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For Arteta and Arsenal, the honeymoon could also be over

Mikel Arteta is the very mannequin of a contemporary supervisor: trendily dressed with not a hair misplaced, a person with a plan for each Arsenal event. For all of the world he seems to be like the brand new Pep Guardiola, his mentor at Manchester City. Same depth, identical seek for perfection. But after successful each the FA Cup and the Community Shield in his first 9 months with the Gunners, doubts are starting to creep in that the Arteta drugs could not, in spite of everything, present the moment treatment Arsenal’s followers envisaged. In quick, the honeymoon could also be over.

So far this season, Arsenal have gained 4 and misplaced 4 within the Premier League, leaving them three factors worse off than when Unai Emery was in cost at this final season. This will not be the beginning Arteta had in thoughts as he takes goal on the high 4 and qualifying for the Champions League subsequent season. Arteta himself admitted that the Gunners “have a long way to go”.

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It appeared as if the crew was actually beginning to click on, particularly after a tactically sensible show in a 1-Zero win at Manchester United on Nov. 1 ended a five-year await an away win towards a Big Six membership. Yet only a week later, Arteta’s gamers seemed jaded and clueless within the face of an enthralling show by Aston Villa, who coasted to a 3-0 win on the Emirates Stadium.

Indeed, the limp show was a close to carbon copy of the earlier house recreation, when Leicester City sat again towards a largely toothless assault and gained all three factors with a Jamie Vardy breakaway purpose close to the tip.

In each video games, it typically appeared that you possibly can learn a chapter of a guide within the time it took Arsenal to construct an assault. So many passes, so few incisive ones. The crew is averaging beneath 9 photographs per match, one of many worst outputs within the Premier League.

At occasions the crew has seemed over coached as if the gamers try to recollect all of the traces within the tactical plot hatched by a supervisor who may have to permit his gamers extra freedom. An X issue is lacking for the second.

In explicit, the type of the captain and star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is trigger for concern ever since he signed a profitable new three-year deal price about £55 million. Last yr he scored 22 targets, inserting him second behind Jamie Vardy for the Premier League Golden Boot. This season? Aubameyang has two within the league, with considered one of them coming from the penalty spot. To make issues worse, he hasn’t scored at house but, both.

There isn’t any doubting Aubamayang’s high quality. He has exceeded 25 targets in all competitions for the final six seasons, however for the second he’s chopping the determine of a misplaced soul out on the left of the assault. Might a transfer to a extra central function pay dividends?

Aubameyang has not been helped by a weak provide line, with new signing Willian struggling to make an affect and Alexandre Lacazette wanting off the tempo, too, with no purpose in his final six appearances. The Gabon worldwide, whose 5 targets helped defeat Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the summertime, did so with the crew sitting deep and countering rapidly. But in video games when Arsenal have needed to play on the entrance foot this season, he has been unable to prosper.

The midfield has a brand new look with £45m Thomas Partey and a resurgent Mohamed Elneny most well-liked to the cup-winning duo of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos within the final two league video games. But of these 4, the stress is on Ceballos to be the cross picker who can unlock a defence, and he’s one other one who has probably not fired thus far.

Of course, Arsenal do have a World Cup-winning creator on their books in Mesut Ozil, who has principally been despatched to a footballing model of Siberia by Arteta for causes that haven’t been absolutely defined. Ozil has not kicked a ball for the membership since March, regardless of his £350,000-a-week wages.

But the thought occurred greater than as soon as watching the struggles within the final two house video games: Would Ozil’s craft and skill to discover a killer closing ball have made a distinction? Certainly, his inactivity is making it nearly unimaginable to dump him. Who pays high wages for a participant with 10 months of rust to shed come the January switch window?

One attacking midfield man who has starred and scored within the final two Europa video games is Joe Willock, however he can’t even make the bench within the Premier League. Arteta might need a rethink on that one if his assault continues to misfire. Striker Eddie Nketiah and the current teenage England debutant Bukayo Saka are different causes to imagine Arsenal’s kind can choose up.

The defence had seemed strong sufficient, with athletic new signing Gabriel performing effectively, that’s till Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley pulled Arsenal aside.

But there may be one other situation right here: Were Arsenal proper to promote their cup-winning keeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa for a modest payment of round £20m? Martinez has seemed little wanting sensational after stepping in for the injured Bernd Leno after the June restart. He performed brilliantly in each Arsenal’s summer time trophy triumphs and was picked forward of a fit-again Leno to play towards Liverpool within the Community Shield. That was his final recreation for the Gunners. All fairly unusual.

Next up for Arsenal is a visit to Leeds, whose gung-ho attacking type would possibly play into their fingers, permitting them to flourish on the break. It is a perfect alternative to win and alter the unsure temper about which approach the season is heading. Arteta’s reputation ranking was off the charts with Gunners followers in the beginning of the marketing campaign. He will know solely too effectively how rapidly the stardust may be blown away if this large membership continues to languish in mid-table.

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