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Giroud, Ozil & Wilshere - The Arsenal stars feeling the mid-season heat

Olivier Giroud

Arsenal's 6-3 loss at Manchester City today was their second in four days - and some of the Gunners looked devoid of energy.

Arsenal may still sit top of the Premier League - but the cracks are starting to appear in their otherwise blistering start to the season.

A big week provided Arsene Wenger's men with the opportunity to set a benchmark for the rest of the campaign but the north London side have so far fallen flat, losing 2-0 at Napoli before today's 6-3 defeat at Manchester City.

Some Gunners, in particular, have looked more lacklustre than others and may be in need of some extended rest.

Olivier Giroud

Arsenal's only real danger in front of the midfield, Olivier Giroud has been under par in recent weeks.

It was never going to be easy leading the line for a club of Arsenal's stature all by himself for the duration of the season but the Frenchman has now gone five games in all competitions without scoring.

Now is when the Gunners' failure to sign a big-name striker in the summer is coming back to haunt them. Had Wenger been able to call upon anyone other than a more-than-disappointing Nicklas Bendtner, 27-year-old Giroud could have been afforded more of a break between big games.

As things stand, however, Giroud is being used a little more often than he can manage - and he looked well below par today.

Mesut Ozil

The £42 million price tag on Mesut Ozil's head has made him subject to a disproportionate amount of criticism whenever he fails to produce magic.

If the Germany international does not score or assist a goal, fans and critics alike gasp in shock horror, providing an unfair atmosphere by anyone's standards.

But the 25-year-old has indeed looked short of form in recent weeks, especially today at the Etihad Stadium.

Ozil's passing was surprisingly wayward, with the German even giving the ball directly to Fernandinho for his first goal.

And then there was that episode at the end, where Per Mertesacker gave him a good telling off for not applauding the Arsenal fans...

Jack Wilshere

Another Gunner to lack any sort of rhythm or urgency against City was Jack Wilshere - and this is not the first time the 21-year-old has underachieved this season.

At such a young age, Wilshere carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. But Arsenal fans will be expecting a lot more from the England midfielder in games to come.

Against Manuel Pellegrini's side, Wilshere looked off the pace and short of match sharpness, despite the fact that he was rested for Arsenal's trip to Napoli in midweek.

City's David Silva and Yaya Toure, meanwhile, made the Gunners midfielder look mediocre. And if Wenger's side are to get a much-needed result against Chelsea next time around, Wilshere - along with Ozil and Giroud - will need to up his game or consider asking to sit out.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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