Arsene Wenger did not come out and directly criticise some of the Arsenal players that have been struggling recently, but you do not need a microscope to read between the lines of what the manager was talking to Arsenal Player about as the Gunners prepare to head south to take on AFC Bournemouth, desperately needing a win to get our Premier League title challenge rolling again.
The Frenchman has spoken about the strikers already this week and talked about his confidence that the goal drought would soon be over, especially as the team were creating plenty of chances. But as he expanded on the creation of those chances, mainly by the assist king Mesut Ozil, I got the sense that he was really asking the other players in the team to step up.
Using Alexis Sanchez as well as Ozil for examples, Wenger spoke about their quality and the way they have linked up well since the Chile international came back into the first team after a spell out due to injury. Wenger feels that the other players in around these two, such as Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, need to raise their own games to something like the level of our dynamic duo.
He said, “It is of course vital that players who provide you with the chances continue to do it. I believe that he [Ozil] has done that in a convincing fashion, in a quiet fashion again, because he’s not the kind of guy who shouts.
“He’s a guy who shows by example and what people forget is the workrate he puts into a game like that and the efficiency he has shown consistently. I think we will need a completely focused Ozil until the end [if we are] to do extremely well this season.
“They [Ozil and Alexis] have a very strong link play and a very good understanding and penetration in the final third. What you want is to give them more options around them. That’s the target now in our team, to create more offensive options around them.
“We have to be faithful to our offensive game. We are a team who love to score goals and that’s why I think we have to continue to work on going forward, to be more efficient.”
Do you think the other Gunners will raise their game or will Arsenal be left to rely on Ozil and Alexis again?