I really like it when Arsenal and the players go in to media lockdown and blackout after a poor result. After a couple of results like we’ve had this week the last thing I want to see if Alex Iwobi channelling his inner Johan Djourou with a “we have to move on” statement post the Wolves game.
Of course he could have just been asked a question and responded but with the way the media works these days I personally just wouldn’t say anything after a game like Wednesday night. Keep your head down and say “thanks but I don’t think I should say anything at this stage” or something similar.
I think the club and players have learned though because the last thing any of us need right now is an official website “we must learn from this”. Mainly because it’s quite clear that many of these players simply don’t learn. Whether they are even capable of it at the moment is something we’re all questioning. But after a positive few weeks it feels like yet another step backwards and that is still making me grumpy I’m afraid.
I’m also grumpy at the fact we might be without Aubameyang on Sunday. As if the task of getting three points on the board isn’t difficult enough already, now we have one player out who lets face it, seems to be 50% of the main goal threat this entire team has.
And that for me is a big issue. Iwobi has five all season.
Mkhitaryan has six.
Özil and Ramsey have six and whilst that isn’t great, they have been out of the team for half the season.
It just feels to me as if there isn’t enough gol threat when Laca and Auba aren’t scoring and that’s where all successful teams differ. Well, they can also defend, but going forward it very much feels like it’s those two or bust in this team.
Where’s the 15-goal-a-season midfielder that we need? Perhaps it could have been Ramsey this season but his ostracism from the team as well as his injury problems have meant he won’t get anywhere near that in all competitions.
We do score plenty of goals but it is focused on Auba and Laca and now that one is out – albeit for the short term – it feels like Sunday is quite heavily reliant on one player to have a great game in Lacazette. The Frenchman has had a decent season but even he has off days and if he has another one on Sunday, where are the goals going to come from? Especially away from home.
He scored in Naples but before that you have to go back to Huddersfield at the beginning of February to find his last away goal. So if they’re drying up away from home who else is going to score?
Not Özil I suspect.
Not Mkhitaryan or Iwobi with their form.
Perhaps Welbeck could have been one but he’s out and probably won’t play for Arsenal again. That one is a real shame but I’ll save the Arsenal obituary until the season ends on him I think.
Xhaka has four goals in all competitions in all seasons, although his position isn’t one we should look to for finding an answer.
The only conclusion I can draw is that we’re in for a very difficult afternoon on Sunday and unless Lacazette has his scoring boots on (just three away goals since December) then we’re in trouble.
It’s a conundrum that Emery needs to fix fast. We are out of time now. This Sunday is win or bust and if we bust it heaps a heck of a lot of pressure on the team to deliver against Valencia in the Europa League.
I just hope somebody like Mkhitaryan or Iwobi finds form in front of goal. We aren’t in the luxury of binning them off. We have to rely on them.
And they have to step up.
Catch you all tomorrow.