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  • By Charlie Stong

Tactically naive, I’ve used stronger words

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3; more individual errors.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Arsenal Football Club will never again win the league under Arsene Wenger.

‘Tactically naive’, a mate of mine texted at half time. I used stronger words.

Sead Kolasinac has been our best player this year. Consistently solid, aggressive, horrible to play against - everything we have been crying out for for a decade or more.

Yet Wenger has felt the need to ‘rest’ him for the past three league games and replace him with a player who looks out of his depth in even the League Cup team.

It is unfathomably poor management. I just cannot understand some of his decisions these days.

Don’t let the five minutes when we went from 0-2 to 3-2 disguise this. There were far, far too many poor individual performances.

I'm not going to slate Maitland-Niles, I don't blame him. But it's clear he shouldn't yet be playing football at this level. He's just not up to it - and Wenger needs to be careful not to expose him so much so as to undermine his confidence at such a young age.

Even before Coutinho’s opener the left-back was twice exposed by far post Firmino headers.

But others are old enough and ugly enough to know better. Koscienly is making two or three massive mistakes every game at the moment. He was woefully out of position for the third Scouse goal, and once in the first half tripped over the ball to give Liverpool a one-on-one with Cech.

So to Cech. What was he doing with that third goal? Top teams don't sell their best players - certainly not to a rival in the same league. Chelsea sold Cech to us knowing he was past his best, and although he did a decent job for us in the first year or so at the club, he also is now making far too many mistakes. We need a new goalkeeper.

Apart from his headed goal Alexis was anonymous again, and for far too much of yet another big game Ozil was, too. Lacazette tried but lacked service.

A Chelsea win today puts them, in third place, seven points in front of us. Too much. So once again that leaves us in a scrap for fourth. The only consolation there is that Liverpool and Spurs - the two teams we’ll most likely be fighting out that place with - are as poor at the back as we are.

One aside, watching Sky this evening it was impossible not to notice, but how biased is Jamie Carragher? Three times Firmino blatantly blocked players starting an Arsenal counter-attack and he put it down to ‘clever play’ or some such rubbish.

No, Carragher, it’s cheating, mate. Not allowed. Firmino should have been booked for two of them, and therefore dismissed - as should Carragher. Why do our pundits praise this style of ‘breaking up play’. It's been something so widely praised by so-called experts in the modern game for so many years now that refs seem to feel the need to let it go. It's cheating.

So overall - to use an Arseneism - we’re half-way through the season and are left with a fight for fourth place and the cups. Sound familiar?

Merry Christmas.

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