Hello again everyone, hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Always made better with a win (and a Spurs loss!).
So, as expected we stuttered through another home game and got, some may say, rather fortunate in the end to take the 3 points. I’m not going to go into much detail on the game itself, because we’ve seen that same game 100 times over the last few seasons, instead I would like to analyse our manager’s performance.
I still to this day struggle to come to terms with some of the things he does. It’s as if he is constantly trying to out-do himself with a more bizarre act week after week.
Let’s start with team selection. I think we all expected Welbeck to be given the nod on Saturday. After sitting on the bench for the two games after his display at Southampton. Is Wenger now being too cautious with players coming back? Is he worried about the past and how he’s rushed men back before only for them to breakdown again? I don’t know, but I think most would agree that Welbeck has looked fitter and stronger since his return, and at this stage in the season, sometimes you just need to trust your players. I still find it strange how he was overlooked again, as you’d think he needs games under his belt to build his match fitness and sharpness. On the flip side, let’s hope he was saving him for Wednesday night, but is he ready to start a game like that? All this combined with the fact of how poor we were at Chelsea, to only make one change really surprised me. It’s as if they all got away with it, nobody faced any consequences for the totally unacceptable display, and Welbz and Lucas were left to sit on the bench once more. Frustrating.
What more does Lucas Perez need to do to earn a start? This isn’t some young kid coming through the ranks, he’s 28 years old, an established player. Every single time he plays he either seems to score, assist or certainly be involved with our key chances. Once again, he showed this on Saturday, providing the header for the penalty. So why is he being given such limited chances? Not forgetting he was bought for £17 million in the summer, I didn’t expect a signing like that to be such a squad player to be honest.
69 – This was this week’s lucky number in the “what minute after 60 will Arsene make his first change” bingo. Theo Walcott, having a distinctly poor game is the man to be replaced. Very happy with that, Lucas and Welbz on the bench, waited a bit too long maybe but ok let’s change it up now and kill them off. I then look to the bench, and who do I see stripping off? Mohammed Elneny. Our defensive minded central midfielder. 1-0 up, at home to Hull. 3 strikers/forwards on the bench. I’m thinking, how does this make sense, a winger off for a CM/DM? what’s he going to do? Oh, move our best player on the day Oxlade Chamberlain out of the middle where he has been doing so well, throw him out wide and close the game out. Mind boggling. What does this say to the opposition? Sitting back inviting them on? I miss the days when we could go for the kill against these teams, finish them off rather than getting to the 85th minute, dropping deeper and deeper and almost just praying they don’t find a way through. What does this also say to Ox? Cannot be good for his confidence, and then he gets hauled off with 10 minutes to go. Crazy. All adds to the lack of mental strength, confidence and belief in these players.
Overall, we won the game yes, but I would give Wenger a 5/10 for the week. Same old tactics, same old sluggish performance, same old poor/late substitutions. There is a flatness around the team at the moment, are they still playing for him? Let’s see Wednesday….