Arsenal had to come back from behind twice as they secured a hard-fought 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. The Gunners didn’t look comfortable at all in any department and looked quite clueless, at times. And despite clinching all three points, manager Unai Emery won’t certainly be happy with the performance.
In this article, we will discuss three mistakes Arsenal made against Aston Villa.
Playing out from the back
It was surprising, at the very least, to see Emery persisting with the idea of playing out from the back. While the Spaniard’s attacking approach does revolve around the efficiency regarding the build-up play, it may not be a good idea given the current state of the Arsenal defence.
Both David Luiz and Sokratis have evidently struggled to play out from the back. Sokratis, in particular, lacks the composure on the ball and almost none of his forward passes are effective. The Greek international notably made the error that led to Watford pulling one goal back last weekend.
Luiz, too, hasn’t been great as far as passing in between the lines are concerned. Hence, Emery should employ a different approach if Arsenal are to concede fewer goals in the future.
Playing Maitland-Niles at right-back
Ainsley Maitland-Niles did an excellent job of deputising for the injured Hector Bellerin in the right wing-back slot last season. But, his lack of efficiency in that role has been rather evident, and it was one of Arsenal’s biggest weaknesses in the game against Aston Villa.
Despite being a winger, Maitland-Niles lacks quality on the ball. But most importantly, he is not a good defender at all, which allowed both Anwar El Ghazi and Jack Grealish to run rings around the Arsenal defensive third. Not to mention, the defender committed himself into an unnecessary challenge that led to his sending off.
Playing Xhaka in midfield
It’s about time Arsenal should move on Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international has been the club’s first-choice midfielder ever since arriving from Borussia Monchengladbach. But, he has never been able to add more quality into the side.
Against Aston Villa, Xhaka looked out of place against the likes of John McGinn and Grealish. His dynamism of the Villa duo was enough to outclass the Arsenal midfielder, whose presence in midfield was almost untraceable.
Emery should really put his faith on someone else in midfield. While Matteo Guendouzi is likely to remain as a first-team regular, Lucas Torreira makes a strong case. The Uruguayan made a nice impact after coming on as a substitute against Villa.
While Arsenal’s victory against Aston Villa was indeed something that papered the cracks, it’s time Emery makes these changes as otherwise, we could very well see a new manager at Arsenal by the end of this year.
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