Now we’re past halfway in the season, here are five things that have gone wrong with Arsenal thus far.
3. They’re out of the FA Cup
The FA Cup is lost already after a shocking third-round loss to Championship side Nottingham Forest. While the result was a shock, for anyone who actually watched the game it perhaps wasn’t too surprising as Forest outclassed the Gunners throughout.
To underestimate Forest based on their position in the league is almost understandable, but they also have a couple of the best young players in the Championship – Kieran Dowell and Ben Brereton; as well as solid veterans like Michael Mancienne and Armand Traore. And Wenger’s decision to play a lot of fringe players (Theo Walcott, Matheu Debuchy); as well as a lot of inexperienced youngsters (Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ashley Maitland-Niles) cost them dearly too.
2. They haven’t sorted out the Alexis Sanchez situation
The big problem is that his contract with Arsenal expires in June. That means that he could walk away for nothing come the summer, so of course, it makes total sense that they’d look to sell him in this month’s transfer window. And naturally, Manchester City again seem the likely suitors. Which bodes the question, why didn’t Arsenal just sell him in the summer? And if they ever thought there was the chance of the Chilean signing a new contract; why haven’t they managed to sort it out yet?
The likely answer is that he was never going to stick around. Which means for the want of 8 goals and 3 assists in all competitions; they’ve probably lost quite a substantial amount of money for the player. City supposedly think they can sign Sanchez for £25m; whereas in the summer that figure would’ve been far higher.
It’s a classic Arsenal mistake that could easily have been avoided; as if they’d sold Sanchez for bigger money in the summer, they could well have bought a replacement – perhaps Thomas Lemar – in time for the beginning of the season; rather than attempting to scramble for one halfway through with the Champions League almost out of reach.