Arsenal: Martinez, Mustafi, Sokratis, David Luiz, Chambers, Xhaka, Willock, Tierney, Martinelli, Saka, Aubameyang.
Subs: Leno, Lacazette, Ozil, Torreira, Pepe, Nelson, Guendouzi
Arsenal’s woeful form continued with a 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt at the Emirates tonight – making it seven games without a win, our worst run since 1992.
In a game he had to win, Unai Emery picked four central defenders, recalled Granit Xhaka to midfield and started Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although Nicolas Pepe, Alex Lacazette and Mesut Ozil were all left on the bench.
Luiz began in midfield alongside Xhaka, but the most interesting part of the opening ten minutes was Emery being asked to change his jacket because of a colour clash with the visitors’ shirts.
Saka provided a cross from which Aubameyang headed wide, Luiz picked up an injury which saw him get treatment but then continue, and the Gunners were almost ahead when a poor defensive header provided Martinelli with a chance but the keeper made a save. From the resulting corner the Brazilian’s header was going in but cleared off the line.
Saka was sent through by Aubameyang but the keeper came out quickly to block the shot, and in the 31st minute Matteo Guendouz replaced Luiz who hadn’t looked right since the earlier knock.
Frankfurt barely threatened at all, it was dull fare all round really, but as the half came to a close Willock did well to set up Saka, again though Rannow was equal to it. Xhaka suffered a heavy knock to his knee, and as we went into injury time the goal finally arrived. Saka worked it from left to right, Martinelli crossed it, it came to Aubameyang, his shot hit the keeper, hit the underside of the bar and in. 1-0.
It might even have been two before the break, Willock did well down the left, Aubameyang crossed and Xhaka was there but he slipped as he took it and shanked the ball wide.
The visitors made a double change ahead of the second half, bringing on Kohr and Gacinovic for Silva and Fernandes, but it was Arsenal who started brightly and should have extended the lead. Martinelli drove down the right, fed Willock in the box, but it was put behind, and good work from Xhaka created a good opportunity for Chambers but he put it over the bar.
Typically, we paid for that when Frankfurt equalised in the 55th minute. Kamada picked up a square pass, Sokratis didn’t get close enough, and he fired a left footed shot into the far side of the net. 1-1.
That prompted Emery into a change, Mesut Ozil replacing Martinelli on the hour mark, but it was Martinez who was busier, making a good save to keep the scores level after Sokratis had given the ball away cheaply. From the resulting corner, the Germans went ahead. The ball was cleared to the edge of the box, nobody closed down Kamada who took a touch fired home inside the near post. 1-2.
It could have been 3-1 but for Sokratis blocking a shot when some bloke was clean through, and after picking up a knock Mustafi was taken off with Torreira coming on in the 76th minute.
The visitors sat deep, looking to protect the lead and the three points, while Arsenal couldn’t find anything to put pressure on them or create any chances.
The game moved into three minutes of added time, the plaintive cries of a child urging his team on audible on TV, but it was Frankfurt who almost scored again, Paciencia putting it wide from 8 yards out.
The final whistle blew, Arsenal are without a Premier League win since October 6th, and in front of a half-empty stadium which had been half-emptied again by the final whistle, boos rang out.
This is no longer on Emery, it’s on Raul Sanllehi and KSE who are allowing this to continue.