It has happened again: another big away game where Arsenal have failed to show up or provide any form of character. The Gunners struggled to get into forward positions and lacked quality on the rare occasions they managed to break forward.
In complete contrast Everton were up for every battle and did not allow Arsenal time to play. Everton gained much of their joy on the left flank where they doubled and sometimes tripled up on Bacary Sagna, who was left isolated defensively.
Sagna performed admirable on the day showing character, which many of the Arsenal team lacked, yet somehow he can’t secure a new deal at the Emirates.
This game exemplifies one of Wenger’s weaknesses as a manager as he has often failed to prepare for these big games. He believes in playing one way and has the belief in the team to adjust themselves.
Surely Everton’s full-backs would be highlighted in trainings and the team would prepare for this. However, this looked far from the case when Everton got forward as Santi Cazorla failed to track Leighton Baines effectively throughout.
Along with this issue, there seems to be a lack of ideas and creativity in Arsenal’s forward play. There seems to be no clear way that Arsenal can create goals. Giroud’s failure to run in behind or attack crosses properly is a major issue.
There seemed to be heads dropping throughout the game as the team failed to communicate and failed to provide any response to the Everton rampage. This lack of character was exemplified in a later point of the match where Ross Barkley pushed over Mikel Arteta, who himself was having a torrid day due to the Everton crowds boos that roared every time he got the ball.
However, when the incident happened Arteta was found battling against Barkley and Baines on his own with no response from any of his teammates. This was something, which was never seen in the Invincibles era where the team worked and battled as one.
Going into the FA Cup semi-final next week the morale is low in the Arsenal camp; however, Arsenal was boosted by the bright cameo of Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman looked bright through his movement, which they have lacked for some time. He also showed promise through his key passes, which had an element of purpose that was lacking throughout the game.
Arsenal’s top four hopes are now under threat and with Everton hitting form at the right stage of the season, many fans are worried. Arsenal has the better fixtures from now until the end of the season and I still fully expect them on delivering that final push for the champion’s league.
A lot rests on the FA cup game next week to provide a much needed confidence boost for this Arsenal team. Another factor is the much-anticipated returns of Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny to help Arsenal secure 4th and their first trophy in nine years.
In a topsy-turvy season for the Gunners this would be seen as a good outcome. With Arsene Wenger’s contract expiring at the end of the season anything other than this outcome could see the end of the most successful manager in the club's history.
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