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‘If Arsenal don’t beat Chelsea Arsene Wenger has some thinking to do’

PUBLISHED: 14:32 16 December 2010

Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn

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AFTER all the hype, that was such a massively disappointing game on Monday night. Neither side played up to their capability and, as a spectacle, it was very poor.

For Arsenal it was even more disappointing because once again they have lost a big game and you really do have to question now whether they believe they can win against Manchester United or Chelsea.

I felt quite confident before the game that they would get a result this time, but for some reason their passing and movement was way, way below the usual standard and they barely created a decent chance.

United probably deserved to win on chances created, but it was just so disappointing from an Arsenal perspective to see another big game pass them by. They didn’t turn up.

It is easy now to look back on Arsene Wenger’s team selection and who should have played, but the 11 players he sent out are all decent and should have been capable of producing more than they did.

The Chelsea game just after Christmas takes on huge significance now. If Arsenal are beaten again in that match then Arsene is going to have to look at his personnel and wonder if all the faith he has invested in them is paying off or not, because it would seem they are still not good enough to give the top two a game.

Nobody is saying it is easy, but we have seen this Arsenal side play so well, so often, only to go missing when it matters most. That is not acceptable at a club like Arsenal.

The one big positive to come out of the evening has to be the performance from Wojciech Szczesny.

I have heard a lot of good things about him, but this was a huge game to be asked to make your league debut in, and he looked so composed and made a couple of good saves that kept Arsenal in the game.

On another day, they would have gone up the other end and nicked a goal and a point, and that is the value of a good goalkeeper. They can earn you 10 points a season on their own.

The big question now would seem to be whether he stays in the side, and with the No1 position still very much up in the air at the club, I would imagine he will play on Saturday.

The strange thing is that Arsenal can go top again this weekend despite having already lost five games. That tells you what an inconsistent season all the big clubs are having, but it won’t last and United certainly look ready to pull away if they can avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal shouldn’t worry about that, they just need to think about beating Stoke, who are a decent side and will give Arsenal a real game on Saturday.

The home form is still suspect. This really is a must-win game for Arsenal.


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