Arsenal’s defeat to Crystal Palace showed a number of recurring problems which fans have known about for years.
Due to the intoxication of good runs, the prospect of a fourth place in the premier league and a semi final slot in Europa league, we’ve all tended to skim over a number of flaws.
The loss to Palace has had a sobering effect on fans who are now looking into the deeper problems that were not dealt with under Wenger and which Emery had no funds to solve in the January Window.
The extent of these issues have been evident for the last three or so seasons and has cost Arsenal dearly every term.
Guns and Yellow ribbons (https://m.soundcloud.com/gunsandyellowribbons) gave an excellent appraisal of the game and the reasons why Arsenal lost and it’s from that platform that we’ll take the argument forward.
Firstly, there can’t be a supporter worth his salt that is prepared to defend Shkodran Mustafi. His ineptitude continues at a pace to such a degree that one concludes that he can’t get worse but he does.
In the Palace game, although Jenkinson played Benteke onside, Mustafi never looked behind to check, was running with his back to the threat and was hardly ever face on in the proceedings to snuff out the danger.
That was bad enough but there second and third goals were worse. He decided to try to out muscle Zaha and stall in the hope of blocking for Leno to claim a ball, even though it had zero pace on it.
Zaha zipped past and scored leaving Mustafi moaning to the heavens at which point, even had the gods shrugged their shoulders.
The third goal saw Mustafi ignore the threat of McArthur, who flew in for his goal even though it was preventable and the opposition player had almost telegraphed his intentions.
Mustafi let the space open up for the opportunity and didn’t offer any resistance. Arms in the air again looking to the skies. Dummkopf !!
He needs to go and if he doesn’t I’ll personally drive down to north London, kidnap him, throw him in the boot and put him on the first available boat out of Dover at high tide.
Enough is enough, this guy has been stealing a living for way too fucking long. He should have been investigated by police and prosecuted for fraud for posing as a world class centre back or at the very least, find himself in court under the trades descriptions act.
He’s as reliable as a second hand watch at a boot fair and about as dependable as a chocolate teapot. The second unavoidable fact is that you can only rotate successfully if you have depth in the squad.
The players have to be of equal value or quality to those they are replacing, which instantly rules out Lichtsteiner, Jenkinson and Elneny on a permanent basis.
Elneny adds nothing going forward, nothing in defence and zero in creativity.
He plays the ball out to predictable areas, lacks any vision and isn’t even the type of intelligent player that allows others to shine.
He is the equivalent of a Waitrose Vidal, the Sainsbury’s Pjanic or an Aldi version of Busquets and is typical of a Wenger purchase in the latter stages of his tenure.
Thirdly, Arsenal can’t deliver the creativity to provide a threat when they are pegged back.
Palace did their homework, they had two lines of four, rushing forward to deprive Arsenal of time and space and packing out the middle of the park but the gunners still persisted with the same style of football, which Hodgson’s team actually made redundant.
Apart from the introduction of Maitland-Niles and Iwobi, Arsenal had become somewhat flat and unimaginative, there was no plan B because there was no one to provide it.
Rushing the wings trying to fashion a chance or relying on the intuition and predatory skills of two forwards that require better service, isn’t a plan.
The middle offered nothing, with Ozil was drifting in and out from side to side and without the likes of Ramsey and Torriera to push through the middle, it was inevitable that Arsenal were going to come up short.
More than at anytime this season, Arsenal were found wanting in all three areas at the same time and until the day they find a cohesive defensive unit, they will struggle in the premier league and in any attempt to achieve success in Europe.
One, possibly two, decent central defenders are a must, two creative midfielders and a winger will provide the answers against the sides that simply negate our strengths on the ball.
Thank god Sokratis is back against Wolves to give some genuine combative strength in this vital encounter with games in short supply.
His availability means that the flouncing German with two left feet will find himself on the bench and hopefully someone will hide his boots in case Emery decides to bring him on.
Emery needs to forget about Valencia and put out a side that can pinch a result against an exceptional Wolves side.
How many times have they proved their worth in the premiership season. Not by fluke but by endeavour.
They are probably the best side to come out of the Championship for years, if not the best to date and Arsenal will have to give everything to keep their Champions league qualification hopes alive.