Five things we learned about Arsenal after Swansea City defeat


Arsenal lost 2-1 to Swansea at the Emirates last night.


Joel Campbell must start at Tottenham

When Thierry Henry challenged Arsenal to end their reliance on Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez by scoring goals from other areas, he might've been referring to Theo Walcott. He might've been referring to Aaron Ramsey. He might've been referring to Mesut Ozil. He probably wasn't referring to Joel Campbell, but the Costa Rican winger stepped up nonetheless, opening the scoring in fine fashion and posting a brilliant performance which had as much steel as it did silk.

If there was a positive for Arsenal, it was Campbell, with the type of display that Sanchez was producing last season. His hunger and gritty determination put some of his more high-profile team-mates to shame. When he lost the ball, he'd immediately seek to retrieve it as if it was a family heirloom. It was the opposite of what Walcott turned in from that position at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Even his reaction to being inexplicably subbed by Arsene Wenger on 65 minutes was class. Understandably disappointed, but he remained professional and took his seat on the bench. Something is wrong if he is back on it at White Hart Lane.

Alexis Sanchez needs to be dropped

Form is temporary and class is permanent, but Arsenal can no longer afford to adhere to such adages if they are going to claw back this six-point deficit and win the title.

It's simple: Sanchez, at the moment, is far more of a hindrance than a help and the Gunners' title bid has undoubtedly been affected by Wenger's continued faith in him. Whether he's managing fresh-air kicks or passing straight out of play, the Chilean is affected by a crisis of confidence and allowing him to play through it isn't working.

In his defence, he did strike the woodwork on two occasions last night - although at least one of those was more a case of bad finishing rather than bad luck - but he remains a far cry from the 24-goal Sanchez who Arsenal fans fell in love with last season. He needs a rest, a step out of the spotlight and it should come at Spurs on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud needs to be replaced

Karim who? This was the reaction from Arsenal fans in the first half of the season when Giroud was scoring a lot of goals and helping to win a lot of points. Fast forward a few months and the France international is now costing his side valuable points at a crucial time. Wenger's refusal to sign a world-class hitman last summer looks as costly as ever, with Giroud - now 10 games without a goal - spurning a number of clear-cut chances last night.

He is simply too inconsistent, too prone to these lengthy barren spells, and if there was any doubt about his capacity to fire Arsenal to Premier League glory before, then he confirmed those suspicions after volleying against the crossbar from six yards out, at 1-1.

Aaron Ramsey continues to struggle

Arsenal supporters will have been delighted to see Santi Cazorla rubbish reports that he suffered a setback on the comeback trail from injury, insisting that his return date is still approximately April 1. Ramsey isn't doing the business in central midfield in Cazorla's absence anymore.

Initially, the Welshman looked to revel in the fact he was playing regularly in what is his favoured position, having started the season on the wing, but last night's defeat was a glaring reminder of how limited he is compared to the diminutive Spaniard. There is much more balance to the North Londoners when he is there, and they should improve markedly when the former Malaga man returns. Problem is, their season might well be over by the start of April.

Arsene Wenger isn't loved unconditionally, as fans reminded him - again

It's one of the most interesting love/hate relationships in English football: Wenger and the Arsenal fans. This time, they might not forgive him if their reaction to the full-time whistle, or Campbell's substitution, is anything to go by.

For both occasions, boos rang around the Emirates and only winning the Premier League title is likely to get them back on side. Failing to win it this season, of all seasons, is unforgivable, and the veteran French manager - who celebrates 20 years at Arsenal in September - would do well to re-earn that trust.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch