Leicester City Prove That Arsenal DESPERATELY Need A Striker

In the end a frustrating game where Arsenal couldn’t beat a newly promoted Leicester City side.

Having lost to Chelsea and drawn to Everton, Leicester were not intimidated by the arrival of Arsenal and a draw was probably a fair result – although it could be argued that the home team had the clearer chances on goal.

Arsenal looked lively at times and but the home team were content (and quite rightly so) to sit back and hit us on the break. Just like at home to Crystal Palace and away to Everton, we struggled to get our passing game going and we greatly missed the presence of Olivier Giroud in the side.

With various options in the squad, Arsene opted to start Yaya Sanogo and his inexperience showed. His touch was poor, and he couldn’t hold the ball up and bring others into play.

And if you were connected to Twitter during the game, you would know that the majority of Arsenal fans were not happy with the fact Arsene decided to miss out on Remy, who ended up going to Chelsea.

It is clear that even against a side such as Leicester City, we struggled to take our chances and you wonder how we are going to fair leading up to Christmas without a decent striker.

The fact is, we desperately need a top class centre forward.

But what are we going to do? Falcao is off to Real Madrid, we’ve missed out on Remy… Our options are quickly dwindling and the number of decent strikers available must be into the single figures. The sad thing is, we have a decent defence and midfield, but not top striker. With one in the squad, we could probably do great things this season.

As ever, Arsene is being extremely stubborn and it’s clear we’ve made our one marquee signing per summer with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. The Chillean was excellent today, and by far our best player – he showed fight, desire and determination throughout the 90 minutes and tried to make things happen.

The other players however, were poor. Ramsey tried but couldn’t get his passing going, as did Cazorla, while Özil looks like he’s still suffering from a World Cup hangover. Flamini is not the defensive midfielder we need and Yaya Sanogo had a glorious chance to put us ahead but shot straight at Baby Schmeichel.

Chambers was excellent when he came on for Koscielny, and Per, Debuchy and Monreal all had solid games. But the problem was in the final third where Arsene decided not to use Podolski or Campbell.

Sanogoals is not the answer and it’s unfair to have him as the scapegoat for Arsene’s inability to see that we need to bring in a top striker. Chelsea already have Diego Costa and what do they do? They strengthen as they obviously have aspirations to win something this season and bring in Remy, who is a decent player. We desperately need a striker and don’t get one, it really is mind baffling.

So where do we go from here? Without a decent striker we struggled against Leicester City, and that does not bode well for the rest of the season.

The excellent Sanchez got us out of jail today in a game we could have conceivably lost. Without a new striker, we could struggle to get 4th place this season.

Players Fight For Arsene Wenger In Biggest Game Of The Season

The season only started 11 days ago and tonight was one of the biggest games of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career. A goal-less draw last week in Turkey meant that nothing but a win would do – and an away goal to Besiktas could prove hugely problematic to our hopes of playing in Europe’s premier competition.

The referee was extremely picky, showing his yellow card every 12 seconds. In terms of letting the game flow, he was awful and I think he was worse than the referee we had in the Champions League Final in 2006, and that’s saying something.

In terms of nervy nights, this was right up there. Arsenal scored when Alexis Sanchez slotted the ball home after good work from Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere, but after that we struggled to increase our lead. With a single away goal from Besiktas enough to knock us out of the Champions League proper for the first time in 17 seasons, every miss added to the immense pressure – with Oxlade-Chamberlain having the best chance to guarantee Arsenal’s progress.

As Besiktas chased the away goal they needed, the game opened up and Arsenal had numerous chances to bury the game. It didn’t come and the referee, who made a series of terrible decisions all night, decided to send of Mathieu Debuchy after clearly winning the ball.

After that, it was all hands on deck as Arsenal defended for their lives, literally.

Chambers came on for Özil and the team were fantastic. Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Nacho Monreal – everyone in fact, were immense, showing a huge amount of fight, desire and determination to get past the finish line.

