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  • 30 August 2019
    导出博客文章Arsenals recent collapse has ramped up the pressure on Arsene Wenger, with
    disgruntled fan groups planning protests during their Saturday Night Football
    clash with Norwich. Ahead of his 750th Premier League game at the helm, we
    examine a turbulent period for the Frenchman... On the eve of Arsenals damaging
    3-2 defeat to Manchester United in February, Arsene Wenger was asked whether he
    feared they were on the brink of another second half of the season collapse. The
    Gunners had just suffered a grimly familiar defeat to Barcelona in the first leg
    of the Champions League last 16, and the trip to Old Trafford presented another
    psychological hurdle.There is a perception that Arsenal fade in March and April,
    responded Wenger. Its true we have lost the championship once or twice, but what
    is different now is that on those occasions we were losing momentum. This time,
    its the opposite. We are chasing and gaining momentum. Wenger had hoped Danny
    Welbecks late winner against Leicester two weeks previously would give Arsenal a
    platform to build on, but instead they slumped to what Graeme Souness described
    as a weak, insipid and unacceptable defeat against an injury-ravaged United side
    who had failed to win 10 of their previous 13 league games. Arsenal suffered a
    3-2 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford Arsenals wretched run of
    four wins from 11 games since then has included a sixth consecutive Champions
    League last-16 exit and an FA Cup knockout by Watford, and the team who led the
    Premier League table by two points at the start of January were mathematically
    ruled out of the title race after Sundays goalless draw with Sunderland. So much
    for the momentum. Arsenals Premier League collapse Premier League 2015/16 P W D
    L GF GA Win % Pts Before January 2 20 13 3 4 34 18 65.0% 42 After January 2 15 5
    7 3 24 16 33.3% 22 Even by Arsenals recent standards, the implosion has been
    spectacular, and as old weaknesses have resurfaced, many supporters are pointing
    the finger at the familiar figure in the dugout. Saturdays protests will be
    aimed at the clubs hierarchy as well as the manager, but some of Wengers recent
    decision-making has done little to help his cause. Last months 3-3 draw with
    West Ham was a case in point. Wenger caused widespread bafflement when he
    selected second-choice goalkeeper David Ospina over the fit-again Petr Cech for
    the must-win encounter, and the decision to leave the 6ft 6in Per Mertesacker on
    the bench looked equally questionable as Arsenal were aerially dominated by Andy
    Carroll.Wenger defended Ospina and expunged the Colombian of blame after the
    game, only to reinstate Cech for the visit of Crystal Palace the following week.
    Cech duly conceded a soft goal from Yannick Bolasie as Arsenal surrendered
    another lead, but that strike highlighted another area of uncertainty. Yannick
    Bolasie celebrates after equalising for Crystal Palace against Arsenal Indeed,
    Bolasies strike wouldnt even have arisen had Gabriel Paulista not given Emmanuel
    Adebayor so much time and space to hold the ball up on Arsenals left flank
    before setting up the chance, and the Brazilian made little effort to block
    Bolasies shot after moving back across into the centre of defence. Arsenal must
    address defence Arsene Wenger needs a defensive overhaul this summer, says
    Charlie Nicholas. Gabriel had kept his place in the side that day despite
    turning his back on Carrolls acrobatic leveller at Upton Park, and it wasnt his
    first costly error since moving ahead of Mertesacker in Wengers pecking order.
    His miscued clearance and poor marking allowed Marcus Rashford to score twice in
    three minutes at Old Trafford, and he was also turned too easily for Odion
    Ighalos opener in the FA Cup defeat by Watford. Gabriel Paulista endured a
    difficult afternoon up against Andy Carroll Mertesacker, of course, is not
    without his limitations, but it was certainly strange to see one of Arsenals
    most experienced campaigners confined to the bench as his replacement struggled
    so obviously. It is no coincidence, either, that they have kept two clean sheets
    since his return to the side last week.The emergence of Alex Iwobi and the
    encouraging performances of Mohamed Elneny have been bright spots for Wenger,
    but there have been oddities in attack, too. Olivier Giroud has come back into
    the team ahead of the more impressive Danny Welbeck despite being on the worst
    barren run of his Arsenal career, while Joel Campbell appears to have fallen out
    of contention altogether, despite receiving glowing praise from Wenger as
    recently as January. Olivier Giroud has only scored in one of his last 20
    appearances for Arsenal The decisions raise further questions of a manager who
    has been unable to arrest another alarming slump. Tottenhams recent draw with
    West Brom all but ensures Arsenal will avoid the doomsday scenario of their
    arch-rivals winning the title, but they are still likely to fall short of
    Mauricio Pochettinos men, and the risk of another fourth-placed finish has only
    intensified the ill-feeling around the club.And so, Wenger finds himself in the
    spotlight once again. Two months ago, he might have hoped his 750th Premier
    League game would present an opportunity to move one step closer to his first
    title in 12 years, but instead he is facing the same old questions over the same
    old problems. Saturdays protests will go some way to showing the scale of the
    dissatisfaction at the Emirates Stadium. Watch Arsenal v Norwich live on Sky
    Sports 1 HD from 5pm on Saturday Also See: Cazorla set for Arsenal return Wenger
    likely to stay
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