Are critics right to judge Arsenal manager’s selection?

It seems as if every single pundit out there has judged the Arsenal manager’s decision to drop Alexandre Lacazette, but is that simply because it is easy to jump on the narrative?

Ray Wilkins is the latest person to give his opinion on the decision, although he rightly states that the French boss should have a much better understanding of his options, but continues to judge the decision.

Travelling to Manchester City is the toughest task at hand at present, with the side having won every match in all competitions since drawing with Everton on the first week of the campaign, and no side can go to the Etihad at present and expect a win.

Despite such a huge task, Arsene Wenger set up his side to give Arsenal a chance, and having saved his creative and goalscoring threats for the second half, looked the much bigger threat following the half-time break. His side will feel hard done-by after the result, but his decisions may well have given him his best chance of landing a shock result.

Ray Wilkins gives his opinion that Wenger was wrong with his decision to bench Lacazette however.

He said: “Personally I would say yes (he got it wrong) but Arsene Wenger knows his players far better than I do.

“Lacazette, for example, you buy him for, I don’t know what it was, £55million for the big games.

“When he brought him on, he scores, because he is a goalscorer, but all of a sudden, he’s on the bench. I don’t quite understand.

“When you’re going to Manchester City, it’s proven that to actually get a point, you need to score a goal.

“They score so many goals, especially at home, so you need one to actually get a point.

“Therefore, you’re leaving £55million on the bench, (Olivier) Giroud’s also on the bench, so you’re limiting your chances of getting that point before you even kick off.

“Do you put City under pressure?

“I would say yes, go for City, make it uncomfortable, for City.”

Did Wenger take a risk in dropping Lacazette to the bench? Did the Gunners manager set his team up to slow City down for the opening half before unleashing his attacking threat in the second half? Does he deserve the criticisms this time?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal lacazette Man City Wilkins


  1. Me says:

    His decision making is bizarre to say the least.
    And it is costing Arsenal dearly.
    Why do they keep him on?
    Its not for results, consistency or challenging for the title that’s for sure.
    More importantly what was the point of Kroenke buying the club other than for bleeding it dry.
    Arsenal are just an old fashioned club with old fashioned principles lorded over by a bunch of old men who no longer have any business in football.
    Arsenal need young people running the club – not dinosaurs..

    1. l says:

      I think the boss pulled up a surprise team but some players let him down by not playing up to expectation. You could see the effect of the surprise team on the Man City players in the first 10 minutes. Ozil and Iwobi didn’t do their jobs in their positions. When you have mid fielders like Xhaka, Ramsey and Coq playing behind Ozil, Iwobi and Sanchez, we were supposed to wrestle possession from Man City’s mid field. Instead Iwobi was hardly available in his position. You hardly see him when he is suppose to support Kolasinac in possession. He was mostly far from City defenders when they are in possession. I saw Sanchez on so many occasions signalling to Iwobi and co to press forward to no avail. For dropping Lacazette, I think it wasn’t as bad as some take it to be. I suppose the coach’s plan was to gain possession in first half and hit them with our attackers in the second half. If only he realized that Iwobi n Ozil would fail him, he would have used Lacazzete to replace either of them. Wilshere is a player that would have been effective for the team set up but his involvement in Europa league means he has to start from the bench. Ozil and Iwobi let us down big time.

      1. Eddy Hoyte says:

        Crap…Iwobi had a better game and made better runs with the ball than Ozil and Xhaka combined

  2. arie82 says:

    So wenger (can) bench 55 million lacazette, but not able to bench
    30 million average xhaka

    1. chris says:

      The player we should have left out was Ozil.

    2. Mobella says:

      The 30M average Xhaka put in more shift and stand up to ref than the much loved Sanchez.

  3. Bond 007 says:

    I’m not a pundit, or expert when it comes to football.
    One thing I know however, is that Arsenal is not just stagnant…but being pushed down the pecking order.
    The sooner we realise this, the better for the club. As long as we continue to lie to ourselves, that we are ‘over achieving’ as a club, we’ll see how it goes.

  4. barryglik says:

    To be fair Arsenal should
    have got a point at least.
    Every one loses at City so
    the performance was actually very good.
    But City had to back up 7 starters and played like a tired side.
    Spurs backing up 6 starters were poor v Palace.
    Arsenal had a completely fresh side and was
    hoping to beat a tiring City 2nd half and but for ref decisions
    may have carried out that plan successfully.
    So no Wenger did not get selection wrong.
    On to the huge Derby game.
    Spurs are resting Kane Ali and Winks who will
    all defy medical science and all recover in time for this crucial Derby.
    If Arsenal win then its a point behind Spurs + 4th is very much on schedule.
    A loss for Spurs, they will be 11 points behind City
    and another trophyless season beckons who knows
    a melt down and missing top 4.
    This Derby game is a season definer.
    Arsenal 3 – 1.
    Arsenal to finish 3rd in the league.
    Spurs 5th.

