Arsenal need Alexis Sanchez to find form to win the league

Alexis Sanchez is a lucky boy. Lucky that Eden Hazard exists.

Eden Hazard’s awful form this season – Just a single goal from the penalty spot in an FA Cup against MK Dons has meant that the press have not focused on the fact that Arsenal’s Chilean winger’s has had 2nd season syndrome.

On the face of it, 10 goals in 22 games is a good return and is a similar goals to games ratio as what he did in his exceptional first season. But when you dig down, good form he has certainly not been in.

His 6 Premier League goals this season in 15 games have in fact come in just 3 games. A hat trick against Leicester, a double against Manchester United & one against Watford. All 3 games were consecutive. So what reads as 6 in 15, is in fact 6 in 3, 0 in 12. Not a great return.

When you expand it to include all goals (for club and country), he went on a run between September & October where he scored in 6 consecutive games. A sparkling run of form ,yes. But throughout the rest of the season, he has only scored in another 2 games.

To add to his poor goal scoring form, he also has just 1 assists this season. Last year he got 8.

A llof his stats this season, whether it is defensive or attacking, have dropped from last year.

He is making less tackles, less interceptions. Successful dribbles have halved. He is not crossing the ball as much, nor has he been playing as many through balls. The only thing that is up dramatically is how many shots per goal he needs. Not a good thing.

Of course, there are other reasons alongside his own poor form as to why things have not gone well.

One of those is the exceptional form and fitness of Mesut Ozil.

Last season, everything positive about Arsenal was going through Sanchez. This year everything has gone through Ozil. That is not a slight on Sanchez. It is Ozil’s job to create, Sanchez’s to finish.

Sanchez has also not looked as sharp this season.

He had a summer playing an international football, winning the COPA America for Chile. He returned from this quickly. Maybe too quickly.

Then he had his hamstring injury against Norwich (I think it was). He had not looked fully fit for a few games before he got this injury. Was he hiding it from the club? Or was the club trying to manage him through due to the injury crisis of wide players at the time? Or was it an accumulation due to playing too many games over the previous 18 months – World Cup, 52 games for Arsenal, COPA America?

I think anyone that saw him live would agree that he did not have the same sharpness, same energy, as he did in 2014/15.

Recently, Ozil has had a dip in form. He needs others around him to pick up the slack. Whether it be Walcott, Ramsey, Giroud or, more importantly, Alexis Sanchez.

There has been no external pressure on Sanchez this season, due to the form of Hazard.

If Sanchez re-find’s his 2014/15 form, it will give Arsenal the best chance of winning the league.

Keenos

Prediction: Arsenal’s title run in

This has been a crazy season. Whether it be Leicester flying away at the top, or Chelsea languishing at the bottom. I guess the only thing we all would have predicted would be Aston Villa to go down.

So maybe, with 13 games to go, it would be a little silly to attempt to predict what is going to happen in Arsenal’s last 13 games. But I am bored at work, so might as well give it a go.

Looking at the league table at the moment, Leicester are on 53 points. If they continue on their average points per game, they will end up with 80 points. In my opinion, 81 points is the least a side will need to win the title. I can not foresee a side getting more than 81. 83 points is near impossibly for anyone bar Leicester.

So we have 81 as our target, can Arsenal reach that magic number?

Arsenal v Leicester

The game that could end this prediction before it has begun. Leicester win, they are 8 points ahead of Arsenal. A gap too large for Arsenal to close.

Personally, I predict a high scoring game, with Arsenal coming out on top. Both teams stream forward aggressively. I just think that the pace of Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny & Hector Bellerin will be able to deal with Vardy, Mahrez et all, better than Leicester can deal with Sanchez, Ozil and Walcott/Ox/Campbell. Arsenal win.

Manchester United v Arsenal

Arsenal have not won at Manchester United in the league since 2006. And only 3 times this century. It was one of those games that, no matter how poor Manchester United have been recently, they have got the result.

Although Arsenal are unbeaten in 3 in all competitions, I can just see Manchester United getting a dodgy decision and the 3 points. Manchester United win.

Arsenal v Swansea

Since returning to the Premier League in 2011, Arsenal’s record at home to Swansea has not been a good one. 4 games played. 1 win, 1 draw, 2 defeats. This season Swansea have been atrocious away from home. Just 2 wins from 12 games. Arsenal win.

Tottenham v Arsenal

The power shift has happened I hear Spurs fans shouting from the roof tops of Edmonton. Yet they have only beaten Arsenal home or away twice in 10 games. Home form only, it is 50% this decade. 4 Spurs wins in 8 games. Arsenal won 3, with 1 draw. I feel this game is due a draw. Draw.

Arsenal v WBA

WBA are awful. Arsenal are not. Easy prediction. 3 points to Arsenal. Arsenal win.

Everton v Arsenal

Everton have been awful at home this season. Just 4 wins from their 13 home games so far. The form guide screams an Arsenal win. Everton have only beaten Arsenal once in 16 games. With Roberto Martinez’s open style of playing. They should be easy to pick off.

The worry is it is a Saturday morning kick off, and we play Barcelona away the Wednesday before. I think fatigue will catch up on Arsenal. Everton win.

