Sunday’s depressingly familiar draw against Crystal Palace showed similar failings which have blighted Arsenal all season.
The same failings which threaten to leave Arsene Wenger with his worst season in his long tenure at The Gunners.
Despite our star playmaker creating eight – yes, eight – clear cut chances for his side, he was unable to get a step closer to the assist record – and more importantly, a second killer goal for his team. Pedestrian at times, occasionally seeming to run out of ideas, with an alarming penchant for the static, Arsenal had the game against the Eagles wrapped up, but one single opening and they had pulled level.
Gooners are becoming disenchanted, and a planned walkout on the 75th minute to decry Wenger’s handling of affair on the pitch just adds to the miasma of negativity around the club. With neighbours tottenham looking increasingly likely to end the two decades long celebration of St Totteringham Day by finally finishing above Arsenal – it will take something special for Arsene to come out on top at the end of this campaign.
Which is the most frustrating element of all – as this team contains all the right ingredients for success. What is missing is debatable, but three points in this fixture in hand is win at all costs.
The opposing match these two teams played out was a 2-1 win for the Baggies, but Tony Pulis’s men haven’t won in four games, and their acquisition of the ‘ magical’ forty points total could see them halfway to holiday mode.
We thought the same thing about Crystal Palace however.
Arsenal have seen Jack Wilshere play three times recently for the Under-21’s and he could be in line for a spot on the bench after Wenger confirmed he is ready for a first team return. Aaron Ramsey came off the bench in the 1-1 draw Vs the Eagles and he may play on the right in place of the impressive Alex Iwobi.
Santi Cazorla is another who is nearing a first team return, as well as Tomas Rosicky, but both will probably miss out for selection – despite the urgent need for both of them to come into the side.
Changes will be made, as rotation will be critically important with another game coming rapidly on Sunday. One who may start is Olivier Giroud in place of Danny Welbeck, and it is a great chance to end the dry spell he is suffering from, with zero goals in eleven games.
Per Mertesacker could also slot in for Gabriel in the heart of defence, and since he has been on the bench, Arsenal have been conceding weak goals more frequently. Will the big German halt this slide?
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have had upturns of form, and they will be needed to inspire a team who are lacking confidence.
Arsene Wenger will need to sum up all of his experience to win the remaining games of the league campaign – for surely – that is what is required to pressurise not only an escaping spurs team, but to stave off the challenges of Manchester City, United and West Ham.
The team lineup, no matter who comes into the team, will be full of quality. Will they finally start to transfer their talents onto the pitch this time? This intermittent nature of their displays has seen Arsenal stutter from title contenders to doubtful Top4 candidates in a matter of six weeks. The liquid-quick attacking we are so used to has been seen on a handful of occasions, and it is high time we started to show what we are capable of.
A home game against a rapidly relaxing West Brom side should hold no fear for our team, but, such is our current problems, we go into this game hoping for divine inspiration.
Will this come from the boots of Sanchez, Ozil or someone else with something to prove?