Arsenal became the latest victims of Liverpool’s amazing run of form and a possible journey to the Premier League title. A 5-1 in the Liverpool Vs Arsenal game thumping at Anfield means that the Gunners missed their chance to climb to 4th place in the League table. Arsenal is now 2 points behind 4th placed Chelsea, who have played one game less than their city rivals.
The Christmas period fixtures has been tough for Arsenal. The men in red and white first saw their unbeaten run being ended by Tottenham, then a frustrating 1-1 draw at Briton and Hove Albion, and now a humiliating 5-1 loss to the potential champions.
Champions League qualification is the bare minimum for a club of this stature. Arsenal must address some major issues and build on its lessons from the Liverpool Vs Arsenal game if the club is to finish the season on a successful note.
Aubameyang has been in fantastic form in front of goal throughout the first half of the season. The Gabon international was, however, starved of any kind of real chance in front of goal against Liverpool. It is true that Liverpool’s defense did a commendable job in the Liverpool Vs Arsenal tie to keep the likes of Aubameyang and Ramsey quiet but the Gunners lack of creativity in the field must also be addressed.
Definitely a day to forget for Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang today.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 29, 2018
Ozil’s deteriorating relationship with the manager has cast a shadow of doubt over his Arsenal career. The German international is known mostly for his ability to pick a pass. There are not many players in the world with his vision and technical ability.
Arsenal attributed his absence from the Liverpool Vs Arsenal game to injury. However, speculations over his place in the team will continue until some concrete action is taken.
Mkhitaryan, another player who can add some creativity to the team, is also unavailable at the moment because of a broken metatarsal.
Emery must identify the team’s need for a creative midfielder and either reconcile his differences with his number 10 or arrange for a replacement.
Arsenal’s defense was in shambles in the club’s latest outing to the Anfield. Liverpool’s front 4 toyed with Arsenal’s defense throughout the game.
Liverpool vs Arsenal… " pic.twitter.com/mNgAmGX1MF
— MBProfit (@ProfitMb) December 29, 2018
Hector Bellerin, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding are some of the important names who are injury stricken at the moment. Nacho Monreal’s fitness is also a doubt for the time being.
The team’s back up right back, Stephan Lichtsteiner has not been in his best form either. The 34-year-old full-back had a game he would like to forget as soon as he can.
Arsenal is defensively unstable. The team has let in 30 goals in the Premier League already, which is the highest number of goals conceded among the top 5.
The Liverpool Vs Arsenal tie showed that Arsenal’s defense is not one that can hold up against top players. Emery must rebuild his defense in the January transfer window. The Spaniard must identify at least one world-class centre-back who will suit his style of play, and break the bank if needed to bring him in.
Availability of personnel has been a major crisis for the North London based club. Some are unavailable because of injury, some are rumoured to be out of favour and others have simply not performed.
Emery has relied heavily on Aubameyang for goals. Arsenal’s second highest scorer, Alexandre Lacazette, has not scored even half as many as Aubameyang. Aaron Ramsy’s expiring contract is another pressing matter that threatens the depth of the squad.
Arsenal needs reinforcements. There needs to be a significant improvement in the backline. At least one new creative midfielder is needed, irrespective of the Ozil situation. Injury prone players like Danny Welbeck must be let go for they only limit the manager’s choices.
Arsenal has laid a foundation for a successful future with the signing of players like Aubameyang, Torreira, Leno, Lacazette and Guendouzi. The team has both youth and experience. Now, the manager must build on this. A club like Arsenal must compete for trophies. Emery has a lot of expectations to live up to and though he has faced a few roadblocks, he has what it takes to drive a club to success.