Another day, another Arsenal capitulation to dissect after a 3-1 defeat at the Hawthorns to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday dented the Gunners top four hopes, sitting five points off the Champions League places, losing four of their last five league games, finding themselves in arguably the deepest rut of the Arsène Wenger era.
The usual debates about Wenger’s future, which he admitted after the defeat was already decided, as well as that of a now injured Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, will continue to be debated ad nauseam in the summer. Add Petr Čech’s calf injury and an anti-Wenger banner flying through the overcast Midlands air to the mix and you have a team on the verge of crashing and burning due to this worsening crisis which, if not rectified, will damage their run-in this season and beyond.
Much debate about Arsenal’s problems the last year or so have surrounded the attack and rightly so. The loss of midfield maestro, Santi Cazorla, each of these last two seasons has hurt the fluidity of the attack, particularly in transition play where his quick feet, ability to pick out diagonal runs and tidy passing open up spaces and allow for more timely positioning from teammates. Olivier Giroud’s peaks and valleys up top, whether allowing Jack Wilshere to go out on loan to Bournemouth was wise, Özil’s highly underwhelming follow-up to producing one of the best seasons by a midfielder in English Premier League history in 2015/16 and Lucas Pérez’s limited playing time in the Premier League are all points of emphasis regarding Arsenal’s play going forward that have been analysed daily for some time now.