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16th Aug 2015

3 problems for Arsene Wenger after Arsenal beat Crystal Palace

An important win, but plenty to be worried about...

Simon Lloyd

While three points away to Crystal Palace will go some of the way to making up for their dismal showing against West Ham, there’s still some cause for concern for Arsenal.

We’ve picked out three of the things that could keep Arsene Wenger awake at night.

Petr Cech is looking shaky

Pundits and supporters alike have purred over the acquisition of Petr Cech. No stranger to the Premier League, his quality and experience are unquestioned and it’s hard to see how he won’t make a positive difference to his new club come the end of the season.

Currently though, he looks uncharacteristically unsteady. His error in judgement which cost Arsenal the opener against West Ham was clear for all to see, but even in victory against Palace he was far from convincing. Others might have been more at fault for the goal which brought the home side level, but a definite uncertainty when dealing with crosses remained.

It could be the legacy of sitting on Chelsea’s bench for a year, but Cech’s lack of sharpness will be an issue for Arsenal as he acquaints himself with a new back line. In these early weeks of the season, Arsenal’s new goalkeeper will still be in the spotlight.

Coquelin back to his old ways

Goals aside, the main talking point of the victory against Palace was how Francis Coquelin escaped a second yellow card. A let off on this occassion, but his rashness when already in the referee’s notebook will raise questions over his discipline.

Earlier in the summer, Wenger was tipped to make a move for Morgan Schneiderlin before his move to Manchester. Coquelin’s presence in the Arsenal team was said to be the reason Wenger didn’t deem this necessary. Now, with limited time and options remaining in this transfer for Wenger to add depth to this part of his squad, his faith in the Frenchman might be seen as a bit of a gamble.

Alexis Sanchez could be vulnerable to burnout

Defintiely not because of his ability, Alexis Sanchez should be another concern for Arsenal. A genuine world-class performer,  he again played a key role as his back post header forced Damien Delaney’s own goal.

Arsenal’s problem will be keeping him in prime condition for a title assault. Despite playing in the World Cup last summer, he arrived at the Emirates having been used sparingly throughout his time at Barcelona. After playing a full season and then going all the way in the Copa America, consistently churning out key performances for another full season might be a tall order for the Chilean.

The arrival of Karim Benzema has been mooted all summer long and, although it would certainly lighten Sanchez’s load, appears less likely by the day. By not reinforcing their attacking options, Arsenal could be taking a huge risk. As brilliant as Sanchez is, a dip in form from fatigue or an injury could have a devastating impact on any aspirations of a first title for Wenger since 2004.