I have been writing articles and comments exactly on the subject of an article in Arseblog today. I have complained that opposing teams were able to by pass our midfield and benefit from Merteseckers lack of mobility. Even when we had the ball, we had no “out” to Ozil or Sanchez. Ramsey and Flamini were too sloppy with their passes and the forwards lacked movement or cohesion. Walcott in particular was a spare pr.ck at a wedding and the tempo of our game dropped because there was no shape or balance. Arteta was a choice beyond comprehension as he has been past it for two years.
When Coquelin was playing, he was trying to cover the entire width of the midfield and was rushed into hazardous tackles which cost him cards. How many times did he rush from one side of the pitch to the other to make a sliding tackle? When he came back from injury, he was still a little rushed but as soon as Elneny arrived, the space in midfield was blocked. Gabriel has cured the lack of mobility in defence at CB and Iwobi has combined well with Coq and Elneny to link up with Ozil and Sanchez, who is now free to join Bellerin in attack. When Welbeck is added to the mix, there is a balance and fluidity about us.
Just look at this from the other side`s perspective. Anyone could have defended against our rheumatoid attack which sauntered from our own box to the edge of their box whilst their defence assembled to pick up the inevitable missed pass.
Everybody needed two or three touches on the ball whereas we now play first time passes. Players are running off the ball and gaps are appearing in the opposing defences. We now have four or more runners at them and they come from all directions.
Elneny has replaced the Ox who still hasn`t learnt that the ball travels faster than the legs and who still tries to run the length of the pitch; or Ramsey who is one of the worst culprits at holding up play with too many touches and too many missed passes. Elneny also picks incisive passes and generally keeps things moving in midfield.
To refresh readers memories; at the start of the season most people were agreed that we needed a CF, DM and CB. Czech solved our goalkeeping problem but the injuries to Sanchez and Cazorla in particular exposed our dearth of replacements. We won 2 games out of 9 and surrendered our lead of the premiership. We are back recently assured of qualifying yet again but unlikely to win anything. Had it not been for another piece of Wenger luck there was every possibility that we would have finished 5th. The purchase of Elneny at 5.5m was either inspired or simply amazing good fortune. He is clearly much better than 5.5m but if that is the case and Wenger knew it then why was he not bought earlier? Iwobi has matured just in the nick of time and the penny has dropped for Gabriel that he needs to first and foremost partner Kos at centreback and play with him as a partnership.
Welbeck now fits into this highly mobile set up much better and his speed and workrate means that Sanchez and Ozil have more room to play in. In summary, we are probably going to finish third, though I think second is a distinct possibility. Another 5 or 6 points may have won the premiership for us and the reason we did not get them was directly down to Wenger`s blunders.
If he is still here next season, then he needs to take notice of the fans discontent. There is going to be fierce competition for top players at CF and CB. We cannot afford to start next season handicapped by Wenger`s parsimony. He has to get first class players for those positions.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.