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September 19, 2018

Wenger needs to exorcise the mind block when Arsenal face Chelsea

Arsenal v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 24/1/16 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 24/1/16 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Many fellow Arsenal fans have been on my case this week because once again I blamed Arsene Wenger for Arsenal’s loss to Chelsea on Sunday. So I feel it’s only right that I explain myself. Yes you are right that at the end of the day it’s the players who are out there and who need to perform.

And yes I agree with you that a player of Per Mertesacker’s experience knows better than to bait Diego Costa because we all know he is a cheat! As Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood put it; “Costa is a serial cheat and he gets away with it. I think he deliberately ran in front of Mertesacker, who hardly touched him. Yet Costa rolls around as if his legs have been cut off.

Once the red card’s been shown, he’s suddenly perfectly all right again.” Mertesacker did touch Costa but not enough to bring him down. Costa is a player you don’t bait! I want to know what Wenger tells the players before a Chelsea game because that’s what matters. Arsenal always struggle to beat Chelsea and I have a strong feeling Wenger’s brief ahead of a Chelsea game is the same as that ahead of a Liverpool or Man City game.

But it shouldn’t be. There is mental fear of Chelsea amongst the Arsenal squad and the manager needs to deal with that. If it means bringing in psychologists to challenge the players’ mental focus ahead of a Chelsea game then so be it! Wenger needs to take charge because when Arsenal play Chelsea something just does not feel right. Secondly I believe Wenger made a huge tactical error by sacrificing our main in form striker Olivier Giroud after the red card.

eYes w needed to re-inforce thedefenc e; that goes without saying; but in a game where we all knew there would be goals anyway, how do you remove Arsenal’s biggest chance of a goal? The squad actually played better after the red than before it. We clearly lacked a proper finisher. In his defence Wenger said he removed Giroud because he felt it was important to go for counters and he needed players with pace. What that meant was pace, getting into the box and then no goals.

Despite Joel Campbell’s great form this season I would have sacrificed him or Theo Walcott. Yes Walcott brought and always brings pace but his shooting has been a little off in recent weeks. Wenger should have mixed pace with Giroud’s accuracy for goal. Once we conceded it soon became clear we wouldn’t concede a second but also that we would not score either.

Players carry a responsibility when they play. They must take some of the blame when we don’t win games. If this was any other team I would have put most of the blame on the players; but this was Chelsea. And Wenger needs to begin to prepare to face Chelsea differently from when preparing for other games.

The Blues have lost to just about everybody and their relatives this term; but they will pride themselves in London as having taken six points off city rivals Arsenal. And that’s just not acceptable!

Talk to me on @CarolRadull on twitter or www.facebook.com/CarolRadull

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