Arsenal still lack an incisive presence in the middle - My Arsenal Blog

My Arsenal Blog

Arsenal still lack an incisive presence in the middle

Posted on December 10, 2017 by Ben Darvill

It was the same old story for Arsenal against Southampton on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by their hosts. The stalemate means that the Gunners are 14 points short of leaders Manchester City having played a game more, which has pretty much brought an end to their slim title hopes.

The game itself was a direct antithesis to their loss against Manchester United last weekend. Arsenal created a huge amount of chances only to be stopped on the line by the marvellous David de Gea. On Sunday, Arsenal were not able to be toothless with their finishing as they rarely threatened to open their opponents up.

While it was the fault of those put in on goal last week, it was their creative players that were to blame this time around. Alexis Sanchez was awful on the wing as he toiled all day, Mesut Ozil was rarely able to get into a position to impact upon the game, such was the ability of the Southampton defenders, while the deeper-midfielders Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey only passed the ball sideways, as they seemed far more content with ensuring they did not concede possession.

It all points to the fact that Arsenal need that incisive presence in the middle that is willing to take a risk. Jack Wilshere came on as Arsene Wenger tried to change the game and he added exactly the sort of gritty yet creative presence Arsenal needed. His willing to run with the ball and take a chance was something the Gunners lacked with both Xhaka and Ramsey on the pitch.

Perhaps if Wilshere had been given more time to have an impact upon the game, then Arsenal wouldn’t have had to settle for a draw.

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