Sanchez, The Ox, and Podolski's 88mm gun

Arsenal [ahr-suh-nl] noun: 1. An English football team based in London, England 2. The main source of stress of millions of its fan base, foreign and domestic 3. The direct relative of inconsistency.

Yes, that was a made up definition, and yes all of that rings true over the years...especially this year.  It really does boggle the mind that a club of such prowess (well, supposed prowess anyway) who on paper have a very good side, can produce scintillating football one minute, and the next be more akin to a Sunday pub side that hails from the Faroe Islands.

If it's one thing above all else that a side looking to truly challenge needs, it's consistent form - sure you can lose a match or two, but consistency is not just results on paper, it's how you play on the whole.  Win, lose, or draw, if you're playing well and you happen to just get bested on the day, then credit to your opponent as long as you continue to play well.  Arsenal have clearly not renewed their subscription to that particular publication this season, but as the season draws closer to the halfway point and our players continue to come back to us fit, it's not too late to hit the ground running as soon as possible.
Tuesday's result cannot plaster over the many cracks, but we can all hope it's the stepping stone we have desperately needed
I will be the first to admit that I have been increasingly negative this season as each week passed, though truthfully, could you really blame me?  So it is with great pleasure that I come to you this time around with a piece that contains hope and positivity - I sincerely hope I don't regret this.

With Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny (though he has a bit of a fresh injury concern) back in the side, having our cadre of preferred players being re-introduced into the fold, or at least close to a full return, is a welcome early Christmas present.  However, despite the timely reinforcements, Arsene Wenger needs to strongly consider keeping faith in a few select players who could very well have a profound impact as the season trudges on - Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Lukas Podolski.

There is not much more I can say about our Chilean spark-plug that hasn't already been stated.  Beyond his brilliant technical ability, his work rate is second to none at the club, but he also brings a desire to win and an ability to make something out of nothing that Arsenal have not had since Robin van Persie at least, if not for longer.
Sanchez underwhelmed at the Britannia, but he's easily been our best player this season
If you would have asked me my honest opinion about Sanchez in the summer after his brilliant World Cup performances, I would have told you that I would love to have him, but that we did not need him - far more pressing matters needed to be addressed, and still do...we all know what those are so there is no need to delve into them yet again.  But what I will say is that it is funny how a luxury can turn into a necessity given a certain set of circumstances, and that is exactly what Sanchez has been for us this season - without him in our ranks this season, we'd surely be sitting somewhere between 10th and 12th in the table, if not worse.

They key for the club, and Sanchez for that matter, is that Le Prof finally begins to understand the finer art of squad rotation, else he'll likely be completely spent come February with nothing left in the tank to give.  Top players such as him will always be crucial, but if he is expected to keep up the influential performances, his batteries certainly need to recharge every now and then.  Joel Campbell may not have been stellar against Galatasaray, but against a bottom side, giving him a run out and Sanchez a break surely won't hurt us too's an option we need to consider, if for no other reason than to keep Sanchez ready and raring to go in the bigger fixtures.

The Ox has been one of our best players in the last month or two, really stepping into the breach in the absence of Walcott and truly taking hold of his increased playing time, vindicating the sentiment of many who have been clamoring for the England international to have an increase in his importance in the first-team.  But it may have been his performance in the center of midfield against Galatasaray in midweek that could be they key to his continue involvement over the next few months.
With our injury list being a longer read than War and Piece, the Ox has stepped up for the club in a huge way 
It was Wenger himself that once stated that he saw Chamberlain as a central midfielder in the long term - powerful on and off the ball, able to work hard to win it back as well as drive us forward, unafraid to have a crack at goal from distance...these are all attributes that we could use in the center of the park.  Alongside Aaron Ramsey on Tuesday evening in Istanbul, the midfield pairing bossed our Turkish opponents in a display where they helped one another bring the best out of themselves.  Considering Jack Wilshere is out for three months, Mikel Arteta also sidelined and Abou Diaby most likely fit sometime after 2016, it may be the center of the park where Chamberlain see's the majority of his time moving forward, especially with Walcott coming back into the fold in the near future.

As for Lukas Podolski, the German international's two goal performance provided further proof that he indeed should be relied upon far more often.  Already lauded as the best finisher at the club (even Wenger stated as such), his ruthless left foot and ability to bulge the back of the net at crucial junctures makes him invaluable.  Danny Welbeck has been misfiring as of late, making quite a few people question his continued inclusion, while Olivier Giroud is the foremost specialist we have when it comes to inconsistency - that is not to say that Giroud does not have parts to his game that are invaluable, he certainly does, but he is not a killer.

Lukas? that you...?
The beauty of Podolski is his willingness to score one at the club apart from Alexis Sanchez maintains that character trait.  Both Welbeck and Giroud often subscribe to our usual passing around the box for 90minutes, and while I do not think Podolski should play the lone striker role, using him out on the left more often gives us something different - someone willing to pick his head up, look at goal and put one on frame nearly every time he has even an inkling of space.  If not for anything else, when you have a top class finisher who almost certainly will literally put a ball straight through the net, you must allow his abilities to be woven into our tactical fabric.

For so many, it surely is the variety of football that makes it the beautiful game.  For years, Arsenal have been a one trick pony...same tactics, same game plan, same passing around the box for an hour, and the same first-team selection despite Wenger routinely going on about our strength in depth that he refuses to use.  Maybe what we need in the coming months is something "out of the box" by our standards...fielding a side that is multi-faceted, able to cope with different scenarios it is bound to come across.

Whether Podolski begins to start more matches, if Ox is used centrally our out wide, or if Sanchez is rested or not, these three players can have/will continue to have a very big role to play as the season rolls on.  Perhaps what is needed above all else, is for Wenger to put a little faith where faith is due.  So here is hoping that Tuesday's result helps the boys find that bit of self belief, but also hoping that Wenger realizes he can truly believe and rely in all his players.

Andrew Thompson is a contributing writer at both The Modern Gooner and Outside of the Boot - feel free to follow him on Twitter @AFCBvB1410