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Arsenal face crucial decisions before the transfer window shuts… who is a key player, who is on the brink, and who should go as soon as possible?

Following their appalling performance in the 4-0 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday, Arsenal’s squad has been roundly criticised.

Pundit and former England international Gary Neville was among the most scathing, saying he would put every Gunners player on the transfer list.

He said: ‘Forget not turning up, forget not playing well but just the general attitude or lack of respect for the shirt from three or four of them in not running back and not bothering is disgraceful.’

Anger came from Arsenal heroes too, with Thierry Henry saying: ‘I wanted to leave the stadium. I don’t relate with this team. I am not surprised. I was expecting this. Stagnation.’

The question for Arsenal is which of their first team players should stay to fight this season, which should be allowed to leave before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

Here, Sportsmail judges which first team players are key men and useful squad members, who is on the brink of going and who should be sold as soon as possible, along with a rating out of 10…

GOALKEEPERS

Petr Cech

His best days are most likely behind him and there are occasional errors, but Cech remains a commanding and respected figure at the back. Without him at Liverpool, it could have been seven or eight.

KEY MAN, 8/10

David Ospina

As long as he is happy to remain back-up, Arsenal should keep the Colombian international on board – but will need another No 1 when Cech goes.

SQUAD PLAYER, 6/10

DEFENDERS

Mathieu Debuchy

He played 16 minutes of first team football last season and was on loan at Bordeaux before that. The fact he is happy to stay at a club where he is unwanted says a lot about his character.

NOT NEEDED, 1/10

Kieran Gibbs

Has not grown into the next Ashley Cole as Arsene Wenger will have hoped. Seems likely to leave this week with Watford interested.

NOT NEEDED, 2/10

Per Mertesacker

His performance in the FA Cup final, after a year out injured, showed the kind of guts the Gunners were badly lacking at Anfield. No longer the totemic presence he once was, but a very useful back-up ahead of his 2018 retirement.

7/10, SQUAD PLAYER

Laurent Koscielny

Caught badly out of position for Liverpool’s fourth goal. Koscielny has a habit of picking up red cards at the worst times, hardly ideal for the captain. At the age of 31, his time at the top looks limited.

ON THE BRINK, 5/10

Rob Holding

Few players have seen their standing fall so fast as Holding – at the start of the campaign he was the future of the defence and an England international in waiting; now he is being compared to Pascal Cygan. Must improve or could be farmed out on loan.

ON THE BRINK, 4/10

Nacho Monreal

Well liked by Arsenal fans and the model of consistency – but only if played at left back, rather than being forced into an unsuited central role.

SQUAD PLAYER, 7/10

Shkodran Mustafi

Last year signed from Valencia for £35m to be the future of the Gunners defence; after an average year he looks set to be shipped on loan to Inter Milan. There is a sense, though, he is no worse than several players set to stay.

NOT NEEDED, 3/10

Calum Chambers

While he managed to come out of a loan spell at Middlesbrough last season with reputation intact – despite Boro’s relegation – Chambers is only on the fringes of teh Arsenal first team. A reasonable bid will likely see Arsenal sell.

ON THE BRINK, 5/10

Hector Bellerin

At times he looks like one of the world’s best attacking wing backs. At others he looks like a man-bunned fool with only a vague idea of how to play football. At 22, however, Arsenal must fight to keep him.

KEY PLAYER, 9/10

Sead Kolasinac

Why he was left on the bench against Liverpool is a mystery. Very impressive in the Community Shield, and unlike Monreal he seems to have the physicality needed to play at centre back, albeit occasionally.

KEY PLAYER, 8/10

MIDFIELDERS

Aaron Ramsey

His failure to track back against Liverpool played a part in their first two goals. He is better suited to a more attacking role, but may find those opportunities limited under the current management.

ON THE BRINK, 4/10

Jack Wilshere

It looks as though it may finally be time to cut loose and seek a new challenge. The injuries continue to mount, and though the red card in the U23s against Manchester City was unfortunate, an underwhelming loan at Bournemouth shows he is not good enough for Arsenal.

NOT NEEDED, 3/10

Mesut Ozil

Ozil has created 57 assists in 164 games for Arsenal, including 19 in the 2015/16 league campaign. This shows, on his day, he is one of the world’s best midfielders – but as the plentiful memes on Sunday evening show, when he is off form he is worse than a passenger.

KEY PLAYER, 8/10

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

For the Ox, read Monreal’s entry. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a terrific player if used in the right way. He can play left wing back as he has natural ability, but he is never going to display his best qualities.

SQUAD PLAYER, 7/10

Santi Cazorla

As we approach the one year anniversary of Cazorla’s last Arsenal game – ankle surgery in October 2016 was only supposed to keep him out until Christmas at the worst – his standing at the club has increased as his team mates fail. He is unlikely to be the answer to Wenger’s problems however.

ON THE BRINK, 4/10

Granit Xhaka

Perhaps it was because he arrived as the player Arsenal fans had been asking Wenger for years to get – and he cost £40m – but Xhaka’s spell in England has been underwhelming. This season could be defining.

SQUAD PLAYER, 6/10

Francis Coquelin

The sighs of disappointment when it was announced he was coming on for Ramsey at Liverpool were telling. Another first team player who simply does not seem cut out for a supposedly title-challenging side.

NOT NEEDED, 2/10

Mohamed Elneny

Possibly the least glamourous player in the Arsenal squad, Elneny at least gives 100 per cent in every fixture. At 25 there is potential to improve in the more considered defensive midfield role too.

SQUAD PLAYER, 6/10

FORWARDS

Alexis Sanchez

His return on Sunday was supremely underwhelming, his smirk on the subs bench unwelcome. Yet if he was sold, Arsenal would be severely weakening themselves and potentially strengthening a rival. Get him fit, happy and firing, and the Gunners should be thinking of the top four again.

KEY PLAYER, 9/10

Alexandre Lacazette

A debut goal against Leicester, a goal unluckily ruled out against Stoke – benched versus Liverpool. The £50m man could score a hatful this season but needs time to fully adapt to the Premier League.

KEY PLAYER, 9/10

Olivier Giroud

There are few better back-ups in the Premier League. Fans of Everton and Southampton would kill to have him in their team, but if he is happy to fight for his spot, Arsenal should not take the money.

KEY PLAYER, 8/10

Theo Walcott

The fact Walcott still has his searing pace at 28 is impressive and commendable, but given he is clearly better on the wings than through the middle, the 3-4-3 formation does not suit him. He could risk missing the World Cup – again – unless he gets more game time.

SQUAD PLAYER, 7/10

Alex Iwobi

There is a frustrating lack of end product with Iwobi – 11 assists in 61 career games is not terrible, but given his ability should be higher. At 21, Arsenal should persist for now, or at least send him on loan.

SQUAD PLAYER, 6/10

Danny Welbeck

Has started every game this season as Wenger shows his faith now the England international is recovered from his injury nightmare – but is he better than Sanchez, Lacazette and Giroud? In any case, he provides very useful competition –

SQUAD PLAYER, 7/10

Lucas

It’s not working out. Injuries at bad times cost him in his first year, and though he had a handy return in the cups, Arsenal should look at selling the 28-year-old and give more chances to younger talent like Chuba Akpom

NOT NEEDED, 2/10

 

 

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