Arsenal round-up: Liverpool criticism; Asensio bid; Lacazette targets trophies
The latest chapter of Arsenal’s embarrassing recent history was written at Anfield on Sunday. Liverpool won 4-0, but it could have been much, much worse for the Gunners. This is becoming the norm for the club under Arsene Wenger and Gary Neville was quick to criticise the players on Sky Sports.
“The issue today I had in the first 15 or 20 mins – and why I was as scathing I was – is because [Mesut] Ozil, [Alexis] Sanchez, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, they didn’t do most basic things I think every fan, manager, and player knows – when the ball goes past you and it goes towards your goal and your team-mates are struggling, you run back as quickly as you can.”
There were a lot of problems with their performance, but their lack of defensive work rate was a major one. It is clear that Wenger can no longer motivate them to do their bit out of possession, which indicates a lack of discipline on the training ground. The minimum expected from a team performance is work rate. Arsenal didn’t display it on Sunday and it is unforgivable.
New signings aren’t the long-term answer, but they would certainly help improve the mood in North London. The Express report that Arsenal are preparing a £75 million offer for Marco Asensio, which would meet the release clause in his Real Madrid contract. The Spanish club are set to offer a new contract to the midfielder, but he wants more game time and that isn’t guaranteed at the Bernabeu.
This would be a great signing for the club and signal a significant change in recruitment. However, it seems unlikely that a transfer will happen. Asensio is a player with the world at his feet and it would make no sense to join a club in decline like Arsenal. They need to show growth as a football club before it becomes possible to sign players of the midfielder’s calibre. This story is surely a non-starter.
Alexandre Lacazette is one of only two first-team signings made by Arsenal this summer and he is determined to deliver trophies for the club. The Frenchman seems happy to be at the Emirates Stadium and is showing the ambition that supporters want to see more of in the squad. He said the following in an interview to Sky Sports:
“I’m going to score goals at key times in the games where the team may have struggled in previous years.
“This season I’m going to help this team win them and that’s what Arsenal have to do: win games and trophies.”
These are encouraging quotes and show the ambition that the striker possesses. However, he can’t fire the team to trophies alone and the various problems at Arsenal mean that he is unlikely to challenge for one any time soon. It is interesting that he comments on the side’s inability to win big games, but that is a problem caused by the poor coaching rather than a lack of goals.
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