Arsenal FC: Can Arsene Wenger Get the Gunners Back on the Right Track?
Arsenal has quickly gone from a club that many feared matching up against especially at home, to a club that most feel they can push around. The glory days of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera and Co. are long gone, but Arsene Wenger hasn't been able to figure out exactly what his side is missing.
Maybe you can blame Wenger, or it could possibly be an issue stemming from the higher ups, but either way, Arsenal is reeling at the moment.
If there was a message that this weekend's defeat against Swansea provided everyone with, it was the fact that Arsenal need to stop being conservative and make smarter decisions. Imagine if Wojciech Szezsny hadn't had a great game like he had? Arsenal would have been easily defeated by three or four.
Arteta Out of Position
When you take a look at Arsenal's roster, they actually look very good on paper, but as we've seen, that doesn't always carry over onto the pitch. The loss of Abou Diaby, which has become the norm at this point, has really hurt Arsenal's midfield.
Knowing that the French international is very injury prone and after having sold Alex Song, Arsene Wenger made a huge mistake by not bringing in a replacement.
His stubborness took over and he now has Mikel Arteta filling in at defensive mid, which clearly isn't working. Yes, Arteta is a good player and yes, he can somewhat fill that gap, but let's be honest. The Spanish midfielder isn't physical nor is he very fast, so he finds himself giving away a lot of fouls.
Will Arsene Wenger leave Arsenal?
Some will argue Arteta's tackle percentages and whatever else, but it's very clear that Arteta dropping so deep is hurting Arsenal more than it is helping them.
Cazorla Forced Into A Box-to-Box Role
The little Spaniard has more than enough talent to flourish in the English Premier League, but with the absence of Diaby, Cazorla finds himself having to play an almost full-field position. This new role is not only hurting Arsenal's offense, but it is physically draining one of Wenger's most creative players in the squad.
When you have a fatigued playmaker who has to make 30- or 40-yard runs to get back and defend, you aren't going to have much movement or creativity in the offense half.
As I've paid more attention to Cazorla's whereabouts on the pitch lately, nine out of 10 times, he is getting the ball before half field, which isn't good enough. Opposing teams love to see Santi so deep because having to create offense from your own half is not very easy, especially considering Arsenal plays with one striker.
We all know that football is like most sports where current form is extremely important for the success of any team. Regardless of that, Arsene Wenger at times appears to think differently of that theory.
Now I'm sure I will get some mixed reactions in regards to this opinion, but I've said it for some time and I will continue to say it: Aaron Ramsey could turn out to be a world-class player, but in my opinion, he is not yet ready to be an Arsenal player.
Almost every time I say that, people always mention how great he was before his injury, but we need to realize that his pre-injury form hasn't come back. Yes it could take some time, but why are we continuously hopeful?
Why not send Ramsey out on loan as we did with Jack Wilshere and let him prove himself regularly somewhere else where he won't have to play with the pressure that he has to deal with at Arsenal?
Another sub-par performer for me has been Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The young Englishman showed great promise last season, but he has failed to take advantage of his strengths so far. His pace and skills on the ball should be a headache for any defender, yet he hasn't found a way to stay consistent.
Can Arsenal Bounce Back?
Arsenal fans will be hoping that the defeat to Swansea will at least ignite a fire in the Gunners locker room. Getting booed off your home pitch is never good, especially for a club of Arsenal's dimension.
Taking the field in Greece against Olympiakos won't be easy, but with the qualification for the next round already secure, Arsene Wenger can rest some players.
This will not only help to keep the squad fresh, but he will also give some youngsters a chance to show that if and when needed, they can be called on.
I'm hoping that whatever team features tomorrow, that they can play a free-form offense with a lot of movement and creativity. Just like the old days.
With a little bit of confidence in this squad, they could really do great things, but they will first need to believe in their manager as well as themselves.
Hopefully they can string a few positive results together and then Arsenal's approach in the transfer window in January will dictate how ambitious they are as a club.
What is your opinion on Arsenal's current situation?
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