Pressure mounts on Arteta but where can the Spaniard find the solutions to his Arsenal problems?

Pressure mounts on Arteta but where can the Spaniard find the solutions to his Arsenal problems?

Arteta’s problems

Arsenal have not scored a goal from open play since Nicolas Pepe’s strike against Sheffield United. Mikel Arteta’s side were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa Sunday evening and the continual creativity drought plagued the Gunners.

Under Unai Emery, Arsenal were defensively frail but Aubameyang still achieved a golden boot in the Spaniard’s first season. This season, Aubameyang has not scored a goal from open play since game week one against Fulham.

Playing on the left presents a fair argument as to why the club captain is not firing so frequently, however the 31-year-old has played in the role often and successfully. Alexandre Lacazette sits top of Arsenal’s league scoring charts despite being is terrible form. The Frenchman missed another clear-cut chance against the west-midlands club.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts after a missed chance during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts after a missed chance during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on November 08, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Questions are beginning to mount despite Arteta’s achievement of breaking the Gunners’ abject away form against top-6 opposition with the win at Old Trafford. The clear lack of central creativity will always fall back to the ‘football reasons‘ cited for Mesut Ozil’s omission from the Premier League squad.

With an overreliance on wide areas for insertion, Arsenal have become predictable. Whilst the crossing, notably from Kieran Tierney, has been good, the style of the team seems akin to an Arsenal side needing Olivier Giroud rather than their current roster of striking talent.

Arteta, still a very young and inexperienced manager, has a huge task of galvanising the dressing room, lifting heads and finding solutions to the problems so apparent in his side’s performances.

Arteta’s solutions

The first thing Arteta needs to address is the lack of clinical finishing in the final third. Lacazette has been given countless opportunities to play himself into form. However, the Frenchman has failed to do so and Arteta should, rightly, look to give others an opportunity.

Aubameyang presents the obvious central candidate, however, it is not just that simple. For the 31-year-old to be effective, he needs service. Crossing, despite its quality, is not how the Gabonese forward operates best. Either being played in behind or, when facing a low block, given poaching chances with low cut-back moves and driven low crosses. Which are both possible through Arsenal’s width.

Centrally, the side is barren. Ozil is not returning, so where can the Gunners gain momentum? Joe Willock’s performances in the Europa League have brought with them goals and even creativity. Not included in the matchday squad against Villa, it was disappointing for the youngster not be rewarded for his display.

Whilst still raw, providing the likes of Willock a route through reward will be key to squad morale and motivation. Qualities which are certainly lacking in their current form.

Pressure mounts on Arteta but where can the Spaniard find the solutions to his Arsenal problems?

Arsenal’s Joe Willock celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Group B match at the Emirates Stadium, London. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Whilst Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey’s partnership at United suited the game, Arteta needs to be versatile. Dani Ceballos could provide the more agile partner to Partey who, when taken off, was badly missed. The Spaniard tried to make things happen through the middle but to little effect without further midfield personnel.

Trusting the defence sounds naïve but could unleash Arsenal’s attacking potential. The fluidity of the Arsenal side, mainly through Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the left, has added defensive security but removed offensive guile.

By putting faith in Arsenal’s left of Tierney and Gabriel, who have been arguably the side’s best players this season, means Saka can be set free further upfield. Be that in a wide position or behind the striker, Saka can be hugely creative and has been in the past.

Finally, the Willian experiment may have to be paused. The Brazilian’s only solidly offensive performance came on the opening day. Nicolas Pepe, whilst out of form also, represents a significant investment and has shown some goalscoring form in Europe. He needs game time, and the Europa League whilst good for confidence, will not develop him sufficiently.

Arteta has two weeks to work out what he is going to do before the trip to Leeds. Further dropped points there will begin to add real traction to the argument against his tenure.

See also: Lille president believes Arsenal yet to see best of Nicolas Pepe amid claims Gunners have opened investigation into transfer


This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Southampton vs Arsenal odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers

Southampton vs Arsenal Full time result
Southampton
11/5
Draw
12/5
Arsenal
5/4
Southampton vs Arsenal Result/Both teams score Yes No
Southampton 5/1 9/2
Arsenal 7/2
Draw 10/3 9/1
Southampton vs Arsenal Correct Score
Southampton
Arsenal
Southampton vs Arsenal Goalscorers First Last Anytime
Danny Ings7/4 7/4 6/5
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang7/4 7/4 6/5
Alexandre Lacazette21/10 21/10 5/4
Eddie Nketiah9/4 9/4 7/5
Folarin Balogun3/1 3/1 2/1

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester United FC 19 11 40
2 Manchester City FC 18 18 38
3 Leicester City FC 19 14 38
4 Liverpool FC 19 15 34
5 Tottenham Hotspur FC 18 16 33
6 Everton FC 17 7 32
7 West Ham United FC 19 5 32
8 Aston Villa FC 17 13 29
9 Chelsea FC 19 10 29
10 Southampton FC 18 5 29
11 Arsenal FC 19 4 27
12 Leeds United 18 -4 23
13 Crystal Palace FC 19 -11 23
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 19 -8 22
15 Burnley FC 18 -12 19
16 Newcastle United FC 19 -14 19
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 19 -7 17
18 Fulham FC 18 -12 12
19 West Bromwich Albion 19 -28 11
20 Sheffield United FC 19 -22 5
Premier League 20/21
Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 7
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 6
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