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Arsenal's forward line needs changing

Thursday 31st August 2017
Many faults, weaknesses, and glaring failures were to blame for Arsenal's Liverpool drubbing. The Gunners' stale attack did not help. 

Liverpool's defense is extremely vulnerable. It is that weakness which will deny them the Premier League title.

Let alone score, one would have expected Arsene Wenger's side to at least create chances. They did not. Wenger's team selection will tell you precisely why.

Danny Welbeck spearheaded the attack with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in behind. To describe Welbeck's finishing as wasteful would be kind. There is a reason Manchester United let him go. The English international is simply not clinical. He possesses a great work rate, has intelligent movement, but is not a striker. On the flank he might thrive. Not as the focal point in attack.

Why did Wenger leave out his £52 million striker? Alexandre Lacazette has enjoyed a positive start to the season, scoring against Leicester City, then having a goal wrongfully ruled out against Stoke City. Liverpool was surely the game where the Frenchman would thrive. Did Arsenal not spend big for big matches? Lacazette is very much a striker who can score with few touches and in a hostile atmosphere. Precisely what Arsenal needed on a day when Liverpool dominated.
Sanchez's selection in the team was warranted. Despite wanting a move away, the Chilean was the only one on the pitch who looked like creating. He deserves much better. At another club, he will probably get it.

Meanwhile, Ozil has not changed. Meek, timid, lacklustre. His detachment used to be described as nonchalant class. Lately, it has become criminal underperformance. He might be excused if he were able to do something on the ball. Alas, that gift has eluded him in recent months. Wenger has allowed the German to coast for too long. It's enabled a corrosive culture at the club. The time has past for Wenger to drop Ozil.
Wenger should have given Aaron Ramsey the #10 rather than Ozil. Ramsey performs there for his country. Indeed, he was exceptional in that position for Wales at Euro 2016. He was included in the team of the tournament. Ozil was not. So, why, Mr. Wenger do you not play Ramsey in his correct position?

Ramsey is not the central midfielder Wenger tries to make him simply because he cannot defend. His roaming tendencies render him too ill-disciplined for the role. Yet, his yearning to find space is precisely what enables him to be a wonderful #10. When there, he thrives; he creates; he scores. That Wenger has not realised or ignores this is an indictment on his current ability.

Defensively Arsenal are appalling. Yet, if Wenger can get his forward line sorted out, the Gunners will not have nearly so many problems. A front axis of Sanchez-Lacazette-Ramsey would be potent and enterprising. Get this right and Wenger can focus on the other problems threatening to undermine his legacy at the club.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97


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