Arsenal should have defeated Stoke City on Sunday. These draws are getting harder and harder to watch; if there's a third consecutive draw on September 2nd at Liverpool, I'll have an inner debate whether to even watch the Gunners' fourth match against Southampton.
You're sitting there watching the match and they're dominating offensively, but when a Gunner gets around the box they shoot the ball wide or pass the ball to a well defended teammate that never had a prayer of scoring.
Arsenal has looked like the better club against Sunderland and Stoke, but if they were unable to score a goal, looking more impressive doesn't matter. Arsene Wenger has to be as frustrated as fans are. None of his big acquisitions this summer: Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud or Santi Cazorla has separated themselves from the pack by scoring any goals.
Giroud has been right there in both matches, but he's been unable to connect. In the final minutes of the Sunderland match, Giroud had a goal handed to him, but, unfortunately, he kicked it wide. He and everyone watching knew that the wide miss was a huge opportunity that the Gunners weren't going to get back.
Someone on Arsenal has to make a breakthrough. Against Stoke, Wenger made two big changes, keeping Theo Walcott on the bench to give a first start to Frenchman Giroud with goalkeeper Vito Mannone replacing the injured Wojciech Szczesny. Stoke could never steal an advantage on the counter-attack when the match became a back-and-fourth contest.
Stoke was playing further up the pitch in an attempt to take the attack to Arsenal, but it made them venerable at the other end. As the clock ticked down, Giroud almost made a long-range attempt that skimmed the top of the cross bar. The opportunities were all over the place for the Gunners, but they couldn't capitalize on any of them. They do come back to Emirates with one point, but when they look at the tape of the Stoke game they'll know they should have come back with more.
Before a Gunner would shoot the ball, it seemed like they were thinking about it too much. Abou Diaby mishandled a close-range effort when he had too much time to think about making it. The pressure of getting that first win for Arsenal could be getting to the players. The talent is there and the defense and midfield look good. Is there a hurdle that the Gunners are afraid to jump?
Missing so many wide-open shots is not a good sign. Giroud and Podolski are not accustomed to missing clear shots at the goal. Everyone knows those guys are exceptional players - could there be a chemistry problem? We'll see at Liverpool.
Note: I've been an Arsenal fan for almost a decade. My cousin got me interested in the club at a young age.
- Sports & Recreation
- Olivier Giroud
- Stoke City
- Arsene Wenger
- Lukas Podolski