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September 2020
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Arsenal’s golden triangle provides plenty of optimism

Arsenal’s golden triangle provides plenty of optimism

Arsenal’s golden triangle provides plenty of optimism

It’s been a varied few years for Arsenal, despite lifting three FA Cup titles in the past four years and making cup history in the process, and missing out on a top-four spot for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s tenure last term was a bitter blow.

Finishing behind Tottenham for the first time in over two decades added salt to the wounds but Arsenal silenced their critics with a fantastic performance at the weekend, beating their arch-rivals 2-0 and rolling back the years with stellar performances from their attacking lines.

Record-signing Alexandre Lacazette, World Cup winner Mesut Ozil and superstar Alexis Sanchez were among the players who stood out for the Gunners, with Lacazette and Ozil providing assists whilst Alexis scored the second goal, and the trio’s performance has significantly raised spirits.

Not since the days of Thierry Henry, who scored a memorable goal in the derby against Spurs in 2002, and Dennis Bergkamp have the Gunners looked so synchronised in attack and this trio, dubbed the ‘golden triangle’, could provide the path to glory this season.

The changes

Lacazette, who started on the bench for the defeats to top-four rivals Liverpool and Manchester City earlier this season, was given the opportunity from the start and repaid Arsene Wenger’s faith with a fantastic performance.

Providing the cutting edge in the build-up for the first goal, then laying the ball on a plate for Alexis Sanchez to double Arsenal’s advantage, Lacazette’s pace and direct approach was too much for Spurs to deal with- and it gave the Gunners an attacking edge that they’ve lacked at times this season.

Fans will have been disappointed by the lack of starts that Lacazette, Ozil and Alexis have earned alongside each other so far this season but the win against Spurs provides a boost, showing that the trio can shine together- and it comes at a crucial period, with Manchester United just a few weeks away.

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The issue, of course, is that Alexis and Ozil are entering the final months of their contracts and could both leave for nothing next summer. Whilst Wenger has insisted fans don’t worry about renewals and praised the pair for their performances, time is ticking down and the Gunners could be left with some huge holes in their side come the summer.

Finding consistency

As it has been in many other years, consistency has proven to be Arsenal’s downfall so far this season. Whilst the victory against Spurs was superb, cracks in the side are still present from the defeats to Watford and Stoke City earlier in the campaign.

Had Arsenal managed to get something from those games, the Gunners could have been battling Manchester City for the Premier League title. Instead, Wenger’s side stand as outsiders for league glory and face a battle to return to Europe’s elite competition.

A lack of consistency is shown by the fact that the win against Spurs was Arsenal’s first this month, after losing to Manchester City and drawing with Red Star Belgrade ahead of the international break, and varied battles lie ahead with Koln away in the Europa League, before Burnley and Huddersfield take to the Gunners in the Premier League.

Three victories from those three matches would certainly help the Gunners find their stride, though they may rotate in Europe as they’ve already sealed their spot in the next round of the competition, but it’s in these matches against lower-ranked sides where Arsenal seem to have struggled most.

Utilising the trio

Arsenal, unsurprisingly, are at their best when their three main attackers are on the field. Ozil, Alexis and Lacazette need to be playing together more regularly to improve their cohesion, which could then result in a continued upturn in form.

Rotation is of course necessary, and Arsenal have adequate back-up with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, but the golden triangle should stand first-choice and feature together as much as possible.

They’re unlikely to play against Koln but starting next week against Burnley, a side who’ve excelled so far this season, is vital. Then, the trio have to feature against Manchester United in a match that could decide what sort of battle Arsenal find themselves in for the remainder of the season.

 

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