Arsenal hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon and were unable to get all 3 points yet again as Raul Jimenez cancelled out Aubamenyang’s opener with 14 minutes left to play plus added time.
It has been a catastrophic week for the Gunners; they blew away a two-goal advantage at home to Crystal Palace last weekend with captain Granit Xhaka provoking the ire of the home fans by swearing at them, then they threw away the lead… not once!… but three times!, and eventually lost to Liverpool on penalties during their midweek Carabao Cup.
But this match had a different feel to it though. Unai Emery brought Mesut Ozil into the starting line-up for only the second time this season and that seemed to motivate the German’s colleagues on the pitch.
Ozil played at the top of a diamond midfield just behind Aubamenyang and Lacazette in attack and all three relentlessly pressed high up when the opposition defence was in possession. The trio of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos were combative in midfield while the home defence looked indestructive for major parts of the tie as they kept out anything the visitors threw at them.
The Gunners looked like a top-four side for the first time in a long while, and they were well on course to record just their second clean sheet since August. But in the 76th minute, the inevitable happened.
Mexican striker Raul Jimenez rose above Calum Chambers to head in Joao Moutinho’s cross and that was it, the players and fans of Arsenal were brought back down to earth and then the chorus of boos – which the players are now accustomed too – greeted the full-time whistle, but this time it was directed at the gaffer, and rightly so too.
The coach should be commended for getting his starting line-up spot on, but his substitutions left much to be desired. He brought in Gabriel Martinelli which was a good call, but bringing him on to replace the effective Lacazette wasn’t.
Also taking off Lucas Torriera – who was one of those denying the visitors from getting a hold of the game up on to that moment – was another inexplicable decision. His replacement, Bukayo Saka didn’t make any impact of note in the duration he was on the pitch.
Unai Emery will need to start correcting these errors and make good use of the exciting players he has at his disposal. The Spaniard has lost the confidence of the fans, he is in the process of losing that of his players, Next is the board!.
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