3 Talking Points After West Brom Draw

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal in discussion with referee Mike Dean during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on December 31, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Hawthorns
West Bromwich

The Premier League’s final match of 2018 was far from exciting football. After Arsenal broke through late and seemed to be moving ahead of Tottenham on points for the fifth spot, everything was turned on its head. Mike Dean, regarded in Arsenal circles as the enemy, awarded a questionable end-of-match penalty. The goal gave Arsenal a West Brom draw at a time when the club sorely needed three points. We have not heard the last from this penalty decision.

West Brom 1-1 Arsenal

A Different Side Without Mesut Özil

A side without Mesut Özil is just not as good as a side with him. The lack of inventive play, particularly in close to goal, was evident on the day. Of course, he’s not going to play in every match, but when he doesn’t, surely there needs to be a better, more suitable replacement.

Iwobi Not Ready

In the 74′, young Gunner Alex Iwobi was removed from the match with Danny Welbeck coming in. Once-praised for his unbelievable potential on full display early last season, his dip in form has reached a boiling point for many. Most criticised for very poor decision-making resulting in cheap giveaways, the Nigerian looks a bit lost at times.

Perhaps a loan spell will help, but much would depend on the team and manager. He needs playing time, but perhaps not all destinations are created equal.

Still-Shaky Defending

Even the most casual of onlookers could see how shaky Arsenal have been this season—hell, for many seasons. Carrying the lion’s share of possession means nothing when the other team is gifted opportunity after opportunity.

It seems there is guesswork as to whether the team will play with a back three or back four formation, which certainly isn’t helping develop cohesion. The inclusion of Callum Chambers isn’t in itself a bad thing—that is if you are of the thinking that he is strong enough to be an anchor. If not, then you will see him as a weak spot on an already shaky back line.

And what is going on with stalwart Laurent Koscielny? While he was removed today for Per Mertesacker, certainly there has been a tremendous dip in form over the past 24 months. But let’s not beat a dead horse.

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