From bringing back Theo Walcott to solving the Mesut Ozil problem: Five questions for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during the international break.
The first couple of months of the season have raised more questions than provided answers for the Gunners, and Wenger’s side look further from challenging for the top honours than they did twelve months ago.One aspect that remains frustratingly familiar for Arsenal is the pattern of beating the so-called lesser sides but being outplayed by stronger opposition.The Gunners were impressive in overcoming Aston Villa 3-0 and Galatasaray 4-1 but looked distinctly second best against Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in comprehensive 2-0 losses.It’s also fair to say that the summer transfer window failed to address most of the flaws in Wenger’s squad.Granted Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck have injected much needed pace into the Arsenal frontline but failing to sign a holding midfielder and actually reducing the number of first-team defenders always looked like it would prove costly.Here are five questions that might be on Wenger’s mind during the international break…
1. How do I get my team picking up points in big away games?
Arsenal’s record against their title rivals away from home in recent years is abysmal. They were hammered by all three of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea last season and in the last five seasons have picked up four points from 16 games in away matches against their fellow top-four finishers, including Sunday’s defeat. Wenger needs to think long and hard about how he can change that record during the rest of the season if his side are even to compete in biggest fixtures. At least the Chelsea match demonstrated a degree of tactical flexibility for these clashes as Arsenal set up with a more conservative 4-1-4-1 formation, but clearly more needs to be done.
2. What will I do if one of my defenders gets injured on international duty?