It is the half manner level within the season and time to take inventory of the season up to now at Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger’s males have been graded and we have picked a star man, flop, key query and prediction for the remainder of the season.
Arsenal talked up their ambitions of profitable the Premier League in the summertime, but their title problem was primarily over within the first week of November. They had been embarrassed at Liverpool, humbled at Stoke and Watford and self-destructed in opposition to Manchester United. Their solely really spectacular consequence this season was the house win over Tottenham, which has gone a good distance in the direction of quelling a possible fan mutiny. And someway they continue to be in touching distance of the highest 4.
The Europa League has given us a glimpse of some gifted children that might supply hope for the longer term. But it surely’s clear that Wenger is additional away from one other league title than ever.
Mesut Ozil was closely criticised for a poor begin to the season, however has re-emerged because the clear focus of the crew’s attacking play. He has even added a little bit of defensive tenacity and — gasp — a behavior of monitoring again. Ozil’s performances in opposition to Spurs, Huddersfield, Manchester United and Newcastle had been a reminder that he stays top-of-the-line playmakers on the planet and a expertise that Arsenal can unwell afford to lose.
The German nonetheless has his flaws, however they’re closely outweighed by his means to regulate a recreation and discover the incisive go that his teammates typically wrestle to tug off.
There have been fears that Alexis Sanchez’s coronary heart and thoughts simply would not be in it this season after his failed transfer to Manchester Metropolis, and people issues definitely appear to have been warranted. How else to clarify his meagre output by way of targets and assists, and astronomical variety of misplaced possessions and wayward passes?
Sanchez appears to be counting the times to when he can head as much as Manchester, and Arsenal can be sensible to search for a substitute as early as January. Sanchez nonetheless has the flexibility to resolve a recreation on his personal with a second of genius, however the Gunners want somebody who will carry out for 90 minutes.
When will the futures of Sanchez and Ozil be resolved?
That is a query that is been hanging over the crew for some time now, and similar to the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s future final yr, it appears to be affecting their performances. As there isn’t any probability of Sanchez signing a brand new deal and no probability of Arsenal preventing for the league title, the membership could as properly attempt to ship him out in January for a reasonable charge — if they’ll usher in a substitute.
Sure, Sanchez is their finest participant when totally motivated and in type, but it surely looks like he is doing extra hurt than good for the time being. Ozil will seemingly stay till the tip of the season, although, and Wenger continues to be hopeful that the German will signal a brand new deal. If that will get finished in January, it might give the entire crew an enormous increase for the second half of the marketing campaign.
Premier League: 4th.
Europa League: Semifinals.
FA Cup: Semifinals.
Carabao Cup: Semifinals.
Arsenal will nonetheless sneak into fourth place, however that is the one “trophy” they’re going to come away with.
Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Observe him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.