Connect in the back of the net

1. Should he probably not specialise in his billion-dollar firm?

Given his nightmarish display, the culprit in Mathieu Flamini has finally been exposed, with his tiptoeing along the lines of safe zone coming to an abrupt end.

Placed twice in a position where non-league players would, at least, force a save from the goalkeeper, he opted to reiterate that his second stint at Emirates Stadium should come to a close.

Though his positional instincts (making up for the absence of a natural centre-forward by making uncharacteristic runs that encourage the playmakers) deserve plaudits, a potential Premier League winner should finish better.

In addition, how he failed to cut down space for Willian Borges da Silva in the build up to the Per Mertesacker sending off only signals the potential end of his second Arsenal spell, with Mohamed Elneny lined up as his replacement. Turkish Super Lig beckons.

 

2. Will the Arsenal skipper ever peak?

Theo Walcott wore the armband on his tenth year anniversary as an Arsenal player, but his future with the club should be a subject of deliberation as he consistently proves to be inconsistent.

Arsene Wenger believes that the England international has dealt with his early fame well, but he has failed miserably in matching the expectations of his fans.

The Arsenal manager revealed that he took off Olivier Giroud instead of the former Southampton winger as he had not wanted to suck pace out of the ten-man team, but he failed to deliver yet again, causing an outrage among the Arsenal supporters.

At this rate, he would shortly become Everton quality.

 

3. Have the English clubs devised a method to shut Mesut Ozil down?

Arsenal not-so-coincidentally falter when Mesut Ozil suffers a dip (or a minor blip), and the German playmaker has registered a just a single assist in his last five league starts, with the London club walking out victors only twice – against Bournemouth and Newcastle United.

The former Real Madrid attacking midfielder was outmuscled by physical holding midfielders in John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic, and his wizardry was curbed in a fashion similar in tune to the Southampton defeat.

His presence renders less influential against physical opponents, and whether every team would employ such tactics to tackle his magic is now a concern.

However, how he tries to make things tick after being grounded repeatedly is admirable.

 

4. Did the Arsenal manager get his substitutions right?

Olivier Giroud was sacrificed to introduce Gabriel Paulista to fill the Per Mertesacker-shaped void, and the fans were certainly not happy with the manager’s decision.

However, when the team trails with a man down, the only way to get back into the game is to punish the opponents on the counter, and with the French striker offering a very little in terms of pace and agility, the right decision would be to retain Theo Walcott.

“The fact is we needed to get strength on the counter-attack and needed pace,” told the French manager in the post-match interview. “That is why I made the decision.”

Arsene Wenger was right on the money, but he will have to endure the criticisms as his lads failed him (again). Had Theo Walcott beaten Thibaut Courtois with the Aaron Ramsey’s defense splitting pass, we would be watching a different movie altogether.

 

5. Why will Arsene Wenger still lead his side to Premier League title?

With the help of hindsight, it is easy to assert that Arsenal may have even sealed a victory in the London derby, had they played Olivier Giroud for all ninety minutes.

Despite trailing against the side that has a man advantage, the intent and desire were obvious as the Gunners kept on creating chances, and that is the characteristic of a title-winning squad.

Furthermore, with key players returning and Alexis Sanchez having returned already, Arsenal could only go upwards. With the Premier League title still not inclined towards any team, there is no reason why the Community Shield holders will not bounce back after an arguably undeserved defeat.

 

Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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