Arsenal suffered their second defeat of the new Premier League in as many number of games, when they lost 3-2 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Unai Emery was not handed a swift start to his debut season at the Emirates helm when the fixtures were announced a month back, as they had to kick off their campaign with games against Manchester City and Chelsea. The North Londoners have lost both of them and have looked far from convincing.
The Chelsea game offered something different though, as we saw both teams struggle at the back, but eventually Chelsea’s attacking prowess earned them 3 valuable points on the day.
But what does it mean for Arsenal and where do they have to improve? Let’s see:
1. Arsenal need to sort out their first choice midfield immediately
The Spanish gaffer has experimented with different formations and players in the middle of the park, but is yet to find a perfect solution to provide stability to the team.
Aaron Ramsey, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, and Lucas Torreira are the options in deep midfield for the Gunners’ boss, and while Xhaka has looked far from impressive, it is maybe time for the new boy Guendouzi to step in and take the responsibility, which he has shown in the recent games that he is capable of.
Ian Wright on Guendouzi: "The best thing I've seen in the 2 games vs City & Chelsea from this youngster is the kind of heart & spirit & drive & somebody who continuously wants the ball. He's driving, he's upset when things go wrong – I haven't seen that for ages at #Arsenal" pic.twitter.com/vcrus15W9O
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) August 21, 2018
Xhaka is good with the ball, but needs to work on his defensive duties protecting his defense well, and now that he is a contender for the captain’s armband, he needs to deliver by example.
Elneny hasn’t had minutes so far for Arsenal this season, and there are talks of him being sold before the International window shuts.
But the new signing Torreira has to be in the starting line-up as he is a complete midfielder who can help the team both defensively and going forward as well. My mind is tilting toward Ramsey-Torreira pivot behind Ozil, which can prove decisive as we link a box-to-box with a destroyer type. But both will have to perform, as the 19 year old Guendouzi is up for a fight.
2. Emery has to play Lacazette and Aubameyang together
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a poor show against Chelsea, and that can happen, but benching Lacazette won’t help in that case. Aubameyang has shown he can play out wide with Lacazette in the centre.
The Londoners will have both pace and precision combined with the needed finishing ability when both play together, with Ozil sliding the balls for them.
Both players are experienced strikers and Arsenal should be very happy that they have these two at their disposal in their attacking force. Both of them have shown in the past what they can deliver and there will surely be Goals galore when the two combine, and that will be a positive impact for the club in the ongoing season.
3. Ozil needs to step up and deliver big time
One cannot deny his outstanding abilities with the football, but he has not sparkled as expected yet in big games. Ozil, who recently signed a contract extension with Arsenal, has often been criticised by pundits about his poor work-rate off the ball and that he just shows flashes of brilliance.
But Ozil is Gooners’ fan-favourite and the fans want him to do well for the club. They want him to deliver with goals and assists and help the club in all possible way.
Ozil sent a huge statement, that he turned down big clubs in order to sign an extension with Arsenal when Alexis Sanchez left the club in January. But there are always question marks over his attitude and work ethic.
He still has good years ahead of him which he can give to Arsenal and win silverware with the club, but there is no denying the fact that he needs to perform regularly for the North London outfit and meet the expectations which the fans have bestowed upon him.
Emery on the West Ham game: "We are going to prepare for [West Ham] like we did for Manchester City & like we did for Chelsea. And we will continue to improve on things for next week" #Arsenal pic.twitter.com/jDYnCV4GNv
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) August 21, 2018
Now, it’s time for Arsenal to step up and collect the points as and when they come and have a decent run of fixtures for the same. They also need to address Aaron Ramsey’s contract situation which will definitely be a talking point in January. But for now, they just need to sort a few things and they will be ready for the challenge.