Why Arsene Wenger’s Key Tactical Decision Against Manchester City Was A Pure Blunder

Arsene Wenger Made A Huge Mistake By Benching Lacazette Against Manchester City

After pursuing Alexandre Lacazette for more than two transfer windows and spending a club record £53m on him, it does seem baffling as to how Arsene Wenger chose to leave him out of two big games against Liverpool and Manchester City. Even otherwise, Lacazette constantly gets subbed off as Wenger insists on giving Olivier Giroud cameo appearances, who continues to fail every single time.

Arguably, there’s a good chance Arsenal would have still succumbed to defeat no matter who started, since Manchester City are simply a better side. However, Wenger’s decision to bench Lacazette was quite wrong as the Gunners lacked a sharp attack, which prompted numerous fans to question his abilities as a manager.

Of course, it is easy to disagree with a manager’s tactics but there are decisions that simply do not make sense on any level. Wenger’s logic can only be explained by his desire to play Alex Iwobi, after watching the midfielder help neutralise Chelsea’s dangerous build-up play at Stamford Bridge in September. But what needs to be noted is that Arsenal were without Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in that game, whereas against City, they had both players available.

Wenger may have hoped that Iwobi would bring a similar balance to his front three this time, but clearly that did not work out. It is surprising as to why a manager would want to go for a player who might or might not do well, instead of choosing a proven goal-scorer, who boasts of scoring the highest number of goals for Arsenal so far this season.

Lacazette scored the only goal for Arsenal against Manchester City

In fact, forget Iwobi – one might even argue that Wenger had a choice between dropping Lacazette – a consistent player eager to prove his worth, and Sanchez -whose loyalty continues to be questioned after his lacklustre display over the weekend.

Wenger deployed Sanchez up front, and was rewarded with a lethargic display full of turnovers and poor body language. The Chilean covered the least amount of ground, which only showed just how poorly he did his job.

Lacazette, meanwhile, proved his clinical touch by pulling a goal back from a tight angle and giving Arsenal a glimmer of hope shortly after coming off the bench. In a game against a side like City, it is imperative to have your best men on the field. A seemingly simple piece of logic which seemed to have evaded Wenger – and he did pay for it dearly with three points.


Written by Meghna Sengupta

Editor @ Soccersouls. Lives in Chennai, and a Manchester United fan.
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