Arsenal named the same team as that which beat Lincoln, with Mesut Özil and Lucas Perez both left out of the squad due to “injury” (they’re totally leaving, by the way). So this is the future, without Mesut Özil, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taking his place. And, uh, it’s not good. It’s actually very bad, because without Mesut Özil, Arsenal are a very, very tedious football team with little invention in the final third.
Of course, Arsenal could’ve done better, but then their goalkeepers intervened. Petr Cech flapped at Nacer Chadli’s corner, allowing Craig Dawson, who climbed higher than Laurent “The Boss” Koscielny, to nod in. Cech then came off injured, hurting his calf kicking the ball, and he was replaced by noted human garbage can, David Ospina. Ospina’s first contribution to the match came in the second half with the scores level: he passed a long ball straight to Hal Robson-Kanu, who kicked the ball past him.
WBA’s third was a repeat of the first: Craig Dawson, unmarked, headed the ball past Arsenal’s goalkeeper, who didn’t come for the eminently catchable cross.
Alexis got Arsenal’s goal after a great pass from Xhaka, as Arsenal’s Wenger In and Wenger Out planes battled in the skies overhead.
Arsenal finished the match without Alexis, subbed off for Alex Iwobi, and Mesut Özil, with the main method of attack being Shkodran Mustafi overhitting long balls for Olivier Giroud. They had fewer shots than West Bromwich Albion, with only two shots on target. And yet Arsene Wenger is probably going to be the manager next season, even though he shouldn’t be. And with Arsenal now 5 points off Liverpool in 4th, with two games in hand, and a point ahead of United in 6th, who have a game in hand, and with the next game against Manchester City, Arsenal look further away from the Champions League than at any point in the last 20 years. This is the future, and it’s bad.