Is the writing on the wall for Arteta? 5 things we learned as pathetic Arsenal limp to heavy defeat

0
3

[ DOWNLOAD MP3 NOW ]

Is the writing on the wall for Arteta? 5 things we learned as pathetic Arsenal limp to heavy defeat

Arsenal fall to pathetic defeat

In a performance resembling the end days of Unai Emery’s tenure, Arsenal fell to a mute and pathetic defeat against reigning champions Manchester City at the Etihad. While the Gunners looked bright in the opening five minutes of the game, old habits re-emerged as Ilkay Gundogan was allowed a free header 3 yards out to give Guardiola’s side the lead.

Advertisement

[ DOWNLOAD MP3 NOW ]

It continued to unravel for Mikel Arteta’s side, who found themselves 3-0 and a man down at the break after Granit Xhaka was sent off for a dangerous challenge, and matters only got worse as goals from Rodri and Ferran Torres left the Gunners on the end of a 5-0 hammering. Questions will seriously be asked, both about the manager and the players in the coming weeks.

Here are five things 101 picked out from the defeat

1. No striker, no problem

Much has been made of Manchester City’s inability to sign a striker this summer, with Harry Kane remaining at Tottenham and Cristiano Ronaldo opting for Manchester United over Guardiola’s side.

However, this was not a problem for the Citizens, who opted to field Ferran Torres through the middle but, frankly, could have played Guardiola himself there against the abject Gunners. There will of course be tougher tests for the Manchester outfit, but with the movement and speed of pass that they play with, there will be few games where they feel that they are missing a striker.

2. Teams know Arsenal can be bullied

In each of Arsenal’s opening three games, Arsenal have been bullied, showing the same cracks that they were ridiculed for under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery. No matter the personnel, it is the same outcome. Mari vs Lukaku was Chambers vs Gundogan, or Chambers vs Laporte, or Ben White vs Toney.

Of course, the Gunners know this is true, and largely expect it against the more physcial sides like Burnley or West Ham. But Manchester City? A side with no recognised striker? It borders on shambolic.

However, that was what happened. Gundogan got the run on Calum Chambers in the seventh minute for the opener, and Chambers hit the deck as Ferran Torres turned home the second. The Gunners look like they are worlds away from being a Premier League side at present, losing almost every 50-50 challenge and, truthfully, not coming close to laying a glove on the Champions.

Xhaka’s sending off did little but rub salt in the wounds, with Arsenal down and out well before Martin Atkinson deemed the challenge worthy of a red card. There is serious rot in the Arsenal side, and even spending the most in the division, that does not seem to have been halted.

It is going to be a long 2 weeks for Arsenal fans. Three games played, no goals scored, nine goals conceded. Zero points and -9 goal difference will see them bottom of the pile if Norwich avoid defeat by more than one goal, and will certainly be in the bottom three.

With a game against the Canaries next on the agenda, the Gunners will be wary that another defeat will surely call time on Arteta’s spell in charge, and make European football next season little more than a dream.

On the plus side, it cannot get any worse for the north London outfit.

3. Mikel Arteta is out of his depth

An hour before kick off, the five changes that Mikel Arteta made ahead of the game were revealed, to widespread confusion. Sead Kolasinac, who was thought to be leaving the club, lined up in a back three consisting of the Bosnian, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding, while Cedric and Kieran Tierney were deployed as wing-backs.

In theory, a back three makes sense for the Gunners, but fans will question why it was trialled now, when it was clearly needed last weekend. Instead, it was opted for after a midweek game, and the lack of preparation showed. Chambers lost his man for the opener, before they were repeatedly cut open by a slick-looking Manchester City side.

Of course, there are mitigating circumstances, but to line up with a back three, all of which are largely fringe players, appeared suicidal, not least against the current league champions.

For those who believe time is up, 101 looked at five options who could replace the Spaniard should Arsenal part ways with him, with the days of the FA Cup triumph seeming an aeon away.

Is the writing on the wall for Arteta? 5 things we learned as pathetic Arsenal limp to heavy defeat

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 01: Mikel Arteta manager of Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal pose with the trophy after the FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 1, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

It is going to be a long 2 weeks for Arsenal fans. Three games played, no goals scored, nine goals conceded. Zero points and -9 goal difference will see them bottom of the pile if Norwich avoid defeat by more than one goal, and will certainly be in the bottom three.

With a game against the Canaries next on the agenda, the Gunners will be wary that another defeat will surely call time on Arteta’s spell in charge, and make European football next season little more than a dream.

On the plus side, it cannot get any worse for the north London outfit.

4.  Arsenal need White and Gabriel back, yesterday

All that being said, how such mediocrity has been able to build up has to be questioned. Kolasinac was seemingly on the verge of leaving, but started the game. Granit Xhaka had agreed personal terms with Roma, but was awarded a new contract.

The potential suitors for Calum Chambers (none) and Rob Holding (Newcastle) are just as telling, while Cedric was brought in as a back up and yet found himself at right wing-back against the Champions. There are shoots of good recruitment, in the form of Tierney, Lokonga and Gabriel, but that most of the defence was thought to be expendable is in itself damning.

The Gunners need Gabriel and Ben White back, if at the very least to have some confidence in their defenders once more. Both should be back after the international break, which already feels like a dangerous period for Arteta.

5. Arsenal need midfield reinforcements

Arsenal were in need of midfield reinforcements even before Granit Xhaka was sent off, but the need has become even more apparent. Arsenal will miss him for the next three games, against Norwich, Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur, leaving Sambi Lokonga and Mohammed Elneny as the only fully fit options at present, with Partey still working his way back.

In addition, the Gunners will be without Partey and Elneny for at least a month due to the Africa Cup of Nations (assuming it goes ahead), which will once again leave Arsenal with a threadbare midfield.

They have been linked with the likes of Houssem Aouar, Denis Zakaria and Yves Bissouma (although the latter would not fix their AFCON issue), but at this point, they need a warm body more than anything else.

Read more:

Five managers Arsenal could realistically sound out to replace Mikel Arteta

 

Advertisement

[ DOWNLOAD MP3 NOW ]

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here