A reasonable point but lack of striker hurts Arsenal again

Given the circumstances, a point at Leicester should be a satisfactory return but, in truth, it felt like an opportunity wasted for Arsenal.

Though it wasn’t a game festooned with guilt-edge chances, the Gunners fashioned enough to get a goal but were denied by lacklustre finishing and excellent defending.

In fairness, we can also count ourselves a little fortunate to not have conceded a penalty, after two very presentable appeals were waved away by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Our first half performance spoke of a desire to bring a bit of stability to a defence which shipped four goals in a woeful performance against Liverpool in last week’s season opener.

Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin started in midfield and the pair were, for my money, a very solid, very steady partnership. Bar the odd silly foul, they gave little away and really denied Leicester any space to exploit in behind.

The returning Laurent Koscielny was magnificent. He was arguably Arsenal’s best player of the afternoon with an assured display alongside the young Rob Holding. In fairness to Holding, he performed well under the careful watch of Koscielny and Nacho Monreal.

In terms of chances there wasn’t too much to write home about, a shot from Walcott and a free-kick from Santi Cazorla that almost evaded the Leicester goalkeeper were the only chances of note.

The lack of creativity was possibly the result of the added caution in midfield, but more likely it was because of a real lack of focal point in attack.

Alone up top, Alexis Sanchez was isolated and ineffectual. The Chilean often decided to drop deep or roam wide in order to get himself involved and it just wasn’t working. He is simply not cut out to play the role on his own and I hope the experiment ends after today.

After a pretty assured showing the first half, much like the performance against Liverpool, Arsenal emerged for the second half a very different team.

Certainly, they carried more threat going forward, but they also left themselves very vulnerable in defence.

The same was true of Leicester, who left holes for Walcott to exploit and, in fairness to the 27-year-old, exploit them he did. On several occasions a well-placed pass found Walcott in space but his indecision and lack of killer instinct meant that there was no goal forthcoming.

On two occasions, Theo should really have scored. On one occasion, he scuffed a weak left-foot effort straight at the goalkeeper. On the second, he was denied by the lumbering mass of Wes Morgan who threw himself in last ditch to deny the goal bound shot.

The need for Arsene to go out and buy a striker was once again brought into very sharp focus.

As the match wore on, Arsenal introduced Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud and, as you might expect, the attacking threat immediately increased. Ozil, in particular, was excellent.

But, conversely, caution was thrown to the wind in defence and we very nearly came unstuck late on when Hector Bellerin fouled Musa in the box. It should have been a penalty, it’s impossible to deny as much, but it wasn’t given. I really feel as though we escaped a decision.

That said, we really should not have found ourselves in such a precarious position in the first place. We should have had a lead to defend by that point, not a win to chase.

All told, it was a reasonable point but it could have been more for the Gunners. On an afternoon when Diego Costa again scored late for Chelsea, and with Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on fire for their clubs, the need for a striker has once again been highlighted.

Time is running out.

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