Arsenal will be building up for their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City this weekend and it is their last opportunity to win silverware this season.
Although they failed to beat Pep Guardiola’s men in either of their two league meetings this season, it isn’t a match that they should fear.
Martin Keown believes that the Gunners can’t afford to play a 3-4-3 on Sunday, due to Mesut Ozil’s poor defensive work rate. The following quotes are reported by the Metro:
“Arsenal would need Mesut Ozil to drop back into midfield to help out but I do not know if he is equipped to do that.
“It would be safer for Arsenal to play with a four. They can push their defensive line higher to reduce the space between the midfield and the defence.”
It will be interesting to see whether Arsene Wenger perseveres with three at the back or whether he moves back to his usual system. Keown is right to have concerns about Ozil’s defensive work rate, but it is something that can be hidden somewhat.
Eden Hazard isn’t the best defensive worker, but he has been allowed to thrive in a similar formation. Others in the team would have to make up the shortfall and it is doubtful whether Arsenal have the players capable of doing that.
There will be a post-mortem done at the end of the season about why Arsenal have failed this year.
The Gunners are unlikely to finish in the top four and they are facing a difficult task to finish the season with a trophy, as three other top teams remain in the FA Cup.
Nigel Winterburn has told the Mirror that he fears the Gunners’ squad have lost their winning mentality this term:
“I played with teams that were used to winning, winning trophies every single season. We had that mentality and belief and that helps so much. You knew deep down that everything was there for you.
“But with this team, they’ve won a couple of FA Cups but they haven’t been that close in the league when it’s come to the nitty gritty of April and May.”
Arsenal haven’t had a true winning mentality for years, but this has undoubtedly been more evident this season.
Since their first leg defeat to Bayern Munich, they have only managed a single positive performance. This came against a struggling Hull City side. The players are lacking in belief and that needs to be addressed this summer.
Finally, Carl Jenkinson nearly left during the January transfer window and the Mirror report that he is attracting interest once again. Indeed, Brighton and Newcastle are both looking at the full-back ahead of what is going to be a huge summer for both clubs.
His current contract expires in 2018 and the Gunners will be looking to sell him this summer for as much as possible. The 25-year-old has rarely featured for Arsenal this season and he doesn’t have a future in North London.
It was disappointing that the club didn’t complete a deal to sell him during the January transfer window as it would have been useful to get him off the wage bill. However, it is looking like he will finally leave the club at the end of the season.
From those two clubs, Newcastle will be the one that appeals to the full-back more as they are a huge club and have a bright future under Rafa Benitez, as long as they manage to clinch promotion this season.
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