Very little time to write about the Saints’ game but still feel we need to talk about this one. So rather than just give you my views on a missed opportunity to regain momentum, I will put eight pointed questions to you, my fine fellow BKers:
- Why were we once again deadly vulnerable at the back at the start of the match? Are the Gunners not drinking the right stuff? Should 17HT become their coffee master? Does Wenger need to dump the ‘three at the back’ right now? Where are the wing backs and central midfielders at the start of our games?
- How much are we getting from our wing-backs at the moment? It has been a while since we had an assist or a goal from either Kolasinac or Hector Vector. They leave our CBs exposed regularly and are not offering width and penetration from the wings in attack: final balls are often not good enough and partnerships with either Ozil or Alexis are not working right now. Time to try something/somebody different?
- I am a big fan of the Rambo and Xhaka combo but is it really working? In yesterday’s game there was little invention from either player and Rambo’s first touch, passing and decision making was unimpressive to say the least. These boys should be the double-engine, midfield beasts of the team, but they are stuttering. Time to try something/somebody different?
- Alexis is great in space and in front of goal but how many passes go astray? How many times does he make the byline and crosses towards our CF? Has he been found out? Never lacks a willingness to get stuck in, but how effective is he?
- Should we play Lacazette central against park-the-bus, or should I say compactly defending in front of their goal, teams? Would he not be better off on the left (instead of Alexis) with Giroud (or even Alexis) in the middle?
- Can we afford to leave Wilshere much longer on the bench? Ozil needs support in the creating-chances-department and Rambo, Alexis and Granit are not contributing enough?
- Should we go back to playing more defence-minded midfielders in the middle? Coq and Elneny were solid against BATE; okay, they were not the strongest opposition but we looked solid and stable and hammered them by six goals….?
- Anything else I should have asked/put on the table?
I know we got a point in the end and on paper that is not a bad outcome against Southampton away, but where was the hunger, focus and energy to put the Saints to the sword on Saturday? The players were well rested and injury-free but our tempo was low and the belief was hardly there. Surely, time to shake things up?