Laurent Koscielny questions Arsene Wenger’s team selection as Arsenal’s title challenge continues to unravel
Laurent Koscielny has called into question Arsene Wenger’s team selection as the fallout from the 3-1 defeat by Chelsea continues to derail Arsenal’s season, with the captain adding more unnecessary attention to the manager’s decision-making this season.
Wenger has come under-fire for the majority of the campaign, mainly for his failure to sign a leading striker last season to convert the also-rans into Premier League champions once again. But having not won the title for 12 seasons, the 12-point gap to Chelsea after last weekend’s demoralising loss has given Wenger’s critics fresh ammunition to call for him to either leave the club or be sacked.
Wenger has confirmed that a two-year contract was offered to him, though revealed he is yet to decide whether he will remain manager beyond the end of the season when his contract expires, but Koscielny’s comment in the wake of the Stamford Bridge defeat will not sit well with Wenger.
“I think we played some players in front of others and I think we should have played more as a team and there was space to do so. They hit us on the counter,” Koscielny said, according to The Mirror.
It’s not clear who Koscielny was referring to, but a look at the starting line-up would suggest that the inclusions of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott – along with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez – left Arsenal too exposed. Francis Coquelin was replaced in the 65th minute, with Arsenal already 2-0 down by that point, but Wenger’s lack of midfield options meant he had to play Oxlade-Chamberlain alongside Coquelin, or risk putting the untested Ainsley Maitland-Niles in for his first Premier League start.
Wenger left both Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck out of the starting line-up, with the former coming on for the final 20 minutes and scoring a consolation header.
That goal only came after former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas came off the substitutes’ bench to score a third and complete the embarrassing rout, which leaves Arsenal all but out of the title race unless they can perform a miraculous turnaround over the final 14 games of the Premier League season.
‘It will be difficult now. Mathematically, nothing is done but we know that it is going to be very complicated,” Koscielny admitted.
“We need to come back to the quality of our game, our passing, movement.”