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3 reasons Arsenal could still challenge for the top four

| 01.09.2017

There’s a lot of football to be played…

It only took three league games of the new season for Arsenal’s latest crisis to begin. A 4-0 hammering against Liverpool exposed the weaknesses that have been obvious to many observers. Transfer Deadline Day then came and went without any new arrivals.

There are calls for Arsene Wenger to go already. Alexis Sanchez clearly doesn’t want to be at the club any longer. And the squad looks weak compared to many of their top four rivals.

The joy that followed the Gunners’ brilliant FA Cup final display against Chelsea in May feels like a very long time ago now.

It is still only September though. There’s plenty of time to turn things around. Coral News have picked out three reasons why Arsenal could get back into the Champions League places.

Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal’s apparent willingness to sell Sanchez on Transfer Deadline Day now makes keeping him feel like less of a victory than it would have done previously.

The player clearly wanted to join Manchester City.

Arsenal’s failure to sign Thomas Lemar may be the only reason he didn’t leave.

It’s not hard to see why he wanted to go. Few of his current teammates possess his hunger to win.

A player of his ability should be competing for the biggest trophies too. He hasn’t done that during his time at the Emirates Stadium.

Like it or not, he’s stuck there until January at the very least. Expect him to continue scoring plenty of goals.

The 28-year-old might sulk and scowl but he’s always a fearsome competitor on the pitch. Put the ball in front of him and he’ll race after it.

He’s also playing for his next contract now. He can command huge wages as he’d be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.

This might be the last big deal of his career. A great season at Arsenal would maximise his negotiating strength.

Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal have lacked a world-class striker since Robin van Persie left in 2012.

They may now have one in Alexandre Lacazette.

Olivier Giroud is often underrated but lacks pace.

Danny Welbeck ticks most boxes but can’t be relied on in front of goal.

Lacazette combines speed, work rate, excellent movement and clinical finishing.

If Arsenal can be more disciplined at the back (admittedly a big if), the France international can make the difference at the other end of the pitch.

That is, if he starts the game. Wenger made the strange decision to drop the club-record signing for the defeat against Liverpool. You’d think he would have learned his lesson now.

Things Surely Have to Change

Arsene Wenger is no longer the groundbreaking manager he once was. He’s clearly a very intelligent man though. It makes his persistent failure to address his team’s issues even more baffling.

Playing three central defenders hasn’t made Arsenal any more solid this season.

Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey don’t offer enough protection as a midfield duo. It doesn’t matter how good the individual defenders are if opposition attackers constantly get a free run at them.

Wenger’s sides used to be known for playing breathtaking football and giving young players a chance. That’s not really the case anymore. They seem to lurch from one quick fix to the next.

A Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin partnership was one plaster over the midfield weakness. It only came about because of injuries but it worked until Cazorla got injured.

Lwast season’s switch to a back three was an attempt to turn the team’s form around. It led to the team’s FA Cup victory but looks like it’s reached its breaking point now.

Even at this early stage, another change is needed.

Will it be enough to finish ahead of teams that are better managed and organised? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.