This has been a disappointing season for Arsenal to say the least, and going into matchday 24, they currently sit 11th place in the Premier League table, 8 points back of a Europa League spot. Before the start of the season, Arsenal’s goal must have been a top four position or top six worst case, but at the moment, they’re in the bottom half of the table. How have things gotten to so out of control at the Emirates? We’ll take an in depth look at where Arsenal is falling short. .
Playing a man down
It’s hard to win games when you’re playing a man down and nobody knows this better than Arsenal. The Gunners have been shown 5 red cards this season, that is more than any club playing in the top division. Their averaging a red card every 5th game. The timing of these red cards is even worse – one game Arsenal received a card in the 72nd minute. Arsenal have played a combined 148 minutes with a man down this season while, understandably, only picking 2 of a possible 12 points from those games.
Many will argue that some of the red cards handed out have been harsh (the David Luiz sending off vs Wolves comes to mind), but they are putting themselves in bad positions defensively that cause these bookings. The offenders aren’t the youngsters of the squad either, it’s the experienced players who are letting the team down. More communication at the back and better reading of the play will help even the odds, because Arsenal won’t end up where they want to be if they keep playing a man down.
Partey Not Enough
Arsenal’s transfer business has been mediocre at best since Mikel Arteta has taken over as manager at the Emirates. The biggest signing the Gunners made this season has been Thomas Partey from Athletico Madrid who they landed in the summer. I admit, I’m a fan of this player and believe he can make a difference for Arsenal but he cannot do it alone.
Another move Arteta made was a free transfer for Brazilian winger, Willian. At first glance, a move for the former Chelsea man seemed like a great move, but this transfer has led nowhere. Willian has no goals or assists in 17 Premier League appearances so far this year. This obviously isn’t good enough for any player in the league, even if he did arrive to the club for free.
The moves Arsenal made in the January window were mostly outgoing players (most notably the Mesut Ozil saga finally coming to an end), but they did bring in a very interesting name from Real Madrid. Martin Odegaard has arrived at the Emirates on loan for the rest of the season and the Norwegian should bring a lot of creativity to the midfield. Odegaard had a successful loan spell at La Liga side Real Sociedad last season, and if he can find that form again, he could be a force going forward.
Arsenal continues to go after non proven players at a bargain price, hoping that they hit a home run on a cheap deal. The Partey signing should give Arsenal fans hope and if Odegaard is in form, results may start to go their way.
Ups and Downs
The biggest problem for Arsenal this season has been their consistency. The Gunners have not been able to put 3 league wins together this season, and for a team with the ambition that Arsenal have, this is a must. I get the fact that Arsenal is playing in the toughest domestic league in the world, while also playing in multiple cup competitions, but this is why transfers are key to ensurethat the squad depth is there to compete.
Incredibly, Arsenal have put in back-to-back 7 Premier league game streaks. Starting in early November, the Gunners went on a 7-game winless run that saw them drop as low as 15th, but they immediately followed that up with a 7-game unbeaten streak!
Europa League or Bust
Arsenal’s next opponent is newly promoted Leeds United, and following that they play Benfica in the first leg of the Europa League’s round of 32. The Gunners NEED to start putting wins together and doing it quickly if they have any hope of saving their season.
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