Arsenal extended their unbeaten run on Wednesday night, but the Gunners are not playing well and there is growing concern at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger’s side are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, and to their credit, they’ve ground out results when they’ve played poorly in games that they would arguably have crumbled in in recent years.
However, with the poor performances piling up after draws with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, is it time for Wenger to shuffle his pack and make changes?
Consider a back three
The loss of Hector Bellerin for a month due to injury is a massive blow for Arsenal, as the Spaniard is a key cog in both their defensive and attacking play.
Carl Jenkinson has struggled in his place, and so there is an argument that the Gunners could experiment with a back three. They have the individuals to play it so it isn’t a case of just following a popular trend, and it could be a tactical switch which allows them to cope better with their current shortcomings.
Find the right balance in midfield
Santi Cazorla is a major loss for Wenger, as the Spaniard’s playmaking ability in the deeper midfield role is a vital part of what makes Arsenal tick.
Aaron Ramsey played alongside Francis Coquelin on Wednesday, and that’s arguably a better duo than having two destroyers in there with Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka on the bench. However, perhaps dropping Mesut Ozil a bit deeper could help them with their lack of creativity.
Start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott
When Arsenal make slow starts to games, they tend to struggle to pick up the pace and find their rhythm. Wenger needs energetic players on the pitch ready to set the tempo immediately, and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott can do that.
Particularly against Bournemouth this weekend, Arsenal need to get about them from the start and playing with energy and pace will be key.
Shuffle things up in attack
Should Alexis Sanchez start up front? Should Olivier Giroud get a run of games? Could they play together up front?
So many questions, and yet so few answers at this stage. Giroud continues to score important goals, but can he run the channels and stretch defences to create space for others to allow Arsenal to really hurt their opponents? Certain situations make him the perfect option, as seen against United, but whether he should start is up for debate.
Make changes quicker
Historically, Wenger takes his time with substitutions and it’s unlikely that he will change his ways. However, Wednesday night was a perfect example of when he needed to react quicker.
With PSG threatening to equalise and with Francis Coquelin terrified to get a second booking, he should have been replaced sooner and the likes of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain should have been brought on to give the side more energy.
It worked late on against United, but who knows what would have happened if Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud had been introduced earlier.