Arsenal v Watford

Watford are one of the teams in the Premier League in the worst form – currently 17th in the form table with one win in 5. A lot will change in 2 months. But not enough for Watford to beat us. Troy Deeney and Oscar Ighalo look like they are running out of steam. Arsenal win.

West Ham United v Arsenal

Someone recently said to me “Arsenal always do badly at West Ham”. But it is simply not true. Arsenal have lost twice at Upton Park since 1987. It is a very happy hunting ground for the Gunners.

With Arsenal likely to be out of the Champions League, they will have no mid week distractions before or after the game. However, West Ham are doing well this season, and I can see this fixture being a score draw. Maybe 2-2. Draw.

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Bottom of the form table. I can not see Crystal Palace causing Arsenal a problem. They might catch us on the break, and Emmanuel Adebayor will be well up for playing against us (I expect he will score the winner against Spurs in the FA Cup). Palace have been better away than at home this season, but Arsenal should still have too much. Arsenal win.

Sunderland v Arsenal

Arsenal are unbeaten in 8 against Sunderland. We will make that 9. Arsenal win.

Arsenal v Norwich

Like WBA. Nice and simple. Arsenal win.

Manchester City v Arsenal

I can foresee 2 scenarios happening at Manchester City. The first (and most likely) is that City will win, ending Arsenal’s title challenge. The 2nd (and lest likely) is that Arsenal secure the league title at the City of Manchester Stadium. Manchester City win.

Arsenal v Aston Villa

The last game of the season. What happens could depend on what Arsenal need. A win to secure the title, and we will win. If the season is over, top 4 secured, but no chance of the title, it will be like a training match. Dull with neither side putting in 100% (I imagine Villa to be down by now). Either way, Arsenal will still win. Arsenal win.

 

So with my prediction, Arsenal will get 26 points from their last 13 games. This will leave the side with 74 points in total, 6 point behind the Champions.

But to take us back to the first point made, predicting this season has been pointless task. Meaning that writing this blog has been pointless. As has you reading it.

Keenos

Arsenal need to introduce credits for silver

Tickets, tickets, tickets, it is all I ever seem to be talking about for the last week is tickets. I am getting bored with it, you are getting bored of it. It sure as hell does not get the blog many hits, but it is important we speak about the issues.

I would rather be blogging an important issues, that gets few hits, then joining the rank and file who blog about mindless transfer speculation just to generate hits and therefore advertising revenue. I guess it is called integrity.

The latest issue comes after the release of tickets for the Barcelona home game to silvers. On this occasion, I am not going to mention price, it is all about allocation.

Now, as always when a big game go’s on sale, you all would have been met by the following

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After maybe 90 minutes of waiting, you would have realised the following:

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Frustrating.

Despite the game being Category A and against a team who we have played countless times recently in cup competitions (almost as many times as we have played Hull in the FA Cup – tickets still on sale), it has sold out, in what must be record time. The demand was clearly very high.

What is clear is that almost anyone with a Silver Membership wanted a ticket for this fixture. And this is where it becomes unfair.

I have a mate, let’s call him Dave.

Dave is a silver member. He has been to a lot of home games this season, as well as a few rubbish away’s. He is putting in the hard graft. When Dave finally got through on the system, all that was available were top tier £90 tickets. He has decided not to go.

Another mate of mine, let’s call him Paul.

Like Dave, Paul has also been to a lot of home games this season (but no away this time). Unlike Dave, by the time he got through on the system, the games had sold out. Gone. Finito.

A final mate of mine, lets call him Goldman.

Goldman has not been to a game yet this season. He has a handful of silvers, all networked together, but has not used them. He tends not to buy tickets for himself, more give them to friends to incentivise them to continue using them (ensuring he does not fall foul of the Bribery Act).

Despite not yet using his silvers this season, Goldman got on the system, and bought 4 tickets to be used by his friends, next to each other, in the lower tier.

Goldman is a good friend of the brothers Morgan and Stanley. They also have not been to a game this season. Like Goldman, both Morgan & Stanley own 4 silvers each. They got 8 tickets. They are happy to be taking friends to see Arsenal v Barcelona, even though neither of them are Arsenal fans.

And here is the problem, when it comes to games, all silvers are considered equal.

You will have fans at Barcelona who have not been to a single game this season. You will have other fans who have not yet missed a home game who will miss it.

For away games, there is a credit scheme. The more games you go to, the more credits you get. The more credits you have, the earlier you can buy tickets for.

Bournemouth, with its small allocation, sold out at 50+ credits this season. Spurs sold out at 40+. Where as games such as Stoke City, and the upcoming match at Sunderland, went to, or will go down to 5. Or even less. Some games require no credits.

Surely the club could implement a similar scheme for home silver members?

Upon your card being swiped through the turnstiles, you are rewarded with 1 credit.

Now credits count, like away credits, for the two previous season, plus this season. Therefore, if you have been to every single home game, you get the priority for every single home game. So when the Barcelona tickets, or the Spurs tickets, come on sale, you get to book before someone who has been to no games.

It is a simple procedure, one that is already built into the booking system for away fans, so it will be easy to implement.

By only adding credits once the ticket has been used – rather than bought – will ensure that people are not buying tickets on their silver membership and then not going.

It would create a fair and just procedure to ensure those most loyal fans get the best tickets.

And if successful, could then even be rolled out for Cup Finals.

The club needs to implement this in the interest of fairness for 2016/17.

Keenos

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