team-mates are becoming less and less confident in playing him the ball.
The apparent ‘footballing reasons’ for selling Robin van Persie (yeah, right) look distinctly shaky when you cast a glance at Arsenal’s current lightweight forward line. The win over QPR did give us something to cheer, but it was a thoroughly uninspiring victory and one that hardly gives us confidence going forward.
Arsenal have struck fewer shots that any other team in the Champions League this season – only 22 – with without the assurance of a main striker’s ability to maintain possession they will fare little better as the tournament progresses.
Guest post brought to you courtesy of Tom Brown.