Arsenal Still Much Too Shaky In Big Games


Remember the spring of 2014, when Arsenal couldn’t seem to win a big game on the road? The Gunners lost to Liverpool 1-5, Chelsea 0-6, and Everton 0-3 in the midst of a scintillating battle for a Champions League place in the top four.

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Well, after the arguably disappointing 2014/15 campaign, marked by even more embarrassing draws and losses against the bigger sides, the Gunners’ are still yet to find their footing in the vital games against large opposition.

As seen Saturday versus Chelsea, those big away game woes are still haunting Arsenal. Chelsea controlled the possession of the match (something Arsenal consistently take pride in doing so themselves), out-shot, and most importantly out-scored the Gunners at the Bridge ( Plus, the Blues were smarter.

It only took until halftime for Arsenal’s fuming Gabriel to be baited by a fiery Diego Costa into receiving a red card. A controversial Santi Cazorla tackle on Cesc Fabregas late in the second half meant another red was to be shown in the face of Arsenal, as the North Londoners were then reduced to a measly nine men on the pitch. Meanwhile, goals from Curt Zouma and Eden Hazard sealed three points for Chelsea, but this match meant more than those three possibly vital points to the Gunners.

Arsenal undoubtedly needs more composure and confidence in the crucial games. The lack of these two precious factors in Arsenal has arguably plagued the Gunners for years now, especially when playing those games away from home. If the North Londoners want to prove themselves capable of a genuine title challenge, or even of a run in the UCL, they must gain a sense of these factors within themselves. The problem is, that means the players must step up and show their ability.

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The 11 performances for Arsenal on Saturday were far from where they needed to be. When the billboard signings, like Mesut Ozil and Alexis, don’t even significantly impact the game, there is a clear problem on hand. This theme was also in full display Wednesday, yet against a much weaker side in Dinamo Zagreb, on another crucial occasion.

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Thus, this has been a far too common, alarming tendency for a weak Arsenal side to lean towards. When the arguably ‘world class’ players aren’t stepping up when needed, the rest of the side is still expected to perform, too, right? The point is, the Gunners need to find a winning consistency on the pitch, no matter how significant the adversity is on hand. It doesn’t have to be pretty.

The theme of Arsenal not showing up in the key matches has plagued the Gunners for too long. If it lives on, it will deny them chances of competing for titles the club has long been expected to win. If Arsenal wants to gain real footing in the title races the club so much desires, the North Londoners must perform accordingly even when up against large, away opposition.

Next: Gabriel to become a cult hero

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