Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Late Welbeck goal rescues point

Arsenal's search for a first Premier League win in almost a month continued on Saturday as they dropped points at home to Hull. It was a completely different game to the FA Cup final in May as Danny Welbeck scored late on to rescue the Gunners a point in what was an extremely poor team display. It was a performance that we've become accustomed to this season though as we sit sixth in the League with only two league victories to our name all season. Only losing once is a thing to be encouraged by but we haven't hit top gear all season and it's extremely worrying. Arsenal were forced into making defensive changes after Koscielny's injury over the international break meant Monreal had to deputise at centre half due to Chambers suspension. That also meant a first league start for Spanish right back Hector Bellerin.
Alexis Sanchez was once again Arsenal's stand out performer
If you're looking for positives out of what was an extremely frustrating game then look no further than Alexis Sanchez. Once again the Chilean was the star for Arsenal as he got on the score sheet and also assisted the other goal. Since signing Sanchez has been a revelation and has added an extra liveliness to the side which was missing last season. He is exactly what was needed with Walcott being out injured and with Theo to return soon we can look forward to some exciting wide play. Most of Alexis' goals have been of real quality for Arsenal and his strike to open the scoring against Hull was no different as he fooled Davies with a step-over before firing into the far corner.

The performances of Danny Welbeck is also something to be encouraged about as he added his fifth goal in Arsenal colours to rescue the game for the Gunners. Sanchez went on a brilliant run to cap off a superb individual display before working the ball to Welbeck who found the net.

Arsenal had had five players in the England squad and two of the players that had impressed heavily were Jack Wilshere, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, they failed to really transform their international form into Arsenal colours on Saturday and we're still lacking in midfield despite having some fantastic options in that area of the pitch. The final piece of the jigsaw is a midfield enforcer, a defensive midfielder that will sit and break up the play as they please. We had the money in the summer and ignored a clear position we've needed for a number of years now. Needless to say, injuries is what is faltering our progression at the moment.

It's difficult to put the blame on anyone in particular for why we've been so below par in 2014/15 as there are a number of reasons for our apparent downfall at the moment. Our defence haven't been nearly as good as last season whilst injuries have haunted us. However, had we signed a few more players in the summer then perhaps the injuries wouldn't have hindered us as much due to the fact we'd have able replacements.

I've got nothing against starting Hector Bellerin at right back but he's had a baptism of fire into the first team this season and still looks a little vulnerable. Meanwhile the decision to keep Nacho Monreal as a back-up centre half is a bizarre one. Wenger tried it in pre-season and he doesn't convince me in my opinion. Saying that, it was Flamini and Mertesacker that were at fault for the two goals.

There looked to be an initial foul in the build-up to Diame's goal and Hull's equaliser in the first half as he had his arms all around Flamini. It's easy to criticise the referee for not giving a foul but Flamini just stopped playing and turned around to have a go at the referee. It was a goal that could've been easily prevented and that's happened on a number of occasions now this season. Meanwhile Mertesacker was caught out for their second goal as he allowed Abel Hernandez to get up in front of him to head home.

It was a poor way to resume after the international break but a game against Anderlecht in the Champions League will hopefully bring us a chance to rediscover ourselves and begin to gather some momentum going into Sunderland at the weekend.

The team's line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Flamini(62), Wilshere(68), Sanchez, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck. 
Subs: Martinez, Ajayi, Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey(62), Rosicky, Campbell(68).

Hull City: Harper(42), Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Dawson(84), Diame, Robertson, Livermore, Huddlestone, Ben Arfa, Hernandez(62).
Subs: Jakupovic(42), Bruce(84), Rosenior, Brady, Quinn, Ramirez(62).

My man of the match: Alexis Sanchez. 

Referee: Roger East.
Attendance: 60,004.

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