  5. RZ says:

    One thing that I thought would have troubled City was to get Giroud In, Play your usual formation with Bellerin and Kolasinac as wing backs, Drop Ozil & Xhaka, Play Coq and Elneny in Mid with Ramsey and Sanchez ahead of them.

    Giroud could have been useful against the City defence.

  6. Sue says:

    The critics have every right to do so & I’m with them on this one. Why buy him if he’s just going to be benched?? He always drops the players that can make a difference & always plays the ones that are sh*t week in week out! Baffling

  7. ThirdManJW says:

    Even if Wenger had picked his strongest lineup, City away is a tough place to win. So what chance do you give yourself when you make a conscious decision to select a weaker starting XI than needs be? All it does is make it harder to win. So the criticism is just, and fair.

    I feel so sorry for our away fans travelling all the way up there to see Wenger make a complete hash of the starting lineup just like he did at Anfield, and in every other game this season. It’s almost as if Wenger is punishing us because we dared to criticise, and question his methods.

  8. Break-on-through says:

    I think people are being a little too cock sure about this one. When it was 2-1 I can’t speak for anyone else but I felt hold on we can actually get something here. Lacazette arrived and chased things down and city did look to tire. Then that awful decision to give a goal when you didn’t even need to be in line with him to see he was off. That just killed us right there and gave city the sigh of relief that they needed. The Coquelin decision I cannot defend, or waiting til damage was done before changing it. The lack of belief was also hard to watch, we didn’t look up for it. But the decision to have players for later in the game, that actually looked like it could have went in our favor. People can argue about it being better to have from the start, but that is multiple universe type stuff.

  9. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Arsene has a ‘Only Stan can judge me’ tattoo across his chest

  10. ArseOverTit says:

    “at least we competed…” [says stan as he sips on the blood of yet another small child]
    “kind a looking forward to the F.A Cup” [whilst he crunches down on a bone ripped from an unsuspecting Arsenal fan].

    “more flesh, bring me another pound of flesh” he says..pointing to the cowling Frenchman lurking in the shadows.

  11. Ricki says:

    Sort it out people we bench are top scorer and going to replace oizl with a player we let go for free and buy him for ten million I want big signings stop protecting wenger he needs To go really starting to think of giving up my season ticket I’ve had enough of the same crap week in and out and people standing up for wenger get him kronka and gazidis out now a stand needs to be made Iam done

  12. Break-on-through says:

    At 2-1 we looked like we could get back into it, it looked plausible. So it’s more the Coquelin one I have a problem with, even though I’d liked to have seen Lacazette instead of Ozil. But Wenger stood there hoping like a fan, only he had the power to change it early. The lack of belief was hard not to miss, how can players not be fired up for the biggest game of our season. It was a lifeline, and we set it on fire.

  13. Xxnofx says:

    I don’t see how any true fan can be happy about the situation we are in
    The club goes backwards each year but still fans on here and other social media outlets think that the club are doing great ,how can you be happy when we see the same thing year in year out ,scrabble for 4th ,get champions league place ,scrabble out the group then get turned over by the next big team
    For me this is not how a big club should be run (7th richest club in world football) Why don’t we act like it .
    I would understand if we didn’t have the resources at our deposal but we do
    Then we got the same excuses before each season starts only for wenger to disappear until season starts and for him to buy his token signing which is just enough spent to look like he’s spent money (about 30 million on sum dud )
    We made profit this summer and our league postition now shows it .the club needs a clean break be it from owner manager new players .the whole place just stinks of mediocrity.

  14. AndersS says:

    Neutral experts and pundits, who predicted how Arsenal’s season would go and who predicted, we would loose by at least a couple of goals to City, were more or less being called idiots by many fans. And now we should question their right to point out the reasons/problems??
    Give me a break.

  15. Kenya 001 Ars fan says:

    We keep seeing flaws in the team which the manager concistently ignores .Excuses are apart of his dna he’s just past it i dont want to see him even in any capacity role at the club he is a virus will we ever recover from the humiliation he has caused us?

  16. Ivan says:

    Wenger is paid £10.5 mil per year. At the moment he is an expensive flop and people have every right to point out his stupid decisions that cost us matches. I mean come on only 1 point out of 12 against teams in the top 10 in the league and people still defend him. What a joke!

  17. the barrel says:

    I dont watch Arsenal games anymore because when I see Ozil, Xhaka, and Giroud I feel like vomiting. As long as they are Arsenal players, I will take a break from being a supporter

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