In a world where some managers find it difficult to get their players to play for them, here there was no doubt whatsoever that Arsene Wenger doesn’t have the complete backing and trust from all of his players.

Arsenal have struggled in recent games, mainly because the majority of our players were involved in the World Cup. Without adequate rest before the start of the season, we’ve had to slowly get our rhythm and fitness back which has affected our performances – but in the past where we could have played badly and lost games, we’ve played badly and not lost any.

What does that mean when we do get our form and everyone is playing at the top level?

It means we’ll be a real force this season, home and abroad.

I’m So Glad I Got Everton at 10/1 To Finish Fourth This Season

Arsenal have been in free fall ever since the hiding at Anfield in February and as I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, the form between Liverpool and Arsenal since then has been polar opposites. Before the Anfield debacle, we were 7 points ahead of them and before this weekend even kicked off, we were 8 behind – in the space of under 2 months we’ve conceded a 15 point swing.

That’s why a few weeks ago I look at the odds for Everton to finish 4th. They were a good few points behind us at that stage (I can’t remember exactly how many it was) and they were 10/1 to finish 4th. Yesterday, before the game the odds were 3/1 and now after the decisive defeat to Everton, they would have surely become even smaller.

And even yesterday, I even predicted that Everton would demolish Arsenal. I got some abuse for writing that, with people calling me a negative twat (amongst other things). I’m not negative, I’m realistic. I watch Arsenal all the time and can see how the players are performing on the pitch.

The problem is (and I’ve received criticism for even suggesting it) is that we no longer have any belief. We don’t have any fight, there’s no desire and we have lost the plot. I suggested that Arsene Wenger had lost the dressing room and is there any evidence to dispute that? The players walk onto the pitch and walk around as if they don’t care.

And again today, as I predicted, we were a shambles. I highly rate Roberto Martinez and his side are hungry, determined and simply wanted it more. At Arsenal, failure is accepted and even rewarded it seems, with new deal after new deal given to players who consistently fail to win any honours.

As it stands, Everton are a single point behind us with a game in hand. With Arsenal unable to turn up to any away game then Everton who are the far more hungrier team, are favourites to get that final Champions League spot.

And I for one won’t be disappointed and will be ready to collect my winnings come the end of the season.

Thanks For Everything Arsene, But It’s Time For You To Leave

I wrote only yesterday that Arsene Wenger needed to learn his lesson from the other away games against the big sides. We were humiliated against Manchester City, annihilated at Anfield and lost at Manchester United. The result at Old Trafford was only 1-0, but this was against the worst Manchester United side in the last 20 years.

I also said that a draw would keep us in the race, a win would give us the belief we can win the Premier League and a defeat would mean we’re out of the running.

As it turned out, Arsene got his approach against a big team completely wrong again, and just like at Anfield, the game was effectively over as a contest after 17 minutes.

Regular readers will know that I have a hatred for Olivier Giroud. He is a second rate striker and concentrates more on his “poses” after missing a goalscoring opportunity. But the biggest reason I can’t stand him is because he is not good enough for Arsenal. And once again, he contributed to our downfall.

After only 4 minutes into the game, Giroud was beautifully put through by Tomas Rosicky but somehow managed to execute another lame shot which was easily saved by Cech. About 30 seconds late, Chelsea attacked and Samuel Eto’o scored a goal which Giroud could only dream of. Even though Eto’o is now 33 years old, the fact was he used to be a world class striker – and the chances he and Giroud had showed. Eto’o was composed, clinical and deadly when his chance came while Giroud, well know all about him and his poor finishing.

Against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United away we were in a healthy position in the league. So why not play for a draw? Or at least setup so you’re difficult to beat. We’ve show we can do it against Borussia Dortmund so why the f*ck can’t we do it against Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea?

If I can f*cking see it, then why can’t Arsene Wenger?

