Search

All Guns Blazing: Arsenal have the tools – now it’s time to use them

09:02 28 January 2016

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker tackles Chelsea's Diego Costa, resulting in a red card. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker tackles Chelsea's Diego Costa, resulting in a red card. Picture: Adam Davy/PA

PA/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Uche Amako laments the club’s recent form and assessed what changes Arsene Wenger could make to recharge their title bid.

If Arsenal’s last three matches were meant to be a test of their title-winning credentials, it’s hard to argue they passed the exam. Two points from nine is not good enough.

Joe Allen’s late equaliser for Liverpool now looks extremely costly, while Olivier Giroud’s two missed chances against Stoke also feel like moments which will prove decisive after 38 games.

In terms of Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea, the game was over the moment Per Mertesacker made the tackle.

Given our woeful recent record against them and being down to 10 men again, the odds of coming back were slim.

It is always easier with the benefit of hindsight but I think Mertesacker should have let Diego Costa go. I don’t mean let him run through unopposed. Chase and put pressure on him but force him to beat Petr Cech.

But that wasn’t the case and Arsenal find themselves three points off the top with 15 games to go, including difficult on paper trips to Spurs, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City.

A hallmark of champions is being able to go on lengthy winning runs. It feels like the team which can produce five or six wins on the bounce will win the league or, at the very least, make it difficult to be caught.

With the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin coming back from injury, Arsenal are in good shape to mount a sustained challenge. So Arsene Wenger faces some big decisions about his best team moving forward.

Gabriel must start applying major pressure on Mertesacker’s place in defence. The German has become a target for the opposition; Southampton in particular attacked his lack of pace. If the players were reversed, I’d feel confident that Gabriel catches Costa and makes the tackle, unlike Mertesacker.

New signing Mohamed Elneny will almost certainly make his debut against Burnley on Saturday.

If he plays well, he’ll be in a good position to be Aaron Ramsey’s partner in central midfield. Mathieu Flamini has played commendably since Coquelin’s injury but long-term, the Frenchman should only be considered as a back-up.

The next few weeks look set to make or break Arsenal’s season and the pressure will increase as the stakes get higher.

Arsenal have the tools at their disposal – it is time to use them!

Follow me @ucheamako

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Thu, 11:43

John Ryder admits his career will be at a dead end unless he launches his switch to super-middleweight with a victory next month.

Thu, 07:25

Charlie Heatley notched a hat-trick as Mile End cruised into the fourth round of the Jack Walpole Cup by walloping Hacimac 6-0.

Thu, 07:10

It’s often the case that punters see one side holding home advantage against longer-priced opponents and automatically place bets on what they perceive to be an easy home victory, without taking into account the visitors’ form or other factors, such as their readiness to scrap for a point.

Wed, 17:00

A group of Islington BC youngsters were given first use of the new facilities in the revamped gym at neighbouring Lion ABC, Hoxton.

Wed, 16:05

Pro Touch Soccer Academy youngster Haru Maitani has signed schoolboy professional forms with Fulham’s Under-10 side.

Wed, 11:59

Islington side Access2Sports Under-12s are eager to develop a local rivalry with Torriano Tigers following their convincing 48-2 victory against the Community Basketball League debutants.

Mon, 07:16

Midway through a hard-fought first half at the Liberty Stadium a rainbow appeared. Not just any rainbow, one of those glorious technicolour efforts which make you feel warm inside.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Arsene Wenger played down reports of a bust-up with Arsenal’s in-form forward Alexis Sanchez during his side’s impressive 4-0 win at Swansea City.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now