New faces, but is it the same old Arsenal?
Arsenal have not lost a Premier League game since they were put to the sword at Goodison Park Last April, Wenger’s men definitely had something to prove going into their visit to Everton. It was a poor showing in the first half which saw Everton take a 2-0 lead at Half -time.
There was a significant change at the start of the second half which saw Olivier Giroud replace Chilean Alexis Sanchez who gave an unconvincing performance in the CF position. Arsenal went more direct with the inclusion of Giroud as he took only 30 seconds to pose more questions than Sanchez did to the Everton defence. It was looking bleak until Ramsey converted substitute Santi Cazorla’s cross on 83 minutes, The gunners had a lifeline. The comeback was complete when Giroud headed in a cross from left back nacho Monreal.
After the game Wenger praised his side for their “desire” to comeback from 2 goals down, alarm bells would be ringing in the heads of many of the Arsenal faithful and cries of “same old Arsenal” may follow. It was another poor performance where they struggled to settle as Everton opted very similar tactics to last season. Martinez seems to know how to approach Arsenal, Everton took 4 points from the Gunners last season and for the majority of Saturday Evening’s performance it looked like the Spaniard had masterminded another victory.
Last season Arsenal found it difficult away from home conceding 20 goals and scoring only 4 away from home against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton and it will be a worry for Arsenal fans that upon reflection of Saturday’s performance not much has changed. There have been 3 notable signings for the Gunners this term, Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona for £32 Million, Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle for £10 million and Calum Chambers from Southampton for £16 million. From the outset it is clear that Arsenal needed to spend and Wenger has spent but is it enough? Many feel that Sanchez is not the striker that Arsenal crave, he is more of a Winger or better coming from deep. The one thing that was noticeable from his performance at Everton was how uncomfortable he is with his back to goal, it is clearly not his game and you lose something when you play him in that way. If you are to use Sanchez central you would need to use him in a deeper role his biggest attribute is running at defenders, using his pace and trickery against defenders he is most useful wide.
The issues that hampered Wenger’s campaign last season were defensively in the big games, the approach to the big away games was naive and Arsenal were dead and buried in the first 20 minutes of games. You may be able to get away with a lack of concentration against the smaller sides as was shown in the FA Cup final where Hull City found themselves 2-0up in no time at all. Luckily for Arsenal they were not able to see the game out, it would have been a very different Summer had the comeback not materialised.
Arsenal still lack the reinforcements that they need, there is still a need to replace Thomas Vermaelen who departed for Barcelona, defensive-midfield needs to be of top priority as Mathieu Flamini is the only recognisable holding-midfield player at the club and is approaching 30 years of age. Mikel Arteta who has been a stop gap for a few seasons now is clearly not good enough for a Premier League title push and finally another striker is needed to share the workload with Olivier Giroud. Giroud has improved every season he has been at the club but it is inconceivable to think Arsenal can expect him to go another full season by himself. Giroud started well last season but had a baron spell as many predicted which also coincided with injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil.
It is imperative that Arsenal sign another centre-back, holding-midfielder and a striker if they are to push on and cement a realistic Premier League title challenge and deep down I am sure Wenger is aware of this. Failure to do so will only fuel the Arsenal and Wenger doubters.
Does Arsene Wenger still need to strengthen his side before the close of the transfer window? If so, who should he bring in? Join the discussion in the comment section below, or on Twitter @TBRFootball.
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