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Wednesday, 05 December 2012

Arsenal: Five players Gunners must axe


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After a solid start to the season Arsenal have gone completely off the rails. Saturday's home defeat by Swansea City was their fourth of the campaign and leaves them a whopping 15 points behind the leaders Manchester United.

The days of Arsenal tearing teams apart with glorious football is long gone and Arsene Wenger's record of qualifying for the Champions League year in, year out, is in grave danger. But it's not surprising considering some of the players who are currently at the Emirates.

Once upon a time Arsenal had some of the best players donning the famous red and white jersey. Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, Fabregas, Van Persie etc could walk into any side in the world. Now they have players that even Harry Redknapp wouldn't touch.

The January transfer window is just around the corner and Arsene Wenger must splash the cash if the Gunners are to keep hold of their top four spot. But he must also try and offload some of the deadwood.

Here are five players who Arsenal should axe in January. The hardest part with this article is narrowing my scope to just five players, but here we go.

1. Andre Santos

Nobody had heard of Santos before he arrived from Fenerbache in 2011 but the Brazilian has made sure we won't forget him in a hurry. What a buffoon this boy is! Trying to swap shirts with RVP at half-time is one thing, being totally inapt at defending is another. Santos makes Chelsea's David Luiz look like Bobby Moore! 

I've lost count the number of times the left-back has been caught out of position. It's embarrassing. What was Wenger thinking about when he signed this guy? For someone who spotted Nicolas Anelka, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, he really had an off day bringing Santos to the club.

Brazilians are meant to be creative and skilful players. Somebody should really take a look at his passport.

2. Marouane Chamakh

The Moroccan striker arrived in the summer of 2010 on a free transfer but Arsenal may have to pay a potential suitor in order to get rid of him. Chamakh was never the deadliest of finishers in France. His best return in a season with Bordeaux was just 16, which he achieved in his final two years there. He's been at Arsenal almost two and a half years and he has only scored 14 times.

Chamakh has dropped right down the pecking order at Arsenal and has yet to make his Premier League bow this season. If Wenger can find anyone desperate enough to want him he should snap his hands off.

3. Gervinho

What is Gervinho? Is he a winger or a striker? Most Arsenal fans will question whether Gervinho is even a footballer. His decision making and final ball is that bad he makes Aaron Lennon look like the finished product.

The Ivory Coast striker cost Arsene Wenger £10.5 million in 2011 but was sent off on his debut and has only scored seven Premier League goals in 27 starts. The player with the worst receding hairline in living memory has left many an Arsenal fan tearing at their barnet with his poor displays.

If he could play a simple first-time ball to one of his colleagues instead of fannying around with the ball all the time he could be a hit. As it is I think Wenger should cut his loses and get rid.

4. Andrei Arshavin

The little Russian was billed as a future Arsenal superstar and when he scored those four goals against Liverpool at Anfield everyone thought Wenger had pulled another rabbit out of the hat. We all knew Arshavin had more tricks up his sleeve than David Copperfield, but nobody expected him to be so God-damn lazy when he lost the ball.

Arshavin had everything to succeed at the Emirates but, for whatever reason, he has missed the boat and Wenger should show him the door. Given the right encouragement, and played to his strengths, I believe Arshavin could still do a job for Arsenal, but it might be worth cashing in on the Russian while he still has some value.

5. Theo Walcott

The England winger may be Arsenal's top scorer this season but unless he signs a new contract Wenger should let him go. It's not the first time that Wenger has let his star man leave is it?

There's no denying Walcott's attacking threat. On his day he can terrify defenders with his pace and is arguably the best finisher at the club, but there are still plenty of people out there who claim he is a one-trick pony and should go. I personally think he is an asset to the team but there's no point in Wenger keeping him if he isn't going to be a regular in the starting XI.

Walcott hasn't made the Arsenal calendar for 2013 and I think a date with Liverpool or Chelsea could be on the cards. Selling the former Southampton man could turn out to be a huge mistake, but letting him leave in the summer for nothing would be an even bigger travesty.

Well they are the five players who I would sell in January, but there were plenty more who could have joined the list. If you were Arsene Wenger, which five players would you get rid of next month? Would you even like to see Wenger go?

Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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