Everton extracted Arsenal’s top-four fate from the north Londoners’ hands and slotted them into their pocket following the comprehensive 3-0 beat down they gave Arsene Wenger’s men at Goodison Park.
The heady days when the Gunners were considered title rivals to Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea seem an age ago as the Champions League ever-presents under Wenger cling to their spot amongst the Premier League’s elite, with a scarcity of punters willing to jump on their 11/20 top-four-finish price.
Frequent failings against their big gun bedfellows are to blame for this monumental capitulation, with recent drubbings from Chelsea and Liverpool highlighting some fundamental flaws in their tactics.
In addition to their faulty playing model, they could also do with upgrades on various personnel, five of which we’ve highlighted here:
Wenger lauds the Spaniard as the club’s leader on the field, but the distinct lack of character demonstrated in their big-game maulings is a clear indicator that he isn’t anything like the commanding presence required.
More of a playmaker than an anchorman, the former Everton man’s lack of tenacity and physicality often results in the Gunners defence being over-exposed, which is perilous against high-quality opposition.
Organisational skills aside, the German’s criminal lack of pace is easy to exploit and means the team can’t ever push too high up the field lest a striker with a modicum of speed gets in behind them.
The 22 goals conceded in eight games against the remaining four of the current top five is testament to the fact that the stronger sides know how to punish this weakness.
The England man has stagnated following his rapid emergence into the first-team fold four years ago, owing largely to fitness issues.
Constant spells in the treatment room have restricted the 22-year-old to just 39 league starts in the previous three seasons and his regular absence means Wenger is unable to make him the focal point of his midfield, as was initially planned.
Much like Wilshere, the Southampton-schooled flyer is all too often sidelined with injury.
Crossing the ten league goal threshold just once in his entire career isn’t good enough for a player regularly hyped for his lethal finishing prowess either.
More of an impact substitute than a regular starter, the Polish-born German is very much expendable.
Podolski has completed just two lots of 90 minutes this season, beginning only nine matches and the club would definitely be better served spending his exorbitant wage costs elsewhere.