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A New Season But The Same Old Problems

Going into Yesterday’s North London derby many home fans were optimistic in achieving 3 points, but instead all we saw was another slow and ponderous display and were very fortunate to leave the Emirates with the unbeaten record still intact. Before the game Arsene Wenger claimed the omission of Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez was down to juggling the demands of League and Cup Football, surely this can not be the case at the end of September. There is of course the possibility of a World Cup hangover but neither player has played like that is even likely.

Wenger is clearly having problems fitting in all his “stars” yesterday Mesut Ozil continued in his best position as a support Striker but low and behold there was an odd selection of Jack Wilshere playing wide, Wilshere had a good game yesterday and so far this season he has been the one who has tried to make things happen on a consistent basis.,however the problem persists of not playing players in their best position, the team selection yesterday resulted in a stagnant, imbalanced system that was ineffective and could have cost the Gunners all 3 points and not just the disappointment of 2 points dropped.

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The only winger that started was Oxlade-Chamberlain and even he was cutting inside, this was a tactic that was destined to fail from the word go, it was easy to defend against and Tottenham comfortably saw this off time after time. I have always thought you get the best out of Wilshere when he is playing centrally and making runs from deep, which is where he has been performing admirably this season, the substitute bench contained no less than 4 players that would have been more suited out wide, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski. Wenger’s inability to see the big picture is staggering and something that comes up time and time again in the big games.

There were a few moments that will make Arsenal fans wince, Calum Chambers picked up his 5th yellow card of the season already which will see him suspended for the visit to Chelsea next Sunday, then there were injuries to Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey who have been confirmed as unavailable for the next two games that include Galatasary on Wednesday night. The more concerning part is the lack of depth that these absentees highlight, Flamini came on for Arteta and was ineffective and his only real moment consisted of him losing possession in the build up to the Tottenham goal, Hector Bellerin will be drafted in to cover the absence of Chambers which is a huge worry, there is a lot of pressure on Bellerin to fill a void which could be too soon for the 19 year old. Wilshere also picked up a knock but seemed fit enough to play through the twist he suffered and will need assessing tomorrow.

Both injuries to Ramsey and Arteta appear to be muscular which is nothing new for Arsenal, the mass injuries that Wenger’s side suffer every season is something that still has not been addressed.  Shad Forsythe was appointed as Head Fitness Coach in June and many expected that to fix the problem, he is a very capable fitness coach but to just think making a simple change will completely eradicate the problem is shortsighted in the extreme. It does also appear to be the same players breaking down, this is a recurring theme. Other top Premier League clubs design a specific training schedule for injury prone players to help in their rehabilitation, this appears to be something that Wenger looks to have ignored. Diego Costa at Chelsea hasn’t even been taking part in full training sessions in a bid to keep his body in good shape for match day, Daniel Sturridge has a specific training regime at Liverpool which until his recent England injury saw the Striker have a substantial run of games under his belt.

The most worrying thing is that once more going into a busy period the number of players available shows the squads limitations, it has been a case for years now that when everyone is fit at Arsenal their first choice starting XI can be a match for the best sides in the world but this has become more and more infrequent. Squad additions will be required in January if Wenger and his side are to avoid the status quo of a 4th placed finish something that should be the bare minimum.

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