Harry Redknapp feels Arsenal could come up short in their title bid if duo Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are both absent from the team for long periods, The Telegraph report.
The former Portsmouth boss felt the Gunners picked up a decent point away at Stoke City following their 0-0 draw, yet highlighted their lack of quality in the final third without duo Sanchez and Ozil.
In their absence, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell provided the creativity and Redknapp questions whether those three have enough about them to lead the team to the title.
“Arsenal need to get Ozil and Sanchez back, the performance at Stoke highlights the fact you can’t lose your two best players at the same time and not suffer for it,” he explained.
“Without Ozil and Sanchez, Arsenal lacked sparkle in the final third, it was all a bit pedestrian. When I look at players like Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I’m still waiting for them to get going.”
“The title race is wide open. I haven’t looked at either Manchester City or Arsenal in the last few weeks and though “phwoaar, what a fantastic side. They have both stumbled at various stages of the season.”
Alexis Sanchez has been absent from the side after picking up a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City in early December, though he could in action be back next weekend.
The Chile international is such an important figure for the Gunners, yet this season he has arguably been overshadowed by Mesut Ozil who to date has three goals in 16 league assists to his name.
The German World Cup winner is currently nursing an ankle injury, and his absence against Stoke was felt as the visitors lacked inventiveness and drive in the final third.
The duo are vitally important figures for Arsene Wenger, yet the same could also be said of Petr Cech, Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.
At full strength the North London side have all the attributes needed to win the title, yet the destination of the trophy may well depend on which team manages to stay relatively injury free.