Arsenal Evade The Foxes at King Power Stadium
Leicester City were the better team last Sunday verse Arsenal at the King Power Stadium.
Arsenal began another match defending poorly, lacking in confidence, and looking miles away from title contenders.
It was around the ’10 minute mark when the first flashpoint arrived: Laurent Koscielny smashed heads with Jeff Schlupp while challenging for a loose ball; leaving both players winicing in pain. Koscielny was the worst off from the nasty collision and was sent writhing in pain.
Alexis Sanchez could only look on with noticeable concern as the medical team attempted to stem the blood.
Koscielny eventually made it to his feet and was guided down the tunnel for repair.
Callum Chambers began warming up as Arsenal held on with ten men.
The French center-back returned quickly though, sporting a stocking cap, a smattering of Vaseline, and several staples for his troubles.
He was back on the pitch as the Gunners took the lead in the ’20 minute.
Santi Cazorla found Yaya Sanogo with a neat scooped pass; the young French striker looked to have miscontrolled and spoiled the chance, but he did enough to bungle it over towards Sanchez and the Chilean slotted home his first ever Barclay’s Premier League goal.
Just two minutes Leicester responded with a Leonardo Ulloa equalizer.
Schlupp was involved again, picking out a neat cross to find Ulloa, who Koscielny had visually tracked entering the box, but he never closed him down or marked tightly; Koscielny, clearly dazed and confused from the blow to his head, left Ulloa free to cancel out Sanchez’s strike with a well taken header.
The way at which Arsenal were pegged back was shambolic and the fact of the matter is Arsene Wenger never should have let Koscielny back on the pitch.
He was obivoulsy struggling and debilitated from the fog of having his brain jostled around like a pinball.
Wenger wanted to give his warrior of a center back the chance to battle on, but it was a poor decision by the Frenchman and may have cost Arsenal 3 points
There weren’t many positives for Arsenal in this one.
The Foxes had the better of the chances on goal, in both halves, and Arsenal bizzarely displayed the characteristics of an exahusted team in only their third league match of the season.
Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were left out of the starting 11 and to the bemusement of many an Arsenal supporter Sanogo was chosen ahead of both Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell. It was an underwhelming and downright awful performance by the young French striker.
The openings that Sanogo’s teammates create for him are squandered as his approach to finishing is taictless and speculative – there is no picture in his mind of how to convert chances.
Arsenal dominated possession but could find no penetration.
They probed the border of the Foxes 18 yard box, pinging the ball around on the fringes of Kasper Schmeichel’s area, playing wall passes, lifting scooped attempts to get in behind; it was all trickery with very little end product to show for it.
The match ended 1-1 and Arsene Wenger had to feel lucky he excaped King Power Stadium with a point.
Takeaways from Sunday Unanswered by the Transfer Deadline:
Clearly Arsenal needed to sign a striker after the abysmal showing by Yaya Sanogo. He is not ready for prime time and as I’ve said before I don’t think this kid ever will be.
Signing Danny Welbeck was not the emphatic big name supporters wanted.
He is not the signing the team needed.
After seeing Olivier Giroud go down to injury, Arsenal needed a proven target striker that could offer a threat in the air from crosses and set pieces; a striker that could hold the ball and allow the skilled midfielders to get forward in support and provide a hub to play off of.
Welbeck will offer decent pace for Mesut Ozil to pinpoint with his skilled passing, he’s a fair finisher, with a bit of pedigree; and Arsenal fans can be assured of at least one goal from Welbeck, slid behind his standing leg in front of goal.
Still, this was not the piece to replace Giroud with. Welbeck will blend nicely and offer a different option when both strikers are fit, in January, but untill then I think Arsenal are too thin up top.
Welbeck's singing is more of a positive for the Three Lions than for Arsenal (but more on that another time).
Seeing Koscielny go down injured, with Kieran Gibbs already out, Mikel Arteta injured, and Carl Jenkinson on loan, Arsenal are short on defenders. This is another area unaddressed in the transfer market.
Wenger missed out on the the signing of Konstantinos Manolas, Serge Aurier, Adrein Rabiot, the list goes on and on and includes defensive center midfield players like Kevin Strootman, Lucas Biglia, and Willam Carvalho; players greatly needed for a title push.
This is a major cause for concern.
Arsenal went into the season 1-2 signings away from being genuine Premier League title contenders.
At the end of the summer transfer window, the Gunners now find themselves even further away.
Questions have to be asked of Arsene Wenger.
Why, after having returned to the ways of a buying Club, with big name signings finally brought in these past twelve months, and having ended the nine year trophy drought with an FA Cup victory, did the Professor back down knowing full well in advance the severity of injury to Olivier Giroud and the need to replace Thomas Vermaelen?
These questions remain unresolved.
You can bet your bottom dollar that the Black Scarf Movement will be seeking answers.
And so am I…