Arsenal slumped to a third consecutive loss, with a comprehensive 3-0 battering at the hands of Leicester City.
Second half goals from Youri Tielemans and a late double from perennial Arsenal thorn Jamie Vardy was enough to sweep aside a feeble Arsenal challenge, and left the Gunners seriously questioning their season.
A 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace, a 3-1 hammering from Wolves and now this, leaves the Gunners rueing so many missed opportunities to not only claim a top4 spot, but also climb above our neighbours Tottenham and into third.
We only have ourselves to blame too, but we can look at this fixture and pinpoint exactly where we lost it – the sending off of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The young full-back was given his marching orders in the first half after two bookings, and it left Arsenal with a real mountain to climb.
Make no mistake, Leicester were the better side before the dismissal, but we were looking half-decent on the counter and we had manufactured a couple of decent openings before Michael Oliver intervened.
Both fouls may or may not have been yellow-card worthy, but in terms of consistency, there was none from Oliver, who let fouls go that were as bad or even more severe than the two that saw Maitland-Niles sent off.
Regardless, we crumbled after, and it was pretty much one-way traffic from that point, leaving our travelling fans with precious little to cheer about.
What can we take from this disaster?
Here’s four things we learned from the game:
We Can Defend - Just Not For 90
From minute one to ninety, Leicester were predominantly the team on top. We created a little but it was mainly the Foxes versus our defence and we showed for the majority of the game that we CAN hold a line, we CAN keep track of runners. When we failed to do so, Leno stepped up with a big save or two. It was far from the shambles that will be painted, but we are still prone to the odd moment of lunacy. Case in point being Leicester’s second goal – a long punt from Schmeichel and our central pairing failing to deal, leaving Vardy to finish. It was the simplest goal for us to concede and we did so with aplomb. All of our hard work undone by a mistake – sound familiar?
Mkhitaryan Needs To Step Up
The Armenian is blessed with a brilliant footballing brain and great vision – but we have seen so little of it. Mkhi has had fleeting moments when he has made his presence felt, but all too often he goes missing – exactly when we need him most. This game was a great example. Mkhitaryan was meant to be the chief source of creation with Ozil ruled out, but he showed an apparent lack of urgency. Iwobi may lose the ball more, but his hunger to get involved is making him the far more effective option. Should Ozil miss any more games, can Emery have any confidence in the playmaker justifying selection? Mkhitaryan’s future must be under threat.
Laca and Auba Are Good, But They Need Help
Both strikers can finish when given the chance, there’s no need for doubt regarding this. But they need the chance to do so. This game saw them both tirelessly running for the ball, but there was one solitary half chance for Lacazette and nothing really for Auba. They were neutralised not by the opposition, but by a distinct lack of supply. Valencia will be looking forward to Thursday on this display.
The Frenchman is a hot prospect for good reason – he has shown every attribute needed to be a top class box to box man. He needs experience though, and a good run in the side. We have tried the Torreira-Xhaka axis and it isn’t working. Guendouzi is always looking to go on the front foot and is exactly what we need on those away days when we look reluctant to have a go. He can shake us from our reverie, and more importantly, every game makes him better. A midfield three consisting of Xhaka, Torreira and the young Frenchman could be the glue that holds this side together as we limp over the finish line, and bid for the Europa League final.