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The key issue Arsenal must address in order to properly challenge for Champions League place

The key issue Arsenal must address in order to properly challenge for Champions League place

Arsenal downed by Manchester United

Arsenal would face a trip to Old Trafford for a clash with bitter rivals Man United on Thursday evening.

The visitors headed into the game having bounced back from their 4-0 loss to Liverpool by beating Newcastle 2-0 this past weekend.

Mikel Arteta’s men, though, came up short once again in gameweek 14, against a United side undergoing a period of managerial change.

Things got off to a good start for Arsenal when Emile Smith Rowe fired into an open goal as David de Gea lay on the ground injured.

Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo then put United ahead, before Martin Odegaard drew the score level after 54 minutes of action.

Odegaard quickly went from hero to villain, though, fouling Fred late in the tie to hand United a penalty, which CR7 scored to earn the home side all three points.

Arsenal must fix key issue

The loss to Manchester United showcases a rather big issue Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have.

The Gunners have, for the most part, been in solid form this season and have looked dominant in several games.

But, as soon as they face one of the traditional big clubs, they seem to crumble.

They would lose to Chelsea in gameweek two by two goals to nil – a scoreline that could have easily been higher.

This was followed by a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City and a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool.

Then, despite Man United experiencing a period of change at the club, Arteta’s Arsenal still lost to them 3-2.

The only ‘top-six’ side Arsenal have beaten this season is Tottenham who, let’s face it, were in awful form and probably do not even deserve their spot in the ‘top-six’ anyway.

So, if Arsenal do what to start challenging for the top-four and silverware again, it is clear their record against the big sides must improve because, whilst it is all well and good performing well against the midtable and relegation-threatened sides, the top sides generally need to have a half-decent record against one another.

This is not to say Arsenal need to win every game against Chelsea, Liverpool, etc, but losing by an aggregate scoreline of 11-0 against the current top-three is obviously not good enough.

Herein lies the key problem though, how do Arsenal improve their record against better sides?

Do they need more quality players? Do the players they have need more experience? Does Mikel Arteta need to change his approach in the big games?

These are questions the Spaniard must answer, preferably sooner rather than later, if Arsenal truly want to become a top-four club again.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
6 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
7 Manchester United 21 5 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Leicester City 19 -3 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 22 -11 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11

Premier League 21/22

Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6