Arsenal's Draw with Leicester Is Proof Yaya Sanogo Cannot Be Trusted

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 31, 2014

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Yaya Sanogo of Arsenal is challenged by Liam Moore of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on August 31, 2014 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Sunday saw them drop another two points as their slightly concerning start to the season continued.

The Gunners rarely begin strongly but still qualify for the UEFA Champions League every year, but this campaign was supposed to be different; they were supposed to be challenging for the league title.

After acing the audition against Manchester City in the Community Shield, winning 3-0 and showing off a new-look 4-3-3 in style, Arsene Wenger's men have fallen a little flat.

It can be frustrating to play against teams who sit deep like Crystal Palace, but a team looking to win the title, like Arsenal, must find more inspiring ways to break through.

Wenger's team selections have been quizzical to say the least so far, with players playing out of position (Mesut Ozil), out-of-form individuals (Jack Wilshere) getting the nod over the seemingly marooned (Tomas Rosicky) and the chopped and changed use of an expensive new signing (Alexis Sanchez).

In no game since the Community Shield has Wenger been perceived to have got it spot on, and at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, Yaya Sanogo was the focus for all the wrong reasons.

The Frenchman led the line from the beginning for Arsenal, spearheading a 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 formation that lacked imagination and movement in the early stages.

Alexis (right) and Ozil (left) pinned back initially to give the Gunners no width in the forward areas, leaving Sanogo marooned and double-marked. His first touch, botched, came on a counter in the space he should be thriving in, and he should have created an attack from it.

Sanogo chests a goal kick down and lays it off. Perfect linkup play when facing his targets.
Sanogo chests a goal kick down and lays it off. Perfect linkup play when facing his targets.Sky Sports 1

The Frenchman tried his best to retain possession and hold the ball up but often lost track of it, keeping hold of it too long or failing to find team-mates.

His touches were heavy and even his assist—a square ball to Alexis for the opener—was poor. That he let the ball bounce was criminal and that Kasper Schmeichel didn't simply pluck it from the air even more so.

It all stems down to one basic problem that hasn't improved over the course of his first year with the Gunners: He doesn't look up, doesn't know where his markers are and doesn't know where his team-mates are.

Sanogo guesses a runner is in behind him, dummies the ball and Leicester clear.
Sanogo guesses a runner is in behind him, dummies the ball and Leicester clear.Sky Sports 1

Players who play with their heads down don't hit the upper echelons, and while Sanogo might be a bit of an athletic freak, that will only get him so far. At the U-20 FIFA World Cup, he was awarded a tonne of space on big, open pitches; in England, he gets nothing, and that's why he's still goalless.

Many believe he simply needs to bag one to get the monkey off his back; then, the rest will flow. The truth is he needs to revamp his game and heighten his awareness, then he'll start scoring one vs. ones, finding team-mates and holding the ball up better.

There are flashes, no doubt, and they were evident against Leicester City. But Sanogo is a long way off the player Arsenal need to lead their line, and he cannot be relied on to spearhead the charge this season.