What’s been going wrong recently at Arsenal?


Unai Emery has been a hit if you ask most Arsenal fans so far this season. If you were to tell them after a couple of years after stagnation under Arsène Wenger that they would be 16 games unbeaten, they would have bitten your hand off.

It’s looking like a great job that the Spaniard has done revolutionising Arsenal’s midfield while also fine-tuning the Gunners already powerful front-line linking Alexandre Lacazette with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gunners seem to have their fight back and many have been quick to say that this new side look like they have the spirit and desire to get back into any game. This could have been a much different story after the opening two loses of the season against Manchester City and Chelsea.

Masters of drawing

However, despite all the good that is being done at the Emirates, some Arsenal fans have started to get frustrated with the club’s recent performances which have led to three draws in as many matches in the league.

The criticism from a small section of the fans has been that the novelty of drawing and remaining unbeaten will wear off if they continue in the same vein. Drawing with Liverpool and playing well is one thing but drawing with Crystal Palace is another.

With AFC Bournemouth, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham coming up before the end of the year, Arsenal must get three points in the majority of these matches or they could lose ground on Tottenham who are three points above them.

Starting Late

We’ve all got somewhere late, but it seems with Arsenal they can get away with being slow starters in a match. If you looked at the table based off the first half, then Arsenal would be 17th only outside the drop zone thanks to their goal difference.

The only other club not to have led half time in the Premier League is Cardiff. The North London side have been behind three times going into Emery’s team talk while being level at the break nine times.

Late substitutes have been the reason for the success this season but when the side have had to come from behind against sides that are resolute in defending like Wolves they’ve struggled.

If the top four is to become a possibility, Emery needs to find the right balance because as if some of the attackers were to stop scoring, then they could be out of the game by the time they are trying to get back in it.

Defensive Instability

One of the main problems that has been apparent for the London club since the start of the season is that the defence is still a work in progress.

This work in progress has conceded 15 in the league so far, which is only one less than AFC Bournemouth in sixth. This is five more than Tottenham their biggest rivals who’re currently occupying fourth place.

That quality centre-back still hasn’t been found at Arsenal, as Sokratis Papastathopoulos hasn’t been as good as fans expected though has shone in spells. His decision making has sometimes been a problem though his experience has been valuable.

Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding have become better at the back but due to the full back’s flying forward they are usually left open. With Lucas Torreira being the main cover of the two defenders, it works well but if Torreira isn’t around Arsenal leak goals. They’ve only kept two clean sheets in the league this season.

Lacking Squad Depth

The decision to play Granit Xhaka at left-back was a decision that caused a stir among the Arsenal faithful, but he got in because both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac were injured.

This isn’t Emery fault, but his team have a long-term history with injuries and when a couple of first-team options get injured then the team are forced into playing players that don’t fit the style just to make the numbers up.

Defensive midfield causes problems because if Uruguayan Torreira was to get injured then Xhaka would likely be the next best fit for the team defensively. The problem is that Mattéo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey the other option don’t defend as much, and even though Xhaka’s improving, the penalty that he gave away against Crystal Palace while playing left back indicates that he has far to go.

Interestingly after Danny Welbeck got that horrific ankle injury, both Lacazette and Aubameyang were also rumoured to be injured which will provide a huge test to see whether they can cope despite losing their strike partnership.

Though it looks like both attackers could be nursed back to health just in time for the Bournemouth game next Sunday, this could cause a selection dilemma with Eddie Nketiah being the only fit striker currently for when they face Eddie Howe’s side.



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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here: https://twitter.com/BrandonPrangell

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