Opinion: Arsene Wenger helpless as defensive shambles sees Arsenal drop points

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Arsenal were held to a 3-3 draw by West Ham United on Saturday, with Andy Carroll scoring a quick-fire hat-trick with goals either side of half-time.

First and foremost, the Hammers deserve credit for the quality of their deliveries to the towering striker, while the former Newcastle United and Liverpool star did brilliantly to produce a dominant display.

However, in the build-up to all three goals, there is a case to argue that Arsenal only have themselves to blame for throwing away a two-goal lead and ultimately coming away with just a point.

From a lack of defensive pressure in closing the full-backs and wingers down, to an inability to deal with Carroll’s obvious threat, there were a catalogue of errors from Arsene Wenger’s defence that ultimately left the Frenchman helpless.

Banners in the away stand again called for the long-time Arsenal boss to leave at the end of the season, and essentially there is a valid argument behind that.

However, Wenger can’t be blamed for what played out at Upton Park on Saturday, as he was let down by his defence who gave West Ham too much time, space and freedom to hurt them.

Whether it was Hector Bellerin or Nacho Monreal failing to close down and deal with the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio and Dimitri Payet, or Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny not doing a better job of putting up resistance against Carroll and tracking his runs better.

At times it even looked as though Slaven Bilic’s side were playing out training-ground routines, with Cresswell given all the time in the world to find Carroll’s head, while the aforementioned Antonio and Payet also found themselves in similar positions.

Ultimately, there were too many faults across the backline, which in turn left David Ospina exposed. For all the positive work done in attack, namely from Alex Iwobi who continues to shine, it was undone by a porous defence that didn’t do enough.

With their Premier League title hopes all-but over, it remains to be seen whether or not Wenger sees out the remaining year of his contract, or if he, or the club, folds and decide that it is time for a split this summer.

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