Former Republic of Ireland manager and captain John Giles claims Arsenal have suffered this season - due to the poor form of three key players.
With just two wins from five games, Arsenal currently reside in 12th place in the Premier League, in what has been a faltering start to the season for the Gunners. With disappointing losses to Stoke and Liverpool, Arsenal find themselves well off the pace of the title front-runners in Manchester.
Player turned pundit John Giles attributes this poor start to three men in particular. When speaking to OffTheBall, Giles claimed that he saw a vast improvement in Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Chelsea due to the omission of Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and former Arsenal player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Notoriously collapsing in the big games, Giles identified his reasoning behind the strong performance: "One of the reasons it didn't happen - There was no Ozil. There was no Chamberlain. There was no Walcott in the team. I think they have been three of the main culprits of why Arsenal haven't done well. There was a good team spirit about them and a sense of purpose about them."
Mentioning the departure of Chamberlain, who joined Liverpool for £40m this summer, Giles criticised his lack of 'purpose', saying: "I know Chamberlain has gone to Liverpool now, but he played quite a while for Arsenal. Those three players have been the three main culprits in not having the sense of purpose, that they showed last weekend."
Arsenal looked more aggressive and competitive against their London counterparts last Sunday, which Giles pointed out in his comments: "There was a team spirit about them and a will to do 'it'. That's your starting point. I don't think they ever had that will with Ozil playing as one of the main players, and Chamberlain, and Walcott for that matter."
Specifically, Mesut Ozil has been on the back end of a lot of criticism for his lack of a defensive work rate. His omission from the side in such a big game against Chelsea was a statement of intent by Arsene Wenger for the German to step his performance levels up. With Arsenal set to face West Brom on Saturday - it will be intriguing to see if he is left out of the side once again.