kalerkantho


Arsenal need hard fight to claim top four spot

Goal.com   

1 January, 2018 13:05 PM



Arsenal need hard fight to claim top four spot

Photo: goal.com

A- A A+

The Gunners were victims of a poor refereeing decision on Sunday but were unimpressive throughout much of the game.

Arsenal’s performances away from home in 2017 are enough to show that they need more than one Alexis Sanchez in their squad.

The Chilean’s magic helped guide the Gunners to fifth place last season and they are perhaps fortunate in a sense that the forward is so determined on joining Manchester City next summer that he’s unlikely to leave the club in January.

Arsenal were underwhelming against West Brom on New Year's Eve, but they looked to have snatched all three points late on as Sanchez saw his deflected free-kick whistle in the net via James McClean.

However, Arsene Wenger would be left reeling on his record 811th Premier League game as referee Mike Dean awarded the Baggies a penalty in the 89th minute after deeming Calum Chambers to have deliberately handled the ball.

It wasn’t a penalty and it’s not the first time Dean has become the main headline in a Premier League football match, but, while it’s important to focus on refereeing errors in key top-flight clashes, it’s also worth noting that Arsenal’s performance was slow and languid throughout much of the 90 minutes.

The focal points in the Arsenal team are Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but without the latter on Sunday chances were few and far between. The rest of the team distributed the ball so slowly from side to side, giving the opposition a chance to regroup and organise themselves to prevent a counter attack.

Alex Iwobi has scored one goal in his last 27 appearances for the Gunners and had two opportunities to score against West Brom – one of which showed his lack of composure in front of goal. The Nigerian looks a different player for his country where he seems to light up in the final third and his confidence takes him past players with ease.

Then there is Hector Bellerin, a right-back who is forced to cover the entirety of the right wing every week due to Arsenal not having a right winger capable of tracking back or sticking in his position. Theo Walcott would make the most sense in that position, but a January exit is looming for the England international who has become somewhat of an outcast at Emirates Stadium this season.

From New Year's Day, Sanchez, Ozil and Jack Wilshere are all able to sign pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs. While it may mean nothing for the foreseeable months, the fact that Arsenal's best players' futures are in limbo and there is uncertainty over the best system to deploy means that times are looking depressingly familiar to last season.


Comments

TALK OF THE TOWN