Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain want to be somewhere else, and Mesut Ozil went missing in a big game again
ARSENAL fans will think nothing has changed from last season, but it has — it’s actually got worse.
Rarely have I seen such a poor a performance during Arsene Wenger’s reign at the Gunners.
It was bad in defeat against Stoke. It was dreadful at Anfield.
It was as if he had found eleven random players, put them together and just told them to get on with it.
They lost to Liverpool twice in the league last season playing exactly like this and have learned nothing.
Arsenal were worse this time around and simply played right into Jurgen Klopp’s hands again.
They were so open, committing men forward against the best counter-attacking team in the league.
Starting with a back-three, you could see Liverpool were going to exploit the gaps in behind the wing-backs.
But it was the body language of the players that was so concerning and gave away where Arsenal and Wenger are at.
Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked exactly like what they are — players who simply do not want to be there.
Sanchez only looked about 75 per cent fit but I presume had been played so Wenger could make a statement that he was going nowhere. Well, it backfired.
But you can’t just single out those two. Mesut Ozil once again failed to deliver in a big game. Aaron Ramsey was lucky to get to half-time after failing to provide any coverage for his defence.
Indeed, no Arsenal player showed any effort to get back when they lost possession.
We can all be beaten, but to be beaten with such a collective lack of effort from every player, is very worrying.
Arsenal had a good end to last season, winning the FA Cup. I said at the time that it would have been the perfect moment for Wenger to bow out.
He would have done so with plaudits ringing in his ears. Not now.
After deciding to stay, you knew they were only ever going to be one defeat away from another crisis — with the fans divided over a boss who has given them so much, yet whose powers are fading. The Cup triumph had papered over ever-growing cracks as they failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Whatever Wenger is saying, the players simply cannot be listening. Or if they are then the messages from the manager must be wrong.
Their lack of effort yesterday shamed the club.
Too many players willing to hide, throwing their arms up as they blamed others.
Having said that, you have to give Liverpool huge praise for the way they played.
Against teams who commit to attack, they are lethal, which is why their record against the top six is so good.
Now they need to find a way to beat teams lower down the league, who set out to simply stop them. But their front three should be able to find a way around any defence.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah tore Arsenal apart and all got on the scoresheet, as did substitute Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool now just need to find more consistency to mount a title challenge.
As for Arsenal, the title is a distant dream. The Ox and Sanchez know that — which is why they appear to want to go.
New-boys Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac must wonder what they have walked into — and why they were on the bench.
It’s already a crisis for Arsenal and I can’t see it getting any better.
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