Saturday, December 3, 2022

What Is Going Wrong At Arsenal And What Mikel Arteta They Can Do Turn It Around This Season

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal have restarted their Premier League campaign in the worst way possible, having slumped to back to back defeats against Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion. Manager Mikel Arteta has struggled to assert any sort of balance into the side following the return of football last week. As a result, their prospects are looking bleak for the remainder of the season.

In this article, we will discuss things that are going wrong at Arsenal and what Arteta can do to turn things around in the upcoming matches.

A long footballing hiatus

Arsenal were in a mesmerising run of form earlier this year, notably being the only club to remain unbeaten in English football. Before the restart, they were also coming on the back of a three-game winning streak in the Premier League. However, the three-month break from football due to Coronavirus seems to have taken a significant toll on the players.

Indeed, the Gunners have lost their focus and shape, especially in the defensive department, and it was evident in their performances in the last couple of matches.

Shkodran Mustafi, in particular, was arguably the best defender for Arsenal heading into the restart. But, the German produced a woeful display in the recent defeat to Brighton. He was not the only one, however, with players like Hector Bellerin and Pierre-Emecking Aubameyang also struggling to make their presence felt.

Fitness and lack of morale

Arsenal have undoubtedly struggled with the fitness of their key players over the past few years. This season, in particular, the likes of Kieran Tierney, Sead Kolasinac and even Lucas Torreira have missed a chunk of the campaign due to injury. While the first two of them are available at the moment, the lack of game-time has clearly seen them fail to impose themselves on the pitch.

things that that are going wrong at Arsenal - Tierney could play an essential role
Kieran Tierney of Arsenal in action during the UEFA Europa League group F match between Arsenal FC and Standard Liege at Emirates Stadium on October 03, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In addition to the fullbacks, key players like Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari have recently picked up serious-looking injuries, joining Sokratis Papastahopoulos and Calum Chambers on the sidelines. With David Luiz injured, it recently forced Arteta to start with Mustafi and Rob Holding in central defence.

Lack of creativity

While injuries and lack of football have played a key role in holding Arsenal back, the Gunners have also lacked inspiration and creativity from their players, especially in the attacking department.

The club’s creator-in-chief Mesut Ozil is yet to feature in a single game since the restart while Nicolas Pepe has not done anything much either aside from scoring a wondergoal against Brighton. As a result, the north London giants have appeared overreliant on the services of not just Aubameyang, but also Alexandre Lacazette, who impressed the onlookers with his brilliant combination play in the last game.

What can Mikel Arteta do to turn things around?

In times like these, time could be of the essence for Arsenal since there is no doubt that the Gunners might perform better once players like Tierney, Xhaka and Aubameyang start to get used to regular football. But Arteta must keep faith on experienced stars like Mustafi, Xhaka and even Luiz, who had been in good form earlier this year.

Tactically, Arsenal need to operate more centrally and create a narrow system where the likes of Saka, Lacazette and Aubameyang can effortlessly breach the opposing defences with their seemingly telepathic combination. Their next game against Southampton should give them an ideal opportunity to turn things around back in their favour this midweek.

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