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Same Old Story For Wenger And Arsenal

Whoscored.com took an in-depth look this week at another end of season slump by the Gunners.

A couple of things stand out in the post.

Arsene Wenger made a decision a year ago that he wanted a small squad, and that decision is really coming back to haunt him. When Arsenal went to Bayern in the Champions League last month, they did not even have enough fit players to make up a full subs bench.

When you have a small squad, players get to get injured from being overplayed, and recently Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Mesut Özil, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs and Abou Diaby were all out recently simultaneously.

The other effect of having a small squad, is that even if players don’t get injured they hit the wall, and that is the case with Olivier Giroud. In Arsenal’s 24 games before the capitulation at Anfield last month, Giroud played 22 games, scored 10 goals and set up six. In his nine games since, he has scored three and set up one.

Since losing at Anfield, Arsenal’s goals scored per game are down from 1.96 per game to 1. Goals conceded are up from 0.88 to 2.11. Pass completion has remained roughly the same. They’re having fewer shots and conceding more. Tackles are down by over 3 per game. Possession is down almost 2.5 percentage points.

The frustrating part for Arsenal fans is that this is a horror story that keeps repeating itself. Arsenal do well for two thirds of the season but run out of steam as injuries and tiredness catches up with them.

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