Friday, 22 February, 2019

Wenger's midfield options for Arsenal at Chelsea are ZERO

Kristopher Love | 05 February, 2017, 01:10

But Conte insists that there is a race yet to be run, and says Guardiola's comments are to be expected.

We wonder how long it took him to come up with that one. Arsenal will need to play three at the front and try to isolate Chelsea's centre backs as the pace and trickery of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi might open up spaces that their full backs can capitalize on. It was a performance of swagger, verve and style that suggested that this time, finally, Wenger's team was coming together into something properly good. That's a three-win lead over its next closest competitor, Tottenham, and four-win or more lead over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. But third-place Arsenal, obviously, could not and will remain a dozen points behind.

That 12-point swing illustrates several things.

They have not seen their team win there since 2011, Arsenal having lost on each of their last four visits, including a humiliating 6-0 loss on the occasion of Wenger's 1,000th game in March 2014. The Blues have won five EPL matches by a 1-0 scoreline this season. While those losses are certainly significant blows, they aren't as significant as losses to teams that you shouldn't lose to.

"We lost goals in positions where you can not afford to lose it. It looked more mentally that we were not ready for the challenges". Both play well against weaker teams, but fail to convince in the big games. We were 1-0 down and Chelsea are very good at defending and very strong in transition, on the counter-attack. Chelsea drew with Liverpool during the week, while the Gunners lost at home to Watford that same night.

Quite where this mental bluntness comes from isn't clear.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's 70th minute effort earned Swansea a second consecutive win to keep them just above the trapdoor. Just as under-warmed muscles sustain injuries, so inadequately prepared minds underperform.

Either way, it all leads back to Arsene Wenger: these are his players, these are his preparations.

"Why did you almost sign him?" He saw his team playing as individuals, with the wrong attitude, the wrong balance, and with no identity. In the 54th minute, Hazard won possession well into his own half and then weaved and bulled his way through the entire Arsenal half before beating Petr Cech.

The French midfielder has continued his incredible form for Chelsea this term after sealing a £30million summer move from Leicester City.