The inconsistency from Arsenal this season thus far has been nothing short of concerning. We sit at a dismal 11th, registering 4 wins and 4 losses after 8 games.
Let’s be real, we are NOT a Champions league quality side, but to go 4 league games without an open play goal is a huge concern. People will point to us not being clinical at times and whilst that does hold some merit, we create so little that every single chance missed becomes a major talking point.
There have been games we won in the past when we weren’t clinical, for example the 2-0 victory we took against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed couple good chances early on. But what transpired after that was us creating enough to win the game, something we have struggled to do on a consistent basis.
The Community shield victory against Liverpool and the 3-0 win against a Fulham side fighting for relegation gave us a false sense of where we were as a team early on in the season. We’re a team that are extremely one dimensional going forward. It is the same repeated patterns which on most occasions lead to a cross for a 5 foot 9 inch striker who is nowhere near clinical enough in front of goal.
Arteta will say we become better if we practice the same pass sequences over and over again, but that could also be insanity, as Albert Einstein defines ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’
The team has massive holes, it is something we have known all along. The summer window wasn’t enough. We did well to bring in Gabriel and Partey, but bringing in just Willian to solve our creative issues, hardly anything was going to change. Not being able to land Houssem Aouar was a big miss.
We need at least 2 creative players who are ready to come in and perform at a good level and a centre forward, if Arteta wants to continue deploying Aubameyang outwide. But having said that, there are internal solutions worth exploring that can limit the damage in the short term, at least.
Lacazette is simply not good enough to be a Premier league starter for Arsenal in 2020. He holds us back in multiple ways. Firstly, Aubameyang is the superior striker. Secondly, he’s slow, weak in holding off his man and extremely static in situations when he should be making a run. Worst of all, he isn’t clinical enough – to put things into perspective, he has a worse goalscoring record for us than Olivier Giroud who was criticized for not being efficient enough in front of goal himself.
Move Aubameyang to centre forward. PLEASE MIKEL.
Willian has some good qualities despite the criticism he gets, but we need more dynamism and Nicolas Pepe offers that in abundance. Arteta is correct when he says the Ivorian needs to improve in certain aspects of the game, especially in the build-up phase, but he gets you goals and assists and has the moment of brilliance in him – he must absolutely be starting for us and deserves a run.
On the left hand side, the flair and inventiveness of Reiss Nelson is something our team desperately lacks and adding him, Auba and Pepe gives us the best possible balance to our frontline in my opinion. Nelson is excellent at making himself available in the half spaces and has the ability to really drive with the ball and help us make openings.
The midfield is currently extremely flat. Thomas Partey has box to box characteristics, but far from a consistent final third player. Once again, we must trust youth to give us a better balance. Add in Joe Willock there and one of Xhaka, Ceballos or Saka depending upon the game. At this moment in time, I am open to Saka playing outwide or being rested for a while considering he’s been overplayed at times.
The defending yesterday wasn’t good at all, but that was a one-off under Arteta. I don’t think we’re going to see that type of defensive display anytime soon. Having said that, the William Saliba situation infuriates me. He’s more than good enough to play in our first team. When I see a player like Fofana thriving, it really makes me question why Saliba is being frozen out like this. He can add value and develop at the same time.
I would love to see something like this. Saka in rotation with Nelson/Pepe and Ceballos in rotation with one of Willock or Xhaka depending on the game.
Moving Aubameyang to centre forward and trusting young players like Willock and Nelson who can give us a better balance is imperative. Arteta must stop trusting Willian and Lacazette, be bold and drop them. We cannot have one set of rules for them and another set of rules for someone like Pepe. In football, balance is everything. Whilst we are rigid in our structure at times, it can work much better with different personnel. I completely back Mikel to turn it around, but we need to see a change and fast! COYG.