Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal faithful booed the players off the field after the Gunners’ humiliating 4-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool at Emirates Stadium last Sunday.

However, it is a truism that more fans were frustrated than they were shocked.

They never saw the loss coming; they had not failed to see it coming, either.

They knew this Arsenal were meant to lose with the depleted squad, but still hoped for a win.

Despite the Liverpool loss being an eye-opener, not much has changed at the club, and the fans still have five major unanswered questions ahead of the trip to Leicester City this weekend.


Should Santi Cazorla be in the starting lineup?

Arsenal’s buildup, muck to akin to that of the last season, was devoid of intelligent movement and sneaky passes, as midfielders Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin hardly contributed to the attack.

However, once Aaron Ramsey’s hamstring injury led to Santi Cazorla coming on, Arsenal began causing problems for the Liverpool defence.

His sublime free kick that led to the Calum Chambers goal bore testament to his effect.

However, whether and how manager Arsene Wenger incorporates the diminutive Spaniard into the starting line-up remains to be seen.


Should Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain start ahead of Theo Walcott?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been in stellar form prior to the kick-off at the Emirates on Sunday, consistently finding the back of the net in the friendlies.

Much to the delight – and shock – of the fans, he has carried his fine goal-scoring form as he sparked a comeback in vain by grabbing Arsenal’s second with a superb solo effort.

His compatriot, Theo Walcott, on the other hand, had a game of ups and downs; minutes after spurning an opportunity to score from the spot, he handed Arsenal’s lead with a tidy finish.

However, he was rather useless, much like the rest of the front three.

The question now arises as to who should be on the bench this weekend.

Given the fact that Arsenal desperately lack confidence, handing Oxlade-Chamberlain, who lately oozes confidence, a start against the Foxes could turn out to be a shrewd decision.


Which is Arsenal’s go-to midfield partnership?

Arsenal now have Cazorla, Elneny, Coquelin, and Granit Xhaka fighting for the two central midfield spots.

Given how Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson exploited the Coquelin-Elneny double pivot, the Arsenal manager might look to deploy a new combination on matchday two.

Xhaka and Cazorla, who looked lively coming off the bench against Jurgen Klopp’s men, shall start against a defensive, counter-attacking Leicester side.


Will Arsenal have found solutions in time for the kick-off?

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi in light of Gabriel Paulista’s injury.

Many reliable journalists such as Guillem Balague and David Ornstein have confirmed Arsenal’s interest in the player.

However, with Arsenal looking to pay less than Valencia’s valuation of about £26 million, the transfer could take until the deadline day to be made official.

Besides, Arsenal desperately need a striker with the Alexis Sanchez-as-a-striker experiment failing miserably again.

Alexandre Lacazette could still leave Olympique Lyonnais for the right money, and Leicester’s own Riyad Mahrez stated recently that an offer from certain clubs could prompt a King Power Stadium exit.

Although the numbers are few and far between in the transfer market, quality players are still available.

Arsenal should address the striking and defensive issues soon as two consecutive losses could dent their title hopes, especially with the Manchester clubs looking immune to losing.


Will Arsenal get their first win on Saturday night?

Leicester suffered a shock defeat to a dysfunctional Hull City side in the latter’s first Premier League game in almost 15 months.

Claudio Ranieri will welcome Robert Huth back into the starting line-up after the defender missed the opener through suspension.

Jamie Vardy, who misfired against the Tigers, will also hope to find his goalscoring boots again against the club, who came close to securing his services earlier this summer, on Saturday.

The champions are as desperate as Arsenal for their first top-flight win of the 2016/17 campaign, but given their recent record, they are definitely more psychologically dominant than the Gunners are right now, and at King Power Stadium, Arsenal will need something special to register their first win of the season on Saturday evening.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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