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Gunners Lacking Ammo

Sunday 5th March 2017
It's seen by some as the best league in the world due to its competitive nature, but sadly (if you're a fan of Arsenal that is), their season looks like it's petering into its usual inevitable disappointment.

Manager Arsene Wenger, who is arguably in his last season at the helm of The Gunners (if rumours are to be believed), looked to have addressed certain issues that have plagued his Arsenal side over many, many years.

The signings of centre-back Shkodran Mustafi and central-midfielder Granit Xhaka were supposed to be the signings that would "announce" Arsenal in the Premier League title race. But sadly from the North London side's perspective, last night's defeat to rivals Liverpool all-but ended yet another Premier League challenge.

What was most painful about the defeat at Anfield was the fact that Arsene Wenger's side were outthought and outfought. One should not forget this Liverpool side after exciting everyone with their breathtaking football have seriously wobbled in the last month with defeats to Wolves in the FA Cup, Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-final and Hull in the Premier League.

Those defeats have changed the face of Liverpool's season. Coming into this campaign, Jurgen Klopp's men had the added benefit over their rivals of no European football, so arguably a title push similar to 2013, beckoned but that hasn't happened.

As we know, Klopp's team haven't had an issue facing the so-called big sides, but against the so-called smaller sides they have struggled. Having said that, however, the Anfield side were arguably there for the taking, especially on home turf where The Reds have struggled quite badly in the last month.

Of course, Arsenal has been in bad form themselves with defeats to Watford, as well as just as damaging defeats to Chelsea and Bayern Munich, but one would have thought it would have been a good game that Arsenal could have addressed their slump.

That wasn't how the game unfolded, however, as Liverpool produced a performance that had the swagger and verve of earlier in the season. It must be mentioned that Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez inexplicably wasn't included from the start and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid dearly for his decision.

The main consequence of Wenger's decision to drop Sanchez was that Liverpool full-back Nathaniel Clyne was terrorising The Gunners defence and Arsenal had no answer to the former Southampton man's menacing runs throughout the first half.

What was the most concerning about the first half performance of the The North London side, was that they arguably lacked the fight that was needed for this game. The inclusion of Granit Xhaka was designed to toughen up Arsenal for potentially tricky games such as their trip to Anfield - but he didn't deliver.

On so many occasions Liverpool ran through the Arsenal defence at will and that was none more evident than Liverpool's third goal, which was as a result of an Arsenal attack. The Merseyside team broke through The Gunners midfield at will.

The introduction of Sanchez in the second gave Liverpool some problems and in particular, pretty much stopped Nathaniel Clyne bombing forward and Arsenal looked to be back in the game. Especially when Alexis Sanchez set up Danny Welbeck to score and pull a goal back, but that goal was as good as it got for Arsenal.

The Gunners have had some very painful defeats this year, but this defeat at Anfield is arguably the most painful and worrying because this defeat could potentially put end to hopes of a top four finish. With the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in doubt, Arsenal can ill afford to miss out on the top four and Champions League football.

It's not over till it's over they say, but it's an uphill struggle for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League. Sanchez showed the ability to be a leader on the pitch, the rest of Arsenal's players need to take a leaf out of the Chilean's book, otherwise, just like Manchester United, Arsenal too face the prospect of missing out on Champions League football.

Ever since Arsene Wenger has been in charge at the club, that's been unheard of, but it's a realistic possibility after yet another disappointing performance. Manchester United are a prime example of this. Arsenal can't say there haven't been any warning signs...
Ayyaz Malik

Hi guys, I am Ayyaz. I type by day and I type by night, I type what others are thinking. I eat, drink and sleep football (I think in that order) . Watching football is part of my five a day. They say money makes the world go round, yeah right we all know it's football that makes the world go round. I am a Manchester United fan for my sins.


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