Four things we learned: West Brom 3-1 Arsenal

Written by Bill McLoughlin

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Arsenal’s season got even worse on Saturday afternoon as the Gunners slumped to a terrible 3-1 defeat, arguably their worst loss of the season. 

Yes, Arsenal’s form has been poor of late but against West Brom, it was still thought by many that the Gunners could still just edge Pulis’ men as demonstrated by the odds provided by the footballbets.tips database. 

Alexis Sanchez scored Arsenal’s sole goal but outside of that, Arsenal struggled to create any chances going forward. At the back, the Gunners looked vulnerable on the counter and as West Brom exposed twice, the defending from set-pieces was nowhere near Premier League standard – Arsenal look seriously short of confidence and quality.

So let’s have a look at what we learnt from the game yesterday. 

1) Arsenal players are shot of confidence 

Watching Arsenal yesterday, you really got the feeling that with the exception of Xhaka and Sanchez, the team looked completely lost on the pitch.

As we all predicted, West Brom sat in a deep solid defensive block and played on the counter and for most of the game, they executed that game plan perfectly. In attack, Arsenal didn’t play with any pace or intensity and although they had 77% possession, they only had two shots on target. There seems no confidence or any plan in how Arsenal play and at times, the players look don’t look like the full-fledged international they are, case and point, West Brom’s third goal. 

2) What’s happened to Koscielny and Mustafi?

At the beginning of the season, every Arsenal fan finally got what they’ve been asking for, for so long: a centre back.

Shkodran Mustafi was supposed to be the quality centre back to partner Laurent Koscielny and for much of the early part of the season, that looked the case. In the last few months, however, many will wonder what’s happened to the pair. Arsenal have conceded 21 goals in their last nine games, although Koscielny did miss the FA Cup game against Sutton. Like most of the team, the pair look devoid of confidence and are struggling to contain the opposition’s attackers. 

The centre backs are the bedrock of the team and at the moment, Arsenal’s base looks very shaky. 

3)  Fourth place now looks in trouble 

With Manchester United beating Middlesbrough today, Arsenal have slipped to sixth in the table and very much in danger of missing out on the top four this year. Arsenal have now lost four of their last five league games and if that continues after the international break, seventh place may well be on the cards. Everton seem to have found their rhythm while Man U just keep accumulating points. Arsenal’s only saving grace is that they have two games in hand over Everton and one over Liverpool in fourth but with the way the Gunners are playing, that doesn’t really mean much. 

4) Last straw for Wenger? 

In what was a surprise admission from Wenger, the Frenchman admitted that he had made a decision concerning his future at the club. While it remains uncertain whether he will stay at the club or leave, he certainly looked somewhere close to a beaten man in the post-match press conference. 

While the fan protests probably haven’t bothered him, Wenger genuinely looks shocked and bemused at how the poor the players have been. It doesn’t seem that he’s getting through to his team anymore and with yesterday’s loss, that may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

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