Neil Humphreys: Only front three can save Wenger
Oezil, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan must wake up and deliver
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be regretting joining the free-falling Gunners.
Arsenal's latest signings thought they were moving for a career boost.
How naive they were.
They're trying to save what's left of their manager's career.
Right now, the pair are standing over a flatlining Arsene Wenger, holding defibrillators and frantically looking for a pulse.
His livelihood, legacy and whatever's left of his reputation depends upon how Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and the mercurial Mesut Oezil perform in the coming weeks, starting with Manchester City tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
No one else on the Arsenal staff can be trusted, least of all the manager.
Wenger's ability to balance the books appeases the boardroom. But he's lost the dressing room. Familiarity has bred contempt.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright speaks of players turning up late for training, if at all.
Speaking on BBC radio, Wright revealed that squad members are being fetched from home and driven to training to ensure their attendance.
Discipline has left the building. The lunatics are running the Emirates, counting down what's left of another lifeless season while counting the properties in their real estate portfolios.
Gary Neville's raging analysis about lazy Gunners "walking" rather than running might have sounded like a deranged audition for the next James Bond villain, but his overriding point was valid.
Arsenal players appear immune to prosecution. They are neither disciplined nor dropped. Wenger has lost control.
Aubameyang must already be yearning for those halcyon days in Dortmund, where every game wasn't a crisis and his manager wasn't always being sacked in the morning.
He looked a haunted man at Wembley, starved of service in the League Cup final against Manchester City and wondering where the hell he was.
Aside from an early chance, his impact was negligible.
The Gabon international was obviously rusty, having been ineligible for the two Europa League matches against Ostersunds, but his lack of involvement was alarming.
He managed just 19 touches, less than any other outfield player.
Ironically, Aubameyang is the kind of traditional No.9 that Arsenal have sorely needed.
But he's struggling to fit in a Wenger formation that doesn't suit a traditional No.9.
Check the heat maps of both Arsenal and City at Wembley. The Gunners treated their opponents' penalty box as if it were a minefield. They were never in it. Aubameyang and the match ball were like passing ships in the night.
Of course, Mkhitaryan was cup-tied and Oezil was largely anonymous, but the old Bundesliga trio haven't really featured for Arsenal, collectively, since they delivered in the 5-1 drubbing of Everton.
Mkhitaryan recently insisted that the team could accommodate two No. 10s - with the Armenian and Oezil side by side - but there's little evidence to support his claim.
Both were lacklustre bystanders in the defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. Mkhitaryan picked up a couple of assists in the first leg against Ostersunds, but was a minor character in the dreadful return fixture.
And Oezil's perceived lack of perspiration remains an eternal source of irritation among supporters. The German played the hippy drifter once more at Wembley.
His languid gait gives the unfortunate impression of a footballer struggling to contain his indifference, which might be unfair. But perception is everything when the team's performances are so poor.
And yet, it must be Oezil against City.
It must also be Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang.
The trio are blessed with the attacking savvy to genuinely test Pep Guardiola's cavaliers.
No one else in the Arsenal line-up comes close. Recent defeats in both the Europa League and the League Cup reiterated, once again, that Wenger's fading reputation rests with the worst defence of his entire era.
One of their most competent athletes, Nacho Monreal, will miss the City game through injury, leaving the rest of the ramshackle bunch to face the best in a generation.
The Gunners are misnomers. They are peashooters against heavy artillery, ill-equipped in both defence and midfield to sustain a credible challenge.
Their only hope is up front.
Oezil represents the one Arsenal virtuoso who wouldn't look out of place in City's squad, on his day. Aubameyang can justify his £56-million (S$103m) fee, on his day. Mkhitaryan also has the vision to find them both, on his day.
But their day must come tomorrow. Arsenal are out of alternatives. Only the three up front can save the one left behind in the dugout.