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Arsenal picked up a crucial three points in the Champions League last night, but you’d be forgiven for not celebrating the result.
Indeed, it was more a sense of relief than joy when the second goal went in.
For the duration of the match, against the lesser talents of Anderlecht, Arsenal offered nothing and the performance was very concerning.
Of course, the Belgians did play out of their skin. For a side that has an awful record in Europe’s elite competition they performed spectacularly but they were assisted by a lethargic Arsenal side.
For around 88 minutes, the Gunners did barely anything – except give the ball away sloppily and crumble in defence.
The victory was as fortunate as they come, and if you are happy with the performance yesterday then you seriously need some help.
It was the worst performance I’ve seen in memory – at that includes the away drubbings last season and ‘that’ result against Manchester United a few years back.
Currently, the problem is the broken system that we employ. A system that Wenger insists on playing, despite it not being effective and, worse of all, the fact that the players at our disposal don’t fit into this system.
Our 4-1-4-1 is the worst formation I’ve seen us use in a long time and the gap between the attack and the defence is frightening.
Wenger’s stubbornness is beginning to cost us. If you look back at our victory against Aston Villa, it was largely due to Mesut Ozil playing through the middle.
Yes, he’s now injured, but Wenger’s insistence on playing him out on the left cost us. As does playing Aaron Ramsey in an attacking position – he’s clearly not on the form that he was last year and when played in a deeper role alongside Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini, he was very effective.
The link-up play was atrocious last night and there was zero drive in the attack, until the final few minutes of the game where we had to score. Those two late goals showed we have the class, as Calum Chambers’ ball to Kieran Gibbs for the equaliser was truly terrific and Lukas Podolski’s winner showed his effectiveness.
Whilst the aim last night was for a decent result so that we could kick-on with our season, in fact it highlighted numerous issues with our squad. This is not because the players are not capable, it’s because the system they are forced to play is horrendous, offers little in attack and is simple to break down.
Our next game is against Sunderland, a side who were drubbed 8-0 by Southampton in their last game. The Saints performances this season have been superb, their attack is everything ours should and could be.
Am I confident going into the game at the weekend? The short answer is no. We should be able to secure a comfortable victory but we won’t if we adopt the same tactics that we have so far this season.
It’s time to mix it up and change things, otherwise it’s going to be a long and tormenting season ahead.