Aaron Ramsey must distribute the ball more carefully, Arsene Wenger’s team are gripped by confidence issues and other things we learned from Arsenal 3 Sunderland 1.
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Ramsey must win Wenger’s trust
It seems odd that Wenger considers Ramsey to be an emergency option in central midfield, especially considering his exceptional form in that position two seasons ago before the first of a series of injuries interrupted his progress. But the Arsenal boss has been quite explicit about Ramsey’s lack of discipline in a deeper role and why he prefers him to rove from more forward areas. Watching Ramsey be so wasteful in possession in the centre, Wenger’s lack of faith was vindicated. The midfielder did pop up with the third goal to seal the points but he must do more to convince Wenger than he should play there regularly.
Cech has lived up to his billing
John Terry delivered the ultimate compliment when he claimed Petr Cech could be worth 12 or 15 points a season to his new employers. To the goalkeeper’s great credit, he has shaken off the howler he made in his first Premier League match for Arsenal to live up to that billing. Once again, he made a series of crucial saves as Sunderland created more chances than might have been expected. The 33-year-old has not been found wanting since his Chelsea switch.
Arsenal are gripped by confidence crisis
This was not vintage Arsenal. Far from it. As Wenger admitted afterwards, they were nervy and edgy for much of this match. This was a consequence of the injury crisis that has robbed the team of so many crucial players, with regulars Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla back in their homelands as they start the first phase of their injury rehabilitations. Psychologically, this was a crucial win for the Gunners, but the sense is they will need to win at Olympiakos on Wednesday and qualify for the Champions League knockout stages to be truly back on song.
Wenger does not trust the advice he is being given
It was fascinating to listen to Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand discuss the merits of being rested from the team recently. Both stated they did not like it but agreed they used to feel the benefits on the rare occasions their manager chose to give them a breather. The context of this discussion was Alexis Sanchez’s exhausting programme over the last 18 months and the injury that will keep him out for two to three weeks. Wenger has regularly raised the possibility of resting the Chilean over the last few weeks but failed to do so because of the lack of alternatives options and the player’s insistence that he was fit to play. There was a cruel inevitably to Sanchez’s hamstring injury against Norwich. Wenger knew the risks of selecting the player but he clearly does not trust the advice he is being given by his fitness and medical staff.
Ozil needs to be wrapped in cotton wool
By the law of averages and common sense, Mesut Ozil is the next Arsenal player due to break down. It is the duty of Wenger and his staff to ensure the German maestro does not do so. Ozil has been the Gunners’ outstanding player this season as he enjoys the most purple patch of his Arsenal career. His through ball to Joel Campbell for the opener was his 12th Premier League assist of the season, twice as much as his nearest rivals. In addition to his matchless goal creating, the German has also weighed in with five goals. Wenger must wrap him up in cotton wool and regulate his game time appropriately.