Arsenal’s title chances took a major blow on Tuesday when Arsene Wenger saw his boys struggling to defend against a surprisingly resilient Bournemouth team. Although the Gunners managed an incredible comeback scoring 3 goals in the last 20 minutes and squeeze out a point, their chance to close the gap with Chelsea was not taken at all.
Arsenal’s nervy away from
It all started with the shock defeat at Goodison Park last month against Everton. Arsenal have since then lost to Manchester City and scraped a draw anyhow through Bournemouth’s thunderstorm. A look at their next few away fixtures and one can make out that their chances of finishing in the top two looks bleak now.
They face Swansea, Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool in the next four away games and none of them looks easy given the Gunners’ away form.
Arsenal’s midfield void
More than the surprising draw and the dropped points, what could be a more crucial blow for Arsenal will be its large gap in the central midfield left by Francis Coquelin’s injury. Santi Cazorla is out until early March at least and Mohamed Elneny isn’t returning from the African Cup of Nations any time soon.
Although a timeframe isn’t yet provided by the club on the French midfielder’s injury, it is expected that Coquelin is surely missing the next three weeks. Wenger elucidated on his observance in the post-match conference, where he stated that his injury didn’t look good.
And the way Aaron Ramsey played last night, Wenger can’t risk deploying him alongside Granit Xhaka in the game. He doesn’t have many options in that position now and is also highly unlikely to get reinforcements this winter. Arsenal fans could only hope Ramsey starting clicking with Xhaka and fast!
Wenger’s poor team selection
The game against Bournemouth brought to the fore yet again Arsene Wenger’s poor team selection. The only change he made to the team that visited the Vitality Stadium was Mustafi coming in for Gabriel. The players looked way too tedious since the start and Bournemouth took utmost advantage of it.
It was incomprehensible why Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lucas Perez didn’t start the match, where Wenger knew that the only way to beat Bournemouth would to outpace them. Wenger stated post-match that Laurent Koscielny looked a bit jaded in training and yet he didn’t pick someone like Rob Holding to take the place of the back.
Bringing in Chamberlain and Perez expectedly turned the game in Arsenal’s favour in no time and one doesn’t need any rocket science to understand it. It is only Wenger who looks ignorant.
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