Arsenal put in another limp performance at Stamford Bridge, losing 3-1 to see their title hopes all but ended at the hands of Antonio Conte’s men, who will surely go on to lift the trophy in May.
Chelsea were not brilliant, but they were ruthless, and Arsenal were a lot worse. The Gunners started the game pretty brightly, but the second Chelsea went ahead through Marcos Alonso, Arsenal fell flat and never really looked like getting anything from the game from that point on. It was an all too familiar performance from Arsenal at the Bridge, and many fans have questioned the manager because of the result.
Whilst the manager certainly can be held accountable, several individuals were extremely poor on the day. The big boys, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil did not turn up, whilst Petr Cech, another senior figure in the squad, was simply horrific. He doesn’t look comfortable passing out from the back and his reactions are worryingly slow.
But a lot of the blame will fall on the shoulders of midfielder Francis Coquelin. With Ramsey, Elneny, Cazorla and Xhaka unavailable, Wenger did have little choice but to select Coquelin, but his performance was truly worrying. Arsenal missed a midfielder that could dictate the play from deep, as Coquelin seriously struggled to get a grip on the game. His individual error saw him fail to stop Eden Hazard in the build-up to Chelsea’s second goal, which killed the game.
Coquelin completed just 82.8% of his passes, completing 0 of his attempted crosses, and 0 through balls. With just 58 passes in total, the Gunners needed someone to take more control of the game in Coquelin’s position. Xhaka would’ve been perfect, and the Gunners desperately need him back.
Defensively he made 0 interceptions – considering he offers pretty much nothing in an attacking sense, it is vital that he does more defensively, especially in big games like this.
Here’s some reaction to Coquelin’s performance from Twitter.
Coquelin? He is the most basic player. He did well when he burst back on the scene but he's been found out. Not Arsenal level.
— AFCAMDEN (@AFCAMDEN) February 4, 2017
This defeat will be worthwhile if it's what it takes for people to acknowledge how bad Coquelin is
— Jarsène Benger (@gunnerpunner) February 4, 2017
When you're Coquelin and an Arsenal defender is looking to pass out from the back pic.twitter.com/vGdgAL1aPe
— George Bamfield (@Bammers05) February 4, 2017
Giroud's goal kept a run going: if goals only counted with Coquelin off the pitch, Arsenal are unbeaten in all comps this season
— Lewis (@LGAmbrose) February 4, 2017
Said it after Spurs away last year but this time it's definite. Coquelin should never play for Arsenal again
— Brian McNaney (@Macco4) February 4, 2017
Personally I think Coquelin is a good squad player, but honestly he is no more than that and deserves no more than that. A team like Arsenal, who try to control games, need a more efficient deep lying playmaker. Coquelin didn’t even do his defensive duties well today. It was a game to forget for him, and pretty much all of the Arsenal eleven. It will be interesting to see how Wenger selects his team for the crucial Champions League trip to Bayern Munich in 10 days time.
Arsenal need a fresh approach, players like Coquelin need to get out of the eleven and perhaps we need a new manager.