Blogs & Opinion


Arsenal's failure to score against rivals costly, says David Jones

David Jones - David Jones Posted 27th March 2014 view comments

Last Saturday Jamie Redknapp and I were rehearsing for Saturday Team Talk while Chelsea were taking on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, breaking away from our discussion when in the opening minutes Olivier Giroud was played in on goal.

His effort, though on target, was saved comfortably enough by Petr Cech.

"What a chance," said Jamie. "That could be a massive moment."

Seconds later the play switched to the other end, Arsenal were overloaded and Samuel Eto'o had a sniff of a chance himself: he delayed his shot, cut the ball back onto his left foot and arrowed it into the Arsenal net.

Arsenal have failed to trouble title rivals' defences, says David Jones

Arsenal have failed to trouble title rivals' defences, says David Jones

"There's the difference," said Jamie. "In big games you have to seize your opportunity."

Once again Eto'o had proved he's the man for the big occasion, just as he had with the opener against Galatasary and Spurs, the hat-trick against Manchester United and the winner at home to Liverpool: goals in games that made a difference.

Firepower

Giroud - fine player though he is - has gone up against Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool 16 times in his career and scored just once.

It's far too simplistic to say that's the reason Arsenal have faltered in the title race but when they've come up against their biggest rivals they just haven't possessed the firepower to hurt them.

Perhaps unfairly Giroud carries the team's goalscoring burden and he's done well to reach 19 at this stage: especially when you consider his competition Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo have managed just two between them.

Arsenal's second top scorer is Aaron Ramsey (13) who they have sorely missed and must cope without again this weekend

Compare that to City, the team who will stroll into the Emirates on Saturday as favourites to win the Barclays Premier league: all three of their frontline strikers - Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, and Edin Dzeko - plus midfielder Yaya Toure have reached the 20 goal mark this season.

Chance

Arsenal must hope City have an off day on Saturday Night Football but that's hard to imagine given they've won the last four and haven't conceded in the league for eight and half hours.

Manuel Pellegrini's team are counting down the games, edging ever closer to Chelsea's lead at the top.

They still have major hurdles to overcome at Anfield and Goodison but this game could truly set them on their way.

The first 10 minutes will be fascinating: recent Arsenal games against Chelsea and Liverpool were already lost by then.

And remember it took just 45 seconds for City to score against Manchester United.

Get through those early stages unscathed and Arsenal have a chance; but when the chance falls they have to take it. 

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Graeme Souness

Souness: Chelsea, City will progress

Graeme Souness tips Bayern Munich to win the Champions League, but says City and Chelsea could go close....

Paul Merson

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Paul Merson says Arsenal's defeat in Dortmund shows why silverware could be beyond them this year....

Gary Neville

Nev: Ron return 'more possible'

Gary Neville has responded to the rumours that Manchester United could bring back Cristiano Ronaldo....

Latest News RSS feeds

Gerrard rescues Liverpool

Steven Gerrard's last-gasp penalty earned Liverpool a fortunate 2-1 win over brave Ludogorets at Anfield.

Poor Arsenal lose in Dortmund

Goals from Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Borussia Dortmund to a 2-0 win over a lacklustre Arsenal.

Gutierrez battling cancer

Newcastle United winger Jonas Gutierrez has revealed he has been receiving treatment for testicular cancer.

Rodgers hails side's character

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers praised his side's character as they battled to a late 2-1 win over Ludogorets.

Wenger bemoans poor display

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits his side were 'average' following their 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Features

EDEN HAZARD EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea’s No.10 on Champions League ambitions and setting Ballon d’Or targets

EDEN HAZARD EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea’s No.10 on Champions League ambitions and setting Ballon d’Or targets

When Chelsea conquered Europe for the first time in their history with an epic UEFA Champions League final win in May 2012, Eden Hazard was sitting, watching his television in a hotel room in France.

Champions League: In-form Chelsea new boys Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have unfinished business in Europe

Champions League: In-form Chelsea new boys Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have unfinished business in Europe

History has a way of filtering the noise and distilling lengthy stories down to their essence. The narrative of the 2012/13 Premier League season will always be that Manchester United bought Robin van Persie from Arsenal and promptly won the title.

Mario Balotelli: Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 - How did the striker perform for Brendan Rodgers’ team as the Champions League returned to Anfield?

Mario Balotelli: Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 - How did the striker perform for Brendan Rodgers’ team as the Champions League returned to Anfield?

It was an edgy evening for Liverpool after five years away from the European Cup and it took injury-time drama for minnows Ludogorets to be beaten on Merseyside.