It’s been an interesting weekend for Arsenal. You’d think after a 4-1 victory away from home that the Gunners wouldn’t have too many sources of complaint, but the confusion over their penalty taking has prompted just that.
Despite Santi Cazorla being the recognised taker, Alexis Sanchez assumed responsibilities and saw his spot kick against Hull City saved by Eldin Jakupovic.
Above all, it has caused confusion among supporters, especially given the score was just 1-0 at the time. Nevertheless, Arsene Wenger has attempted to shed light on the surprising and very nearly detrimental situation.
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Ever since Mikel Arteta’s fall from favour at the Emirates, fellow Spaniard Cazorla has been the man trusted from 12-yards.
Moreover, his only miss from the spot for the Gunners (barring shootouts) came at West Brom last season and arose because of a slip. Eight conversions out of nine attempts is, on the whole, a pretty formidable record.
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Therefore, upon Arsenal winning their fourth penalty kick of a Premier League season in its infancy, it had Cazorla’s name all over it. Besides, he had converted spot kicks successfully in the Gunners’ last two league fixtures.
Nevertheless, for whatever reason, it was Sanchez who stepped up to the plate only for his effort to be palmed away from the bottom left corner. Furthermore, the Chilean’s previous two Arsenal penalties? Both misses.
While it ultimately had no dire implications for the game, given the fact the fixture hung in the balance at 2-1 latterly, it easily could have done.
Evidentially, the episode caused its fair share of confusion. It may have been understandable if Cazorla had been absent, but that simply wasn’t the case and the Spaniard didn’t even put up a fight.
As a result, Wenger had a lot of explaining to do after the match. The Frenchman stated: “It was Santi Cazorla to take it, I don’t know why it didn’t happen.
“Did Santi not want to take it, or did Sanchez take the ball? We have a pecking order, but on the pitch they have to want to take it.
“But he was not planned, Sanchez. I want always to know what happened. And for it not to happen again, we have to see why that happened.
“But overall, anybody can miss a penalty. You have to accept that. It happens to all of us… and it’s happened to Santi Cazorla as well.”
While Wenger does confirm that Cazorla was meant to be the man in charge, he seems unable to fully explain why he wasn’t. It proved a surprisingly reserved response given the fact it was a violation of team orders.
Then again, given the contract negotiations believed to be in the pipelines, it would be unwise for the 66-year-old to confront Sanchez over something so minor.
Besides, with three misses in a row for his club, it’s fair to say the Chilean won’t be anywhere near the penalty spot in games to come.
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