You could point the finger at various issues and incidents for Arsenal over the last eight months and argue that this was the the main factor in our failure to take advantage of the struggles of the likes of Chelsea and Man City and cruise to the Premier League title.
Just a few are; the loss of Cazorla in central midfield or the loss of Coquelin around the same time, the shocking performance of Mike Dean at Chelsea, the hammering at Southampton on Boxing Day and the loss and a draw at West Brom and Norwich in November.
However, despite the setbacks along the way, Arsenal would have been in a much better position, probably top spot or very close to it, if our forwards had been finishing even a decent amount of the many chances coming their way from the likes of Mesut Ozil.
Perhaps the worst offender has been Olivier Giroud but the Frenchman was on fire in the first half of the season. I am not looking to absolve him of blame here but trying to find a reason and perhaps the fact that his dry spell coincided with the absence through injury of Alexis Sanchez was a major factor. A lot more of the pressure to score then fell on Giroud and he does not seem to have handled it well and he has contibuted largely to Arsenal’s goal drought.
So as well as the hamstring injury keeping our best forward out of action it could have affected the form of our main centre forward. And now the Chile international has revealed in a report by The Sun that it has had a third negative impact on Arsenal’s goal power.
Alexis admitted that his performances have been below par since his comeback and he puts this down to his fear that the hamstring problem might flare up again.
He said, “Before my injury I was 100 per cent fit. I was feeling well. After the injury I wanted to get back but it was hard.
“I had a setback and when I played I was scared I would get injured again because the thing I like most in the world is playing football and when I can’t play I feel sad.
“I think I have adapted well to the club but I am never satisfied with what I do. I want to win the Premier League, the Champions League. I always want to win everything.
“Football is my passion, my life and I always want to win.
“If I lose, I always go home sad, I can’t sleep and that upsets me. When I win, my team-mates are happy and enjoy their families the next day. Football is my life.”
After the last game against Watford when the striker looked like his old self and the Arsenal goal drought was certainly put to bed, has that injury fear now gone? Or will the tweak that saw him replaced towards the end of that game have brought it back to affect his mind and his form?