Arsenal – Lincoln City: Match Preview

After the Gunners humiliating defeat against Bayern this week, Wenger’s team host Lincoln City in the F.A cup quarter-finals this weekend.

 

With Arsenal crashing out of the Champions league and sitting in 5th position in the Premier league; this looks like Arsenal’s only opportunity to progress further in a competition and maybe get their hands on silverware this season.

 

After the defeat there has been more calls for Wenger to resign at the end of the season and even more reports of players wanting to jump ship come the Summer; Ozil, Sanchez, Chamberlain and Ospina to name a few.

 

However this will not be an easy fixture for the North London club, with their opponents ‘the Imps’ currently top of the national league after 34 matches, and favourites for promotion to the football league.

 

The French manager is likely to rotate his team slightly and give those on the fringes of the team a bit of game time. Ospina will start in net, as he does in every cup competition and we’ll likely see the return of  Rob Holding, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles into the team.

 

Conversely,  Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil are all doubts for the game due to illness, maybe there’s a bug going round at London Colney, who knows.

 

Nevertheless whatever the line up the Gunners ‘should’ have too much quality for the non-league side. Though anything is possible, as the East midlands team have already knocked out Premier League opposition in the last round.

 

A win will see the Gunners one step closer to silverware and a defeat I dread to think…

Arsenal – Bayern Munich: Match Preview

After Arsenal’s defeat against Liverpool at the weekend, what more could the Gunners want then a game against one of Europes biggest clubs that beat you 5-1 just a few weeks ago?

 

Arsenal play the German champions in the return leg of the Champions League last 16 tonight, to get through to the net round is an impossible task. The Gunners would need to score four goals, without conceding.

 

However with nothing to lose, what kind of side will Wenger decide to play. Will tempers of died down and we see the return of Alexis Sanchez to the starting line up? Wenger even denied any kind of a bust up in the press conference for the European match.

 

With Mesut Ozil out with illness, it means that not too much can be rotated. We might see the return of Aaron Ramsey for Coquelin and David Ospina for Petr Cech. However, these are hardly changes that will have Carlo Ancelotti quaking in his boots.

 

With Alex Iwobi struggling for form, hopefully we will see Lucas Perez come into the starting line-up. Even though Wenger is reluctant to start the Spaniard, despite always impressing. The only way to get anything positive from this game is if Wenger goes for broke, imagine a front three of Welbeck, Alexis, Perez with Chamberlain in behind.

 

With four defeats in the last six games it can only get better for the North London Club, well hopefully anyway. With all hope of any progress in the Champions league gone, we can only hope for a performance to inspire future games.

Thoughts on Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez situation

Wenger gave Arsenal fans a shock when he decided not to start Alexis in Arsenal’s Premier League game against Liverpool at the weekend, in which the Gunners lost 3-1.

 

Though, after the defeat, the manager was quick to defend his decision, stating it was a tactical decision more than anything – “The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who are strong in the air because we decided to go more direct. “The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who are strong in the air because we decided to go more direct.

 

However, reports from both the Guardian and Telegraph emerged yesterday that the player was actually dropped for the match as a punishment, due to the 28-year old storming out of a training session during the week. This was followed by an apparent bust-up with his teammates according to the Telegraph.

 

With the forward’s contract set to expire in 2018 and the rumours the player is trying to force a move away, this only adds more fuel to the fire. It doesn’t help that Alexis is in high demand with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus both wanting the player.

 

Now although the situation seems to be blown over the top it does make you think why Alexis decided to walk out of a training session. Was it due to his frustrations on the pitch, due to his teammates being of a much lesser standard or just a clash with the manager?

 

The Telegraph also reported after the match in the same article that if Ozil wasn’t ill, he would have been dropped as well. Which makes you think maybe this is an attitude problem from the big players or whether they are playing up as they don’t have long to go on their contracts and want to force a big move away from the club?

 

Arsenal fans have been craving a player with fight for so long and now that Alexis has come along it looks like he’s the sort of player that Wenger doesn’t want in the squad, someone who will question the manager’s decisions.

Arsenal 1– Liverpool 3: Player Ratings

This game might have been the final straw for Arsenal fans still backing the manager, the team started horrendously but got slightly better in the second half with the emergence of Alexis Sanchez, but still nowhere near good enough against a weak Liverpool side.

 

Petr Cech – 5

Couldn’t do much about any of Liverpool’s three goals, however, made some decent saves. Still, the keeper hasn’t done anything to turn anyone’s heads.

 

Hector Bellerin – 4.5

The Spaniard played well going forward, however like most of Arsenal’s players he really lacked composure in the final third.

 

Shkodran Mustafi – 5

Played okay, but then again we did concede three goals against a poor Liverpool team.

 

Laurent Koscielny – 5.5

Not the Koscielny we’re used to seeing, missed the header which led to the first goal.

 

Nacho Monreal – 5

We were really exposed down our left-hand side.

 

Francis Coquelin – 3

He really shouldn’t be starting anymore, the Frenchman has been really really poor of late.

 

Granit Xhaka – 4.5

He gets the attack going well, but both he and Coquelin left the defence far too exposed.

 

Alex Iwobi – 5

He shouldn’t be starting games (much like Coquelin), the player has bags of potential but needs to be taken out of the spotlight for a few games, especially when we have options like Perez on the bench.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6

Played well but looked very tired.

 

Danny Welbeck – 7

A great finish for the goal, which looked like it might be the start of a comeback! However, it materialised into nothing.

 

Olivier Giroud – 6

The Frenchman played okay, definitely didn’t do anything to warrant him a place in the starting line-up. Though he hardly got any service for the whole match, so couldn’t do much about it.

 

Substitutes

Alexis Sanchez – 6

Theo Walcott – 2

Lucas Perez – 5

Why Lucas Perez deserves more of a chance

Lucas Perez has made nine starts for the Gunners scoring six goals in the process while making two more assists.  

 

However, the Spaniard has only played 267 minutes for the club in the Premier League this season. Some might argue that Alexis Sanchez up top is the best option, in that case, why is Perez being left on the sideline. With Walcott and Chamberlain’s inconsistency, would he not be an option on one of the flanks?

 

This possibility is backed up by the fact that the 28-year-old has averaged 2.36 key passes per 90 minutes in the domestic campaign, compared to Walcott’s 0.53, Iwobi’s 1.46 and Chamberlains 1.61.

 

How can we expect Alexis to be tapping them into the back of the net, when the men on the flanks can only average one key pass for a full 90 minutes?

 

Shot accuracy is another asset where Lucas certainly stands out, with the player managing an 80% accuracy rate, with Alexis and Giroud averaging 57-59%. Both of which are meant to be our main source of goals.

 

Perez also comes out on top with chances created, with the player creating 2.36 per 90 minutes compared with Walcott’s 0.65, Iwobi’s 1.67 and Chamberlain’s 1.95.

 

With stats like these in the little amount of time he’s had to prove himself, it’s strange that Wenger’s not giving the player more of a chance. With stories surfacing daily of the player wanting to leave the club for first team football, maybe now it’s time Wenger gives him a proper chance in the team.