He’s just had a new contract worth £7.5 million a year and why the hell can’t he see that he plays far too open against the top sides?

Honestly, can someone answer that question?

We were 5 points clear at the top of the table in November and now we sit 7 points off the top. We haven’t dropped points against the “lesser sides” but we’ve literally thrown away points, and in dramatic fashion, against the top clubs.

We know today was Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game for the club and we all know he has been amazing for the club but today was an utter shambles. It was a disgraceful, pathetic performance with no tactical intelligence.

Is Arsene hell bent on giving the other title challengers massive confidence boosts? 6-3 at City, 5-1 at Liverpool and then this joke at Chelsea. I cannot understand for the life of me why Arsene plays such an open game. You could forgive him if he made this mistake once, but he’s done it 4 times now.

This season we have done amazingly well but unfortunately, Arsene has shown he has take the club as far as he can. If you collapse so badly against your main title rivals, then you have no chance.

Great Effort From Arsenal, But The Damage Was Done In The First Leg

Tonight we faced Bayern Munich, the reigning European Champions, in their own back yard and gave them a game. This season we’ve been guilty of under-performing and putting in displays that have been subpar, but tonight was not one of those nights. I was proud of the effort the boys put in today.

Our game-plan was excellent, and in that regard Arsene couldn’t have done better with the resources he had. About 5 minutes into the game, I tweeted that Theo would have been perfect for a match like this. Bayern who already held a comfortable lead, would predictably try and dominate possession, especially at home, and stifle any threat from Arsenal. That happened but with that there was a lot of space in behind as they pushed high up the pitch. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain apart, we had no real pace to scare the Bayern back line.

Without Ramsey or Theo, it would always be an uphill challenge and it was hard not to think back to the first leg when Mesut Özil stepped up to take that penalty. I have no doubt whatsoever that if he smashed the ball into the net and scored in that moment, the tie would have been completely different.

But back to tonight, and most of the players put in a real shift. Fabianksi was excellent, saving a penalty from Thomas Müller and making a smart save from a Götze half volley. He didn’t have a chance for the Schweinsteiger goal. Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna and Vermaelen were excellent, and I was particularly impressed with the captains performance considering he’s been out for a long time both injured and on the bench. With Gibbs being injured during parts of the season, I would seriously consider using Vermaelen in that position on a more regular basis. He is part more secure than Monreal and always gives 110%. Maybe that’s how Vermaelen can get himself back into more regular first team action.

Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla were deployed to anchor the midfield which was a slightly surprising selection choice as most people thought Mathieu Flamini would start. But it signalled Arsene Wenger’s intent having more attacking midfielders on the pitch. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski made up the midfield while Olivier Giroud spearheaded the attack. Podolski was also a surprise selection choice, but I guess Arsene felt he had nothing to lose.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was excellent and full of running, while Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta were the same. Mesut Özil was poor in the first 45 minutes and was duly taken off for Rosicky at half time. Reports suggested that Özil had a hamstring tweak, while more cynical Gooners felt Arsene was being brave. I prefer to think it was the latter.

Lukas Podolski had a quiet game as well but popped up with a goal which gave us all some hope with half an hour left, and a goal we deserved on the night. Unfortunately, it was clear we had ran out of legs and we couldn’t muster the energy to force that last push to try and score the two more goals we needed.

We had a few half chances in the closing minutes of the game but in the end, it was one hell of a gutsy performance from an Arsenal side that had a virtually impossible task. The damage was done in the first leg, but Arsenal gave a performance every Arsenal fan can be proud of.

Arsene pointed out before the game that referees had conspired against Arsenal, pointing to the sending off of Jens Lehmann in the final and Van Persie at the Nou Camp. It’s hard not to agree with the sentiment as the Szczesny red card was also harsh in my eyes.

Another season where we’ve been knocked out of the Champions League at the first knockout stage and it’s not hard to think with a bit more luck, we would have progressed further in the last few